As of this writing, a caravan of Central American migrants is making its way north, crossing into Mexico, and picking up both members and media coverage as it goes.
This isn’t even the first migrant caravan of 2018, with an earlier one moving northward in April, stopping in Tijuana, with only about a dozen of the 700 participants arrested for trying to cross the border.
But things are different now, because we’re just a few weeks away from a midterm election.
And with Republicans looking likely to get blown out in both the House of Representatives and state legislature, a migrant caravan is exactly the thing the far right can use to stoke fear of the brown hordes relentlessly moving north to overwhelm the border and invade the good old’ US of A.
After all, it was fear of immigrants and the desire to keep them out with a giant wall that propelled Trump into office – why not use the same thing to keep his Congressional majority?
The current conspiracy theory, as blasted out by President Trump and his lapdogs in the conservative infotainment complex, is that the migrant caravan is stuffed full of MS-13 gang members, death-dealing ISIS acolytes, and hardened killers.
And it’s all personally funded by George Soros to destabilize American democracy, swing the election to Democrats, and bring us closer to the globalist goal of total domination of our society and our summer lake houses.
None of this is true, of course. There’s no evidence at all that any “Middle Easterners” have infiltrated the caravan, or that George Soros is down there personally passing out envelopes full of cash. But fear is a powerful motivator, and Trump is staking pretty much everything on his conspiracy theory that the caravan represents the end of America as we know it should it reach our border.
But this isn’t the only conspiracy theory about the migrant caravan – only the most mainstream.
Other conspiracy theories are out there, burbling up in the worst right wing conspiracy swamps, places that mainstream journalists and moderate civilians alike avoid – but that have very real impacts on our national discourse.
If Fox and Friends and the President are fearmongering about something, there’s a good chance it started on 4chan, Reddit, Twitter, or a conservative blog.
So here’s what the fringes are saying is really, really happening with the migrant caravan.
The caravan was paid for by the right wing as a false flag to tear down Democrats
Like flat earth memes, this is one of those conspiracy theories that you can’t decide whether or not it’s a joke. But at least a few prominent people have deduced that since the migrant caravan is inherently bad for Democrats, that it at least makes some sense for the caravan to have been organized and/or paid for by Republicans.
Again, it’s hard to tell whether this is an actual conspiracy theory, or one of those things that’s really convenient that just hasn’t taken hold with the conspiracy crowd. There’s no indication that any American, conservative or liberal, had anything to do with organizing the caravan – even if the timing is suspicious.
The whole thing is