I’M SURE THEY LOOK ASIAN TO HER…. In Nevada’s U.S. Senate, extremist candidate Sharron Angle’s (R) use of racism for political gain bas been appalling. This week, it managed to get worse.

The Angle campaign had been airing a racist, deceptive ad, relying on images of young Latino men as part of a divisive attempt to scare white people. When asked about it, Angle told a Hispanic students’ group that she’s “not sure” the Mexicans in her ad are, in fact, Latino, and went on to argue that her seemingly-racist commercial is intended to raise fears about the Canadian border. Angle added that some Hispanic teenagers look “a little more Asian” to her.

If there was any hope the humiliating questions might force Angle down a less-racist path, those hopes were dashed yesterday with the release of her new ad — which actually manages to make matters worse.

In this odious new spot, Angle bombards viewers with images of young Latino men, all of whom are shown as criminals. They’re contrasted with white people, all of whom are shown as potential victims. For good measure, Angle throws in pictures of a U.S./Mexico border crossing and the president of Mexico.

There were no Canadians included in the commercial.

Please tell us again, Sharron, about how you’re “not sure” about whether the Mexicans in your ad are, in fact, Latino.

This is political messaging at its worst. Sharron Angle is well past the point of feeling shame, and she’ll clearly do anything to win, no matter how vile, but it’s worth appreciating how odious this is.

The point is as subtle as a sledgehammer — white Nevadans are supposed to fear and hate Latinos, and then channel that revulsion into voting for her borderline-unstable political campaign. It’s a strategy premised on dividing people, and pitting Nevadans against one another, all in the hopes of convincing voters to overlook the fact that Sharron Angle appears to be stark raving mad.

I don’t know if Angle will win next week, though recent polls show her in the lead. I do know that the way she’s chosen to conduct herself in this campaign is a disgrace and a national embarrassment.

Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.