Rep. Loretta Sanchez is almost like the Democratic version of Illinois Sen. Mark Kirk: She's fast becoming best-known for her offensive remarks about minorities. Late last week, she told Larry King that "between 5 and 20 percent" of Muslims "have a desire for a caliphate" and "are willing to use and they do use terrorism" to achieve those ends. Naturally, the political world hammered her, but Sanchez isn't backing down. Instead, she continues to channel Donald Trump, declaring that there are "very credible sources" that support her views, including the Pew Research Center, the British Broadcasting Corporation and the book Islam and the Future of Tolerance.
Citing a source as enormously broad as “the BBC”—a public broadcaster that operates numerous channels around the globe 24 hours a day—is surely the mark of a scoundrel; it's about as honest as saying you found something "in the encyclopedia." But how about the other sources Sanchez spoke of? Searching for the term "caliphate" on Pew's site reveals no relevant hits. (A 2010 link says that some 30 percent of Muslims in sub-Saharan Africa "expect to live to see the re-establishment of the caliphate." By contrast, half of all Christians surveyed think they'll see Jesus "return to earth in their lifetime.")
And the book she mentions is co-authored by a radical anti-religious atheist named Sam Harris who has, among other things, spoken out in favor of torture and has blamed Jews for their own persecution because "the ideology of Judaism remains a lightning rod for intolerance to this day." Yet even his anti-Islam tome does not say anything about this "5 to 20 percent" statistic.
So what the hell is Sanchez on about? In all likelihood, she just can't help herself and imagines that she's some bold truth-teller, bravely confronting liberals with "facts" they don't want to hear. But there's also a darker possibility here, namely that Sanchez thinks she can get past the top-two primary and beat fellow Democrat Kamala Harris next November by positioning herself to Harris's right. From what we've seen of her, Sanchez probably isn't bright enough to concoct a scheme like this, but she still deserves to lose either way.