The Oath Keeper Candidate

Photo courtesty of Medina for Governor

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Debra Medina almost certainly won’t be the next governor of Texas. According to recent polls from Public Policy and Rasmussen, the Tea Party insurgent‘s momentum has crashed full-speed into the proverbial wallor, as the case may have it, Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison’s wire fence. But I think the fixation, by TPM and others, on Medina’s drop in the polls in the wake of her Vesuvian performance on Glenn Beck really misses the point. Medina was bound to lose at least a handful of swing votes; what’s remarkable is just how much of her base (16 to 20 percent of likely voters, depending on the poll) is sticking with her.

The fervor of Medina’s supporters doesn’t seem so out of place, though, when you consider this: Perhaps more than any other candidate in a major race in 2010, Medina has gotten cozy with Oath Keepers, the group of heavily-armed constitutionalists profiled in Justine Sharrock’s must-read March/April cover story. It’s a natural fit: a candidate who has vowed to nullify tyrannical laws and fight federal agencies like the EPA befriending a group whose members pledge to disobey any orders they personally deem unconstitutional.

Last Saturday, Medina campaigned in San Antonio alongside Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes and former sheriff Richard Mack, one of the group’s most high-profile activists. It wasn’t a one-time thing, either: Back in December, when Medina was still polling in the low single digits, she and Mack hooked up for five campaign stops in two days as part of her “Take Back Texas” tour. (Here‘s a nice snapshot.)

Medina and Mack even teamed up to produce a documentary about the state sovereignty movement, which you can buy for $5 at Medina’s campaign website. The film’s tagline captures the mutual mood of her campaign and the Oath Keepers: “Will you join the army preparing to stand against federal tyranny?” Following her disastrous Beck interview earlier this month—during which the right’s wingnut media pitbull (go figure) more or less outed Medina as a 9/11 Truther— Mack told Chris Matthews that Beck “owes Debra Medina an apology.” At this point, Medina and Mack are practically running mates. Too bad he hails from Arizona.

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is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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