Jonathan Chait

The Far Right Subculture Moves Into The GOP

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I've been saying that one of the most important developments of the last year has been the entry into the Republican Party of activists and candidates who come from smaller, right-wing subcultures that were previously consigned to the political fringe. Unfortunately, the mainstream media has tended to cover this phenomenon as a series of "gaffes" rather than as the emergence of a coherent ideology. TPM, though, has been doing some terrific reporting. Here's Justin Elliot's report on Sharron Angle:

The key to understanding Nevada Republican Senate candidate Sharron Angle may be the fact that she has not always been a Republican.

For at least six years in the 1990s before she held statewide elective office, Angle was a member of the little-known Independent American Party, a right-wing party that combines elements of Ron Paul's doctrinaire libertarianism -- pro-gun, anti-tax, anti-bureaucracy, pro-states' rights -- with Christian social conservatism and fear of the "North American Union" and other forms of "global government." The small party attracted considerable controversy in 1994 when it took out a newspaper ad titled "Consequences of Sodomy: Ruin of a Nation," which suggested HIV could spread through the water.

Three members of the Independent American Party tell TPM that Angle, a Nye County, Nevada, school board member at the time, was an active member of the party in the 1990s. They say she only left the Independent American Party and became a Republican out of political expediency when she decided to seek a seat in the state assembly, to which she was elected in 1998.

 

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