If you want to know why Democrats have a good chance of hanging onto control of the Senate in November despite a poor landscape and a very likely turnout disadvantage, just look South. Republicans in at least two states are enduring difficult primary contests that are inevitably dragging large fields to the right. I’ve written quite a bit about my home state of GA, where Dr. Paul Broun, Jr., a self-proclaimed “constitutional conservative” physician known for a particularly wild brand of extremism, is the terror of the GOP Senate field. I hadn’t really grasped, though, that Broun has a doppleganger in North Carolina, another “constitutional conservative” physician named Greg Brannon.
Brannon’s getting some national attention today thanks to MoJo’s Tim Murphy, who is drawing attention to an October videotape wherein the Good Doctor told a Tea Party group he wanted to abolish USDA and its food stamp (SNAP) program, calling the latter a form of “slavery.” If you “>watch the whole thing, you’ll also hear Brannon attacking the idea of democracy (as a transgression against the perfect Republic created by the Founders), denying any federal role in health care, going all Paulite on “fiat currency,” and generally assuming every conceivable issue was permanently addressed prior to the adoption of the Constitution. Since there was that little pesky issue of slavery, it’s interesting to speculate whether Brannon hates the “slavery” of food stamps more than the real thing.
Brannon supports the Full Gospel version of “constitutional conservatism.” He adopts the standard incorporation of God, natural law, and absolute private property rights into the Constitution via the Declaration of Independence. He says “I will always vote for any and all legislation that would end abortion or lead us in the direction of ending abortion.” In other words, much like Paul Broun, he’s promoting a sort of permanent dictatorship wherein most of the laws and policies Americans have debated and enacted since the 1930s would be taken off the table as a violation of the Divine Will and the Perfect Constitution.
Now I sorta doubt that a majority of voters in North Carolina, even in a low-turnout midterm and even if they don’t like Obamacare and are impatient about the economy, are in accord with these views. Yet Brannon, who still has low name recognition, is (according to the latest survey by NC-based PPP) running just two points behind the supposed front-runner, Thom Tillis, and is actually running two points ahead of Democratic senator Kay Hagan (a data point that will be used to suggest NC Republicans are free to support as right-wing a nominee as they wish). He’s already been endorsed by Rand Paul RedState’s Erick Erickson and Ann Coulter. And even if Brannon doesn’t win, like Broun, he exerts an appeal among hard-core Republican “base” voters that will frighten other GOPers into competing for the most certain primary participants.
Keep an eye on Brannon, and on Broun, and on the dynamics of the GA and NC primaries. These guys make Todd Akin look like a RINO.