Manny Fernandez reports the following at The New York Times:

A Texas Candidate Pushes the Boundary of the Far Right

On Super Tuesday, Dale Clark voted for a local Republican who claimed on social media that President Obama had worked as a gay prostitute in his youth, that the United States should ban Islam, that the Democratic Party had John F. Kennedy killed and that the United Nations had hatched a plot to depopulate the world.

Mr. Clark, 75, was unaware that the candidate he had supported — Mary Lou Bruner, 68, a former kindergarten teacher running for a seat on the State Board of Education — held such views. But as he sat with his wife eating lunch in this East Texas city, Mr. Clark was ready to give Ms. Bruner the benefit of the doubt.

“I would not discount her on the basis of having those beliefs,” said Mr. Clark, a retired pilot. “It convinces me, though, that she’s quite conservative, and if I were going to err either way, I would want to err toward the side of the conservative.”

Texas is no stranger to radical fringe figures occupying public positions. Governor Greg Abbott wrote a letter to Major General Gerald “Jake” Betty about the Jade Helm military exercises, as many Texan residents thought the exercise was being performed as a practice run for a full-on takeover. He thought it necessary to order the National Guard to monitor the military’s activity:

The same news organization reported on the kind of lunatics Abbott was talking about

Currently, there are 250 civilian volunteers in the Texas division of Counter Jade Helm. According to Johnston, their job is to keep an eye on the military training in each designated location, and report back any suspicious activity using social media.

“We need to be double checking,” Johnston said. “We need to stand up and we need to let people know that we will hold you accountable.”

And if you’re curious what kind of people were concerned about Jade Helm, take Pete Lanteri, who started a Facebook group to monitor the military’s actions during the Jade Helm exercises, who regularly posted stuff like this:

pete lanteri

And not too far from Texas is Maricopa County, Arizona, which has elected certified wingnut Joe Arpaio sheriff since 1993. Arpaio is best known nationally for his ‘investigation’ of Barack Obama’s birth certificate, but he’s loved in his home state for his notoriously tough stance on immigrants. He and his office are also accused of several transgressions, including (but not limited to) racial profiling, illegal use of funds, forcing inmates to live in 150F conditions, and involvement in the deaths of several prisoners.

When the denial of evolution and climate change are standard practice for your party, how fringe can it really get? When every sour encounter between a white and non-white is always viewed through the prism of the white doing no wrong, how far removed from reality can you possibly move? When it’s widely believed that our President is not an American citizen, how further right can you go? There are no boundaries on what conservatives will vote for because even the most insane right-wing lunatic is preferable to even the most reasonable liberal.

This is the party that elected Arnold Schwarzeneggar, that elected Jesse Ventura. This is the party that elected Christine O’Donnell and Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann. This is the party that elected Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz and Chris Christie and Rick Perry. And this may be the party that elects Donald Trump.