Donald Trump sees conspiracies like most of us see daylight breaking. His entire political career, shameful as it has been, has consisted of spreading conspiracy theories about everyone who opposes him.
His followers are only too happy to believe in Donald’s outlandish nonsense. They are like the old Irish Independent Party which was known as “The Pope’s Brass Band” because whatever the Pope said was good enough for them.
Pope Trump’s urbi et orbi moment began when he entered politics peddling the patent and racist nonsense that Barack Obama was a foreign-born Muslim.
The proof he produced was absolutely zero, yet he managed to cross into the stream of American politics by peddling a racist lie.
He told interviewer Laura Ingraham on her show, “He (Obama) doesn’t have a birth certificate or, if he does, there’s something on that certificate that is very bad for him.
“Now somebody told me, and I have no idea whether this is bad for him or not but perhaps it would be, that where it says ‘religion’ it might have ‘Muslim,’ and if you’re a Muslim, you don’t change your religion by the way, but somebody said, ‘Maybe that’s the reason he doesn’t want to show it.’ I don’t think so. I just don’t think he has a birth certificate and everybody has a birth certificate.”
“Somebody told me” is the basis for the belief it seems. So if a homeless man tells me the “end is near” I better believe him.
The theory worked so well for Trump that soon there were dozens more. Mexicans are rapists, Muslims celebrated 9/11 in New Jersey by dancing on rooftops. (He saw that with his own eyes.)
Next up on the conspiracy front was perhaps the most outlandish of all, that Senator Ted Cruz’s father was part of the JFK assassination and was pictured with Lee Harvey Oswald.
His source was the National Enquirer, that paragon of true journalism, but Trump refused to back away until the story had done its damage.
In the San Bernardino shootings neighbors saw suspicious activities in the terrorists’ homes (no such evidence exists.) And Syria was only sending young male refugees to America (another falsehood.)
In fact hardly a day goes by that there is not a conspiracy theory du jour.
Now comes the real doozy, a plot to deny him the election by thousands of unnamed conspirators.
His downfall had nothing to do with his terrible debate performances or his barely coherent grasp of important issues, of course. “They” are up to their tricks again.
Sadly, Trump has undermined faith in America in a corrosive way, and it is hard to know how damaging for the long term his rantings will be for the country.
The thought of this man in the White House is truly scary. Yet millions of Americans seem to be unable to wake up to the fact. What it says about our democracy is truly scary.