In a crazy campaign season, who’s craziest of all? The Daily Beast, using its Election Oracle and 9 other factors, discovers the 15 Senate candidates scoring highest on our new Wingnut Index.
Somehow, 2010 has turned out to be the year of the Wingnut. An unprecedented array of far out—and mostly far-right—candidates have won closed partisan primaries and now have a real shot at entering the nation’s most deliberative body—the Senate. But how can we quantify the crazy?
In the spirit of rankings that determine candidates’ ideological or special-interest adherence, we have come up with our own Wingnut Index as a way of measuring the extremism of Senate candidates this year. (Subsequent rankings of congressional and gubernatorial candidates will be coming every Monday until the election.) The 15 Senate candidates who earned enough points to grab top slots on the Wingnut Index reflect roughly one-quarter of the total candidates running this year—a fair measure of the extremes’ influence on our politics today.
In the 10 areas measured, we have reached for binary criteria whenever possible, such as whether the candidate subscribes to the conspiracy theories of being a “birther” or a 9/11 truther, or whether they have compared their political opponents to either Nazis or communists. Evidence of either Bush Derangement Syndrome or Obama Derangement Syndrome was included in the general category of fearmongering.
Hyper-partisan, special-interest-driven voting records were taken into account when possible—for example, candidates who received a 100 percent rating from the Family Research Council or a 100 percent rating from what could be considered their opposite interest group on the left, the AFS ratings by the Association of Federal, State, County and Municipal Employees. (In the interest of full disclosure, Barbara Boxer’s 99 rating was rounded up for inclusion.)