By now, you’ve probably heard that Kesha Rogers—a perennial candidate from Houston who wants to impeach Obama—is in the lead among Democratic candidates to challenge U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, according to a University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll released on Monday.
That’s bad news for a party pushing a narrative about resurgence, relevance and seriousness. Yesterday the Texas Democratic Party sent an email with the subject line “Don’t Vote For Kesha Rogers” that called her candidacy “an insult” and mentioned that she’d “paraded around Texas with a poster of the President with a Hitler mustache.”
But while it’s easy—and, let’s face it, fun—to write about mustaches and plans to industrialize the moon (more on that in a minute), Rogers could very well be the Democratic nominee. I talked to her to learn where she stands on other issues important to Democrats.
First, some background: Rogers is a LaRouche Democrat, meaning she follows Lyndon LaRouche, a conspiracy theorist whose devotees advocate a world gold standard and want to colonize Mars. At 37, Rogers has had no career other than a certain brand of politics and has never held elected office. In 2006, she ran (unsuccessfully) for chairman of the Texas Democratic Party. In 2010 and 2012, she ran for Congress, winning the Democratic nomination both times before decisively losing the general. Her new lead is not small, but neither is it immutable. Though almost three-quarters of those surveyed had no opinion, Monday’s poll shows her pulling 35 percent among likely voters in a five-way race. Her closest competitor, David Alameel, trails with 27 percent despite an endorsement from Wendy Davis.
When I asked to speak with Alameel, his campaign responded with an email calling the new poll “nonsense.” His spokesperson, Suzie Dundas, wrote, “The only poll that matters will be on March 4, when voters will choose David’s vision for Texas – withdrawing from Afghanistan and reinvesting the billions back here at home to create jobs, ensure a quality education for all children, and protect Social Security and Medicare – over all others.”
Maybe. The Democratic Party certainly hopes so. But just in case, let’s meet our front-runner.
In some ways, Rogers fits in with many of her party. Rogers wants to abolish the death penalty. She would protect unemployment benefits, food stamps and Social Security. She wants to reform campaign finance laws and stop drone attacks, and she thinks a true Democrat is “one who looks out for the lower 80 percent of the population.”
But Rogers also thinks climate change is “a fraud.”
“The green environmentalist agenda should be stopped and destroyed,” she told me. “[It is] an agenda for population reduction.”
And her financial policy? “We have to bankrupt Wall Street,” Rogers says. “We have to shut down the bail-in, bail-out policy [that’s] taking away our industry, our jobs, our infrastructure and put an end to bailing our quadrillions of dollars of speculative gambling activity.”
Another policy priority is planetary defense, which is “how we are going to defend the planet from asteroids which are very seriously threatening the planet.” The same technology push will help with the “development of a successful industrialization of the moon,” she says, “[for] the mining of raw materials and resources such as helium-3 on the moon, which is a productive resource for developing fusion. I am a very strong supporter and proponent of fusion development as a source of energy.”
This is all part of Rogers’ usual platform and she speaks about it with practiced conviction. But she’s less forthcoming about other policy areas. When asked her stance on abortion, she says, “First of all, I don’t believe in single issues,” though she specifies that she’s pro-life meaning she’s in favor of “stopping the threat of thermonuclear war.” Would she vote to overturn Roe v. Wade? She pauses for a very long time, then says, “No. I’m not sure.”
She’s opposed to drug legalization, coercive interrogation and would raise the minimum wage. But what about gay marriage?
“My concern right now is that we have a lawless president in the White House,” she says.
When pressed, she says, “I’m telling you the same thing I tell these people. I’m telling you that my concern is not on single issues. And so therefore my concern is on making sure that whoever you are, you’re not going to be threatened, that your lives are not going to be endangered by the threat of thermonuclear war, which we are now facing.”
I ask again and she refers me twice to her website, a search of which returns no results for “gay,” “homosexual,” or “marriage.”
“Okay fine,” I thought. Giving in, I asked Rogers how, as the U.S. Senator from Texas, she would prevent thermonuclear war.
“The way you prevent thermonuclear war is that you have to actually have the interest of nations in mind. We need a program for peace… We all need food. We all need water… You have to respect these different cultures, but at the same time, we have to figure out what is in the interest of every single human being.”
Who could argue with that?