It would be fair to call Kesha Rogers’ bid for the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate in Texas inconvenient for Democrats. She wants to impeach President Obama, has been known to appear with a picture of the president with a Hitler mustache, and is more likely to be seen at a Tea Party rally than at Democratic Party functions.
She frequently mentions Franklin D. Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy as the true Democrats who represent an era and an approach that is ideal for the party.
“I am reviving the true John F. Kennedy tradition in the Democratic Party, which is a commitment to progress for the nation, over blind party loyalty,” she said in an email exchange, brushing off talk that she is not a real Democrat. “All that’s left around Obama is a small group of acolytes and sycophants trying to intimidate the rest of the party into not going full steam ahead with what I represent and the true interests of the Democratic Party and the nation.”
In fact, she is persona non grata to Democrats, the subject of a resolution by Texas Democrats that essentially disavows her.
“Democrats look at Kesha’s platform and don’t feel like it represents their values and that’s the reason she has no support,” said Will Hailer, executive director of the Texas Democratic Party. “The views that she is expressing are so outlandish, they are out of touch with all of Texas, especially Texas Democrats. She’s not really a Democrat.”
Still, on Tuesday in the Lone Star state, she will be on the Democratic line, a state of affairs that comes as Texas Democrats look to rebuild a party that has been in retreat over the last several years, dogged by lackluster candidates and a firm conservative grip on statewide offices.
In March, Rogers managed to hold David Alameel, a millionaire dentist and Texas gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis’s choice for U.S. Senate, to under 50 percent, garnering nearly 22 percent of the vote. The Lyndon LaRouche Democrat won House primaries in 2010 and 2012, losing to Republicans but getting 3o percent of the vote. Acolytes of LaRouche, who has run for president multiple times, champion nuclear energy, think global warming is a hoax and often see complicated conspiracy theories behind world affairs.
To Democrats, Rogers is a distracting millstone, forcing them to spend time and resources to run against her.
“Given the considerable amount of negative coverage of Rogers by the Texas media, the near-universal rejection of her by Texas Democratic elites, Alameel’s vast financial advantage, and a minuscule primary electorate of less than 300 thousand voters restricted mostly to activists, it will be interesting to see how well Rogers does,” said Mark P. Jones, a political scientist at Rice University. “The better she does, the worse it reflects on the Texas Democratic Party and its far from stellar anointed candidate who will be located at the very top of the ticket in November.”
Rogers is scheduled to be out with a radio ad Tuesday, in which she says she wants to “kick the corrupt Obama regime out of the Democratic party and pick up where our nation left off under a truly great President, John F. Kennedy.”
In an email exchange, she fleshed out her platform, which is one part Tea Party and one part liberal populism.
“Obama must be impeached, for protecting and expanding the impeachable criminality of the Bush and Cheney administration,” she wrote. “Glass-Steagall must be reinstated, ending the “Too Big To Fail/Jail” bailouts of Wall Street, while protecting commercial bank accounts, Social Security, pensions, and social safety nets.”
Beyond the economy, she wants to return to the moon and revive NASA, which has been an economic engine in Texas.
“Obamacrats attack me for reviving JFK’s vision for space exploration, because they don’t want to allow people to be optimistic about scientific progress and discovery,” she wrote in an e-mail, in which she also described a vision for destroying asteroids. “We must restore a national commitment to a fully funded space program, both manned and unmanned.”
Her anti-Wall Street rhetoric matches Alameel’s, who in an interview slammed Democrats and Republicans for being in the grip of corporate America.
“I don’t see upward mobility for the middle class. Our economy used to be the envy of the world and the American dream was alive and well, because our leaders didn’t bow to Wall Street,” Alameel said. “I would like to make sure that we change the direction of our government and free our government from the domination of Wall Street.”
And how does Alameel, the heavy favorite in Tuesday’s primary, explain how Rogers managed to push him to a run-off, delaying a probable general election campaign against Republican Sen. John Cornyn?
Voters, he said, simply didn’t know who she was in March, but now they do.
“Since the primary the Democratic party has let everybody know, and we making sure that every community and every county knows who she is, from phone banking and robo calls we make sure that the majority of voters know who she is,” he said. “I make sure that I show them her picture standing around with a portrait of our president with a Hitler mustache. They are really offended by her.”
For her part, Rogers cites disaffected Democrats, upset with Obama over his drone and NSA policy, as well as his record number of deportations.
“The mass base of the Democratic Party is defecting in droves, into the Republican party or into non-participation,” she said. “I represent the only real factor of recruitment in the party, around real solutions.”
While Rogers is likely to lose on Tuesday, with her most high profile race so far, Jones sees a future for the unlikely Democrat.
“I would expect that we will be seeing more of Kesha Rogers in the future,” Jones said. “She has run a much more credible campaign than any LaRouche candidate I can think of.”