For some strange reason it had to be

There are 6.4 million people in the state of Tennessee.

From these it only needs to find two senators and seven representatives to send to Congress. That’s all, just nine people to choose out of 6.4 million.

Let’s narrow that down a bit. Tennessee has around 3.4 million registered voters.

And let’s narrow that down even further, since we’re just concerned with Democrats here. In the 2008 national election, 1,087,437 registered voters in Tennessee cast their votes for Democrats.

So about a million people then. Tennessee Democrats had a million people they could have chosen as a candidate for the U.S. Senate.

And instead they chose this guy.

His name is Mark Clayton. He will carry the Democratic party banner in this fall’s matchup against Sen. Bob Corker, because his name was listed first on the primary ballot and Tennessee Democrats have lost the will to live. His platform veers a touch typical cookie-cutter Democratic fare: It’s basically Paultardism garnished with even more virulent homophobia and concerns about a Schwarzenegger-led restoration of Nazism. You can extrapolate pretty easily from here — what, say, does he think about the Google? Correct, reader! He does in fact think that the Google, in collaboration with China, is out to get him. And so on.

Clayton, it turns out, is a disciple of our old friend Tim LaHaye and his mix of End Times paranoia and John Birch Society nuttery.

Tim Murphy of Mother Jones reports that:

Mark Clayton believes 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. On Thursday, he became the Tennessee Democrats’ nominee for US Senate.

Clayton, an anti-gay-marriage activist and flooring installer with a penchant for fringe conspiracy theories, finished on top of a crowded primary field in the race to take on GOP Sen. Bob Corker this fall. He earned 26 percent of the vote despite raising no money and listing the wrong opponent on his campaign website. …

On his issues page, Clayton sounds more like a member of the John Birch Society than a rank-and-file Democrat. He says he’s against national ID cards, the North American Union, and the “NAFTA superhighway,” a nonexistent proposal that’s become a rallying cry in the far-right fever swamps. Elsewhere, he warns of an encroaching “godless new world order” and suggests that Americans who speak out against government policies could some day be placed in “a bone-crushing prison camp similar to the one Alexander Solzhenitsyn was sent or to one of FEMA’s prison camps.” (There are no FEMA prison camps.)

Oops. And congratulations Sen. Bob Corker on your re-election.

More than a million Democrats in Tennessee and voters there, instead, nominated someone who is opposed to everything they stand for (and who is also opposed to many things that do not exist).

Thus, inevitably, “Tennessee Democrats Disavow Senate Candidate Mark Clayton“:

The only time that Clayton has voted in a Democratic primary was when he was voting for himself. Many Democrats in Tennessee knew nothing about any of the candidates in the race, so they voted for the person at the top of the ticket. Unfortunately, none of the other Democratic candidates were able to run the race needed to gain statewide visibility or support.

Mark Clayton is associated with a known hate group in Washington, D.C., and the Tennessee Democratic Party disavows his candidacy, will not do anything to promote or support him in any way, and urges Democrats to write-in a candidate of their choice in November.

Can’t anybody here play this game?

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  • Lori

    I know. I lived in California for most of Arnold’s tenure as the Governator. I think he did a lousy job his first term and was marginally less terrible his second only because he got his hand slapped hard enough over that stupid special election that he couldn’t be as bad as he was the first term. I think it’s incredibly embarrassing on several levels the he was ever elected at all, in no small part because he’s just a lousy human being. However, as low as my opinion of him is I don’t think he’s a Nazi.

    Also, any ideas that he might have had about getting people to amend the Constitution so he could be president pretty much went up in smoke when his particularly skeevy affair, complete with child he didn’t acknowledge for years, was revealed, Maria left his sorry ass and his own son stopped using his last name. Maybe Mark Clayton missed all that because he was too busy reading up on the NAFTA superhighway. There are only so many hours in the day.

  • GDwarf

     Hah, I did like the Deus Ex FEMA camp. Really, the fact that every shadowy cabal is real in those games is half the charm. Noticing the little signs left everywhere pointing to them.

    But I just don’t understand this idea. I mean, FEMA was pretty much unknown pre-Katrina, and considered incompetent after. It’s like having a conspiracy theory about death squads for the Ministry of Agriculture or something.

  • AnonymousSam

    When you’ve got as many imaginary enemies as Mark Clayton does, real enemies just have to take a back seat.

  • Lori

    FEMA couldn’t even feed and clothe people who wanted their help
    post-Katrina, never mind keeping anyone against their will anywhere. 

