Meet the next senator from Nevada

It is hard to fathom how Americans could support some of the truly far out Tea Party candidates leading in U.S. Senate polls.

At the top of my list is Sharron Angle, who is slightly ahead of Senate majority leader Harry Reid in recent Nevada polls.

This Associated Press story just in on speaks for itself.

LAS VEGAS — U.S. Senate candidate Sharron Angle told a crowd of supporters that the country needs to address a “militant terrorist situation” that (she says) has allowed Islamic religious law to take hold in some American cities.

Her comments came at a rally of tea party supporters in the Nevada resort town of Mesquite last week after the candidate was asked about Muslims angling to take over the country, and marked the latest of several controversial remarks by the Nevada Republican.

At that rally, the Associate Press reports, Angle said this:

“My thoughts are these, first of all, Dearborn, Michigan, and Frankford, Texas, are on American soil, and under constitutional law. Not Sharia law. And I don’t know how that happened in the United States. It seems to me there is something fundamentally wrong with allowing a foreign system of law to even take hold in any municipality or government situation in our United States.”

What?!?  OK, the Detroit suburb of Dearborn at least has a sizable Muslim population, though one very much living under American laws. But Frankford, Texas, is a town that was annexed by the city of Dallas some years back.

A spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a Washington-based advocacy group, called Angle’s comment “bizarre” and an “example of incoherent bigotry,” which seems about right.

AP notes that Angle has called herself a “faith-based politician,” who, among other things, “opposes abortion in all circumstances, including rape and incest, and doesn’t believe the Constitution requires the separation of church and state.”

She is leading in Reid 50-46 percent in the latest Rasmussen poll, according to

How is this possible?

OK. The glib response is, “Have you ever been to Vegas?” But I believe three serious issues are beginning to dovetail this election to spell doom for Democrats.

The first, of course, is “the economy, stupid.” It remains really bad, with the actual unemployment rate and underemployment rate nearly twice the official (and ugly) 9.6 percent.

The second is a tremendous upsurge in anonymous giving to groups supporting Republican candidates in the wake of a Supreme Court decision lifting restrictions. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, for example, spent $10 million this week, on ads attacking Democrats in 30 of the most competitive House and Senate races. The chamber does not have to reveal its contributors, which Democrats are charging may be foreign, a violation of the law.  Notes Ben Smith at, Republican interest groups, according to one tally, are outspending Democratic interest groups in key Senate races (like Angle’s) 7 to 1.

The third reason, I believe, is the “whatever” apathy of too many in the under-30 crowd. The group played a key roll in electing Barack Obama and laughs along nightly to Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert.  But will its members vote at anything approaching the presidential election pace in the midterm election?  That seems very unlikely.

Of course, add a half-dozen Sharron Angles to the U.S. Senate, install John Boehner as speaker of the House,  and start dismantling health care — such as the provision that lets those up to 26 years old to stay on their parents policies — and the young and apathetic may not be laughing so much anymore.

By then, it will be too late.


About jerrylanson

I teach, write, coach and sing, though you're not required to listen to the latter. I'm a journalism professor at Emerson College in Boston. My third book, "Writing for Others, Writing for Ourselves," was published in November by Rowman & Littlefield Publishing. You can read a sample chapter at My passions are politics (generally liberal in outlook), music, mountains, golden retrievers and my grandchildren, though not in that order. Please stop by and mix it up with me. I always answer those who post.
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