Nathan D. Larson, who is running for Congress, served 16 months in federal prison for threatening to kill President Barack Obama. (Nathan D. Larson campaign)
Columnist

The worst elements in our country are out in the open. No Klan hoods needed.

If the sight of white supremacists and neo-Nazis marching with torches last summer in Charlottesville wasn’t enough for you, now we’ve got a bunch of these haters running for public office. One of the most deplorable is a guy running for Congress in Virginia’s 10th District.

And his talking points are straight out of Beelzebub’s book of values. Nathan Larson, an independent who has been expelled from Virginia’s Libertarian Party, wants to make incest and pedophilia legal. He really says that.

He is just one of a disturbing number of openly heinous candidates trying to get to Washington this year. They range from Holocaust denier Arthur Jones, described by members of his own Illinois Republican Party as a Nazi, to Wisconsin white supremacist Paul Nehlen, who was ousted from Twitter for racist cartoons about the recent royal wedding.

No, none of these guys is likely to win. And, thankfully, voters already said no thanks to two Senate candidates: shopping mall troll Roy Moore in Alabama and former coal baron/convict Don Blankenship in West Virginia. Blankenship, who did time in the slammer for his part in a mine accident that killed 29 people, hasn’t gone away. He’s trying to run as a third-party candidate after losing in the Republican primary last month.

But even when they lose, these guys are scary. They are emboldened. Something is telling them that their values — anathema to everything America stands for — somehow have a place in our great nation.

Let’s look at what Larson believes the good people of Virginia want.

In his campaign manifesto, Larson argues that “physical discipline of wives shouldn’t even be a crime anyway.” He says O.J. Simpson killed his wife, and she deserved it; that singer Chris Brown “was able to avoid the inconvenience of having to kill Rhianna” by avoiding marriage. He thinks women should be classified as property, first of their father, then of their husband. He wants the Violence Against Women Act repealed and says “the most radical patriarchists will tend to favor letting men have sex with the little girls they own.”

Had enough yet?

Wait, there’s more. Larson also thinks the legal age to marry should be eliminated so more men have a better shot at marrying young virgins. And that “feminists are public enemy #1, more dangerous to the white race than MS-13, radical Islamist terror, and Kim Jong Un’s nuclear weapons program combined.”

Enough?

There’s a ton of Hitler worship.

Okay, enough. His campaign platform is so toxic, public WiFi networks block it.

We can go on and on about how wack and frightening this 37-year-old semi-accountant is, and we can try to dismiss him as a lone-wolf looney-tune who lives in his parents’ basement in Fauquier County. But he’s not entirely alone.

Larson handed in 1,000 signatures supporting his candidacy. Maybe all of them hadn’t read up on his pedophilia beliefs or the court case in Colorado when he was denied all visitation with his young daughter. Maybe they didn’t know about his admission that he raped his late ex-wife, or that he was locked up for threatening to kill President Barack Obama.

Haters like him have been around forever. Remember when former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard David Duke ran for the Senate in Louisiana in 1990, then governor in 1991, then the presidency in 1992?

Larson’s nothing new. But what is new is that he feels safe airing these awful views.

Larson feels perfectly comfortable campaigning for votes by peddling filth.

Of course, 2016 proved that anyone could be elected to any office. And ever since he was elected president, Donald Trump has been emitting a dog whistle to racists, bigots, misogynists and anti-Semites: The coast is clear to crawl out from the shadows.

That’s the bad part of emboldened haters. But there is a good part. There always is.

Because this huge cultural shift that invites guys like Larson out of the basement, other nontraditional candidates are coming out, too.

A historic number of women — at least 575 — have signed up to run for the House, the Senate or governor in this year’s election. It is the highest number of women seeking higher office ever.

They are diverse in their backgrounds and accomplishments. Many are new to politics and say that Trump is absolutely one of the reasons they are running.

Topping off that impressive wave is Mikie Sherrill, a Navy helicopter pilot and federal prosecutor in Montclair, N.J., who is gunning for a seat in the House.

She told Bergen Record columnist Charles Stile that she was “appalled” by the Trump agenda and his “attacks on women, minorities, Gold Star families, POWs and the Constitution.” That’s what made her run.

Emboldened, for sure. And ready to shove the deplorables back into their basements.

Twitter: @petulad