    Strictly speaking being good a feeding and clothing people aren’t really necessary skills for running a concentration camp.

    I suspect that FEMA’s ineptitude isn’t really an issue WRT it getting  name-checked in this sort of whackiness. This particular conspiracy has been around since before the pathetic Bush era FEMA. It ran quite well before that, which I suspect is a big part of the point. FEMA was quite efficient…under Clinton [insert gasp of horror here]. Since he was obviously planning to round up all his poltical enemies and disappear them it makes sense that he would put one of his better running agencies in charge of doing his dirty work.

    FSM I wish I was making that up.

    And how does one run a secret concentration camp? Are the food, water,
    clothing, electricity, phone lines, roads, bedding, etc. all
    delivered/maintained by people who are blind, deaf, and mute? Are the
    people interred there abducted by ninja with invisibility cloaks and

    There’s secret that nobody knows about and there’s secret that people know about but don’t discuss and certainly don’t do anything about. We don’t really need to Goodwin the thread do we?

  • aunursa

    I support amending the Constitution, not for Arnold’s sake, but for all naturalized residents who have been American citizens for at least 20 years.  Eligibility for the office of president or vice president should not be prohibited to any such citizen on account of one’s place of birth.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Yeah, while I generally thought the guy he was describing was… …
    really, really, not coming off as rational, and I have issues with
    Libertarianism, ‘Paultardism’ doesn’t help.

    Assume the ‘-tard-‘ comes by way of ‘bastard’ rather than ‘retard’. ‘Bastard’ has rather lost its impact.

  • Lori

     Something we agree on that’s not related to LB. It’s truly a red letter day.

    Because I’m totally with you on this. I don’t have any interest in Arnold for president and never did, but I think the natural born citizen requirement has outlived it’s usefulness and needs to be changed.

  • Cowboy Diva

    You say only in Tennessee. I say Illinois also. Of course, this was 26 years ago…

  • Cowboy Diva
  • You know, the funny thing is, James Carville wrote about how the FEMA fucked it up in 1992 over being three days late after a hurricane hit Florida because they were, at the time, still in the Cold-Warrior mentality that apparently Bush I hadn’t quite figured out wasn’t needed anymore.

    Carville wrote how Clinton put a guy named James Lee Witt in charge of FEMA, and he turned it around so quckly and so well that after disasters in 1994 and 1995, people were falling all over themselves to praise how well FEMA were doing their jobs.

    Al Gore might crow about Reinventing Government, but the real proof of what the Dems think of how the government should respond to people and how the Repubs to, is in what Clinton did with the FEMA vs what Shrub Jr did with the FEMA.

  • “Paultardism” – I honestly thought for a while there that “Paultard” was some French name or word I didn’t know about. (“tard” is a legitimate French word, e.g, in Quebec there’s a chain of convenience stores called ‘Couche-tard’, which means loosely, sleep late or stay late)

  • Matri

    California is a republican state. Are you really surprised?

  • Matri

    Considering the current crop of senators in office right now, you could enter a block of Brie cheese, have it win, and watch it do a better job running the country than these so-called “humans”.

  •  This WASN’T unintended. The new primary system was cooked up by Republicans for EXACTLY THIS REASON. And, unfortunately, they managed to get a lot of uninformed Dems to vote for it.

  •  Something similar happened in Florida recently with Alvin Greene, right?

    South Carolina, not Florida. And Greene was at least a real Democrat in terms of his positions. He was just a really terrible candidate.

  • Kiba

    Park Overall was running and people voted for the whackadoo instead? Now that’s just not right.

    I would have voted for her in a heart beat. 

  • California is not a Republican state. It comes up blue on the red/blue maps.

    Now, if you break it down by county, it’s a bit more purple – red in the center, blue on the coast, except for a few outliers like Orange County.

    I think Arnie won the vote for much the same reason Mark Clayton did – in a field of 135 candidates, he had a major edge in name recognition.

  • Cradicus

    If the Mexico/Canada highway sounds like a crazy thing from The Onion, it’s because it WAS in 2002!,104/ Though theirs was from Guadalupe to Winnipeg.

  • Nirrti

    I live in the good old state of Tennessee….and all I can say is the Dems here have no balls whatsoever. It’s as if they all get neutered the day they decide to run for office and don’t try to at least attempt to fight the Republicans.

