Congratulations, South Carolina Democrats… As of last week, you no longer hold the dubious distinction of Worst Senate Nominee Ever! Seeking to defeat first-term Republican Sen. Bob Corker, Democrats in Tennessee somehow managed to nominate a candidate that makes Alvin Greene’s abortive Senate campaign back in 2010 look like a polished operation.
Mark Clayton, 35, beat six other candidates last Thursday to become the Democratic nominee for the U.S. Senate. The Tennessee flooring installer has never held public office, and espouses views that are slightly outside the current realm of political discourse to say the least.
Wonkette’s Jim Newell describes Clayton’s platform as “basically Paultardism garnished with even more virulent homophobia and concerns about a Schwarzenegger-led restoration of Nazism.” So that’s gotta be destined for success, right?
According to Mother Jones’ Tim Murphy, Clayton is something of a bona fide tinfoil hat-wearing conspiracy theorist on a level that would make even Glenn Beck blush. Here’s a small collection of some of Clayton’s favorite conspiracies:
- “The federal government is building a massive, four-football-field wide superhighway from Mexico City to Toronto as part of a secret plot to establish a new North American Union that will bring an end to America as we know it”
- The approach of a “godless new world order” in which Americans who speak out against the government are sent to “a bone-crushing prison camp similar to … one of FEMA’s prison camps” (which don’t exist either).
- Google censored Clayton’s 2008 campaign against U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander in cooperation with the Chinese government
- “[Former California Gov. Arnold] Schwarzenegger, born in Austria, wants to amend the Constitution so that he can become president and fulfill Hitler’s superman scenario.”
The Tennessee Democratic Party officially disavowed Clayton’s candidacy, using the Alvin Greene-like justification that Clayton only won because his name was first on the ballot. The party accused Clayton of being part of “a known hate group” called the Public Advocate of the United States. The Washington, DC-based organization opposes marriage equality and abortion rights, and referred to Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Boston Mayor Tom Menino as “pro-homosexual socialist dictators” for speaking out against Chick-fil-A’s CEO’s anti-gay statements.
Silver lining for South Carolina Democrats… though you may have attracted national ridicule by nominating Alvin Greene two years ago — it could always be worse.
Sen. Corker narrowly won election in 2006 against former Democratic lawmaker Harold Ford, Jr. of Memphis. Your faithful editor had moved from Tennessee to South Carolina the previous year, and closely followed Corker’s campaign of character assassination and race-baiting against his African-American opponent. Corker’s attacks culminated in an ad that, while admittedly somewhat humorous, is chock-full of dog-whistles and attempts to portray Ford as an “other”:
But with Tennessee Democrats’ nomination of Clayton last week, it looks like Corker’s reelection effort will be just as easy as Jim DeMint’s was in 2010. In fact, at the rate Tennessee politics are becoming crazier than South Carolina’s, we may have to set up a spin-off Public Record bureau in the Volunteer State!