Fringe Factor

Cliven Bundy’s Brokeback Mountain Moment

Nevada’s ‘last cattle rancher’ returns to endorse an African American candidate and talk about ‘black folks’ and their problems with slavery.


Cliven Bundy, Nevada's "last cattle rancher," has resurfaced after months of me not paying attention to him to co-star in a campaign commercial that can best be described as the racist fear-mongering remake of Brokeback Mountain. It features a white horse, assless chaps, Eric Holder, and cheap video effects. Get your popcorn.

Kamau Bakari is an African American independent who is running for Congress in Nevada's liberal 1st district. In a stroke of genius, he enlisted Bundy to vouch for him on tape. You may remember Bundy from way back in April when he went to war against the federal government over the fact that his cattle had been grazing illegally on federal land for several decades. He won, and he became a right-wing hero in the process, praised by everyone from Ted Cruz to Sean Hannity. Yes, things were going great for ol’ Bundy... and then he started talking.

"I want to tell you one more thing I know about the Negro," Bundy said while recalling driving past a housing project in Las Vegas. “…In front of that government house the door was usually open and the older people and the kids—and there is always at least a half a dozen people sitting on the porch—they didn’t have nothing to do. They didn’t have nothing for their kids to do. They didn’t have nothing for their young girls to do. And because they were basically on government subsidy, so now what do they do? They abort their young children, they put their young men in jail, because they never learned how to pick cotton. And I’ve often wondered, are they better off as slaves, picking cotton and having a family life and doing things, or are they better off under government subsidy? They didn’t get no more freedom. They got less freedom.”


Republicans quickly walked back their Bundy-love. But like the phoenix, he has risen in the form of a 2:11, horribly produced YouTube clip.

It begins with Holder saying America, in some ways, has been and continues to be "a nation of cowards." Suddenly, the screen cuts to FLAMES which engulf the word "COWARDS?!?"

Then, Bundy appears –– assless chaps over his blue jeans, a suede vest, a blue scarf around his neck, and a cowboy hat –– holding a rope and doing something American with it which seems to involve the white horse he is standing near.

"Did he just call me a coward?" Bundy asks Bakari, who is off to his right, sporting all black everything. "No, he just called all white folks cowards," Bakari answers.

They briefly banter about political correctness.

"I know black folks who have had a hard time with, uh, slavery," Bundy stammers with all the grace of Al Sharpton struggling to read a teleprompter. "You know, the government was in on it. A man ought to be able to express himself without being called names."

"I hear you, Cliven, and I believe you. A brave, white man like you would be just what we need to put an end to this political correctness stuff in America today," Bakari says.

"It's almost like black folks think white folks owe them something," Bundy whines. "I've got an idea!" Bakari exclaims. "Let's call Eric Holder out! Tell him you're a white man who's not afraid to talk to him about race, and you know a black man that'll stand with you."

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Bundy and Bakari face the camera. "I like that idea. Mr. Eric Holder, this is one white man that's not scared to talk about race. I dare you to talk to Las Vegas and talk to us," Bundy says. "And don't give us that you're too busy stuff," Bakari snarks. "You weren't too busy to go to Ferguson, Missouri…I'm Kamal Bakari and I approve this message."

Bundy and Bakari inch closer to one another. Bundy giggles girlishly, tucking his hair behind his ear. Bakari reaches out, strokes Bundy's cheek and stares into his eyes longingly. Bakari lifts Bundy up by his assless chaps and puts him on the white horse, and the two ride off together into the desert, the sun setting at the horizon.