    The Repubs have such a stronghold in this state I guess the Dems have just given up on ever getting any substantial power. It’s like some kind of weird form of learned helplessness or maybe Stockholm Syndrome.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    Wait, what? Names on ballots are seriously in alphabetical order?

  •  I don’t really like it, but I think it might be a way of conserving limited resources. If they think that they’ve already lost a state, they’re not going to pour money into a race that they know they will lose badly in, when that money could be used in more competitive races or (for presidential elections) swing states. It’s the same reason why the GOP never really tries to unseat Nancy Pelosi in California’s 8th District; her absolute worst electoral performance was still over 80% of the vote, so what would be the point?

    Of course, the main problem with that is that you can’t just assume that a state will always be “red” or “blue” just because it leans that way; after all, Massachusetts is a pretty much a liberal stronghold but that didn’t stop Scott Brown from winning the Senate special election. That was a special circumstance though (a weak Democratic candidate and no powerful incumbent; I don’t think Brown could have defeated Kennedy) but it still highlights the importance of not just writing off an entire state forever.

  • BaseDeltaZero

    I seem to remember that in Human Revolution, the FEMA concentration camp wasn’t actually a FEMA concentration camp – it was run by Homeland Security or something, just using an old FEMA… refugee center?

    But that’s Human Revolution.

  • I wish the lesson learned by Obama’s campaign filtered down to the state level. Obama’s campaign decided to target ALL fifty states no matter how Dem or Repub, and it paid off in terms of his visibility and the energy generated around his campaign, which was composed of people who hoped to look forward to a new way of doing things.

    That being said, the Dems are still not out-raising the Repubs in terms of overall $$ coming in, so there may have been pragmatic decisions made this time around that weren’t made last time.

  • You guys don’t understand, man. It’s all mind games: they botched the Katrina stuff so that when the FEMA black ops come in, ten thousand strong, to clear us out so that the Chinese Communist Muslims can take our flat screens, we’ll be like, “oh, it’s FEMA”, and wait for them to collectively slip on a single banana skin. Walton Simons is *crafty*.

  • I can think of a really simple reason I don’t want Arnold for President.

    Every time I see that awful George Clooney Batman movie and I see Arnold making ridiculous ice puns, I’ll have to say “That man is president of the United States.”

    The President of the United States was in a movie where he played a pregnant man.

    There are certain things one can do that are so undignified that one’s dignity doesn’t regenerate over time and these are among those.

  • ConservativeWhitebread

    Dignity is a quality we need in a president?  I mean, it’d be nice and all, but necessary?

  • Wesley Bourland

    I pray to God the Constitution is never amended to allow non-citizens to be elected president. Not because of xenophobia, or some stupid Manchurian candidate fear, but because I don’t want to live through the Schwarzenegger/Bono debates.

  • Lori

    Credit where it’s due, the 50 state strategy was pushed by Howard Dean when he was running the DNC. He was right about that and the fact that it hasn’t been pushed as hard since he stepped down is one of several gripes I currently have about the DNC.

  • Lori

    I just don’t have the ability to be amused by Arnold any more in any way really, so I’d be more bothered by looking at the president and thinking, “That man is a serial sexual harasser and quite possibly worse, everyone knew it before he won his first election and he’s still president.”

    There are certain things that are so wrong that they should permanently disqualify a person from being president. IMO Arnold’s attitudes and behavior toward women are on that list.

  • Lori

    Well, you’re in the clear on that because Schwarzenegger’s political career really is over. He’s not enough of a culture warrior for the teavangelicals currently driving the bus for the GOP, plus he actually takes climate change seriously (one of the few things for which I give him credit as CA Governor) which marks him as a total RINO and fringe-dweller in the current GOP. Virtually all his other policies guarantee that the Dems aren’t going to take him, so switching parties isn’t an option.

    And of course there’s the scandal. Voters in CA ignored his long history of sexual harassment (at least in part because the glow of stardom tends to blind people), but his affair with the housekeeper was a career killer. It’s one thing to have an affair. Sadly many people wouldn’t even be that bothered by the power disparity involved in having an affair with a (relatively low ranking) employee. People do tend to get a bit up in arms over a guy getting caught having had an affair with a woman who works in his wife’s house, getting her pregnant (a pregnancy with substantially overlapped his wife’s pregnancy) and keeping that woman working in his family’s home for over a decade while paying for, but not acknowledging, the child.  That’s just ugly. Throw in the fact that, as I mentioned earlier, his  son is so disgusted by him that he’s stopped going by Schwarzenegger and you do not have a recipe for a presidential campaign that goes anywhere.

  • Rjto65

    Maybe they just check off whoever the Democrat is without knowing anything further about him, assuming Democrat means Democrat. I know people like this.

  • OriginalExtraCrispy

    I thought for sure there was a misprint in this article, that someone wrote Democrat when they meant to write Republican.

    I’m still confused why anyone would find the idea of a transcontinental highway to be a bad thing. I like the idea of it being in the sky (though that would be a rather boring drive).

  • the local Democratic parties seemed to have little control (or possibly awareness?) of what was going on in their own ranks. I’m not sure how that happens.

    Naiveté, infighting, and disorganization. 

    It’s really difficult to persuade many Democrats that there are bad people who want to do bad things for bad reasons and that many of these people are their neighbors who seem so very nice. It’s really difficult to persuade many (usually completely different) Democrats that we can all point in the same direction and accomplish certain very big goals even if we don’t all agree on every single possible thing and say everything in exactly precisely the correct way that will offend no one. And it’s really difficult to persuade many Democrats that we need to know how to play the game to win it, and that playing the game does not mean betraying core values.

  • Mau de Katt

    … it would lead to a merge between the three connected countries ….

    Well, one bright side to that happening is that it would make it a helluva lot easier for refugees-from-Republican-aMurrica to escape to Canada….

  • Mau de Katt

    Wait, wait….  I-25 is the Pan-American Superhighway???

    Um, if they took a look at the section that goes from Denver to Fort Collins, it’s really not all that impressive… lol….

  • Mau de Katt


    and suggests that Americans who speak out against government policies could some day be placed in “a bone-crushing prison camp similar to the one Alexander Solzhenitsyn was sent or to one of FEMA’s prison camps.”

    Well, when I really pay attention to today’s Repubs and all the crap they spout/vote on/scream about/try to pass laws on, I think that these prison camps are what they want to institute if they ever get the gubmint power that they want to have….

  • A Viescas

    Right, but since this was a primary, they were ALL Democrats. I figured it was something along the lines of “there was this other issue that we came to the polls for and then we randomly voted for this guy” but I didn’t know what that would be.

  • A Viescas

    Yeah, that makes sense. When I think ‘primary’ I think ‘candidates’ rather than ‘ballot initiatives’ but that makes more sense than anything else.

  • I seem to remember that in Human Revolution, the FEMA concentration camp wasn’t actually a FEMA concentration camp – it was run by Homeland Security or something, just using an old FEMA… refugee center?

    But that’s Human Revolution.

    To be fair, part of the reason for this was that the original Deus Ex was written and released prior to 9/11, when FEMA existed but the DHS did not.  Despite its predictions otherwise (no WTC in New York as the result of a terrorist incident, though that was more of a hand-wave to forgive an art failure) Deus Ex did not predict the DHS, though it does seem to fit logically into the setting.  

    Thus, when Human Revolution was made as a prequel to Deus Ex, they retconned Joseph Manderly’s background to make him a DHS agent.  It is not a big retcon, as it does fit with his previously established background, but it justifies why he was involved in the Chicago detention facility.  

  • I am reminded of a radio caller in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas who was complaining that he was doing really well in the eighties, but the nineties were kicking his ass:  

    “We need an actor to be president again, they make the best liars!”

  • AnonymousSam

    I see now,  we’ve got some candidates from Bizarro World. I just saw an ad on television for a Republican who is proudly declaring her support of gay marriage… as a Republican. As if being part of the Republican party is what led her to understand how it should be perfectly acceptable.

    I’m confused.

  • Matri

    So is she, apparently. :D

  • Guest

    That would be one in the same. Native to the area, loves her state and it’s people. Has integrity… she IS awesome. Write her in, she’d represent the state a heck of alot better than whats his name, Clayton lol… sorry he sounds like a nut job to me. 

  • Matri

    I apologize at my lack of research. :(

  • Park Overall was running and this Clayton idiot got the nomination? 

    I hope she doesn’t give up.  I would love the chance to help out, even if I am in entirely the wrong state.

  •  Google Maps warned me that this route goes through the United States. 

    Um, okay.

  • PJ Evans

     That’s news to the 2/3 of CA voters who are not Republicans.

  • PJ Evans

     That was Howard Dean’s plan. It got killed after Obama won; all the people who got important spots hated the ’50-state strategy’. The grass-roots activists really liked it. (Wasserman-Schultz, I’m looking at you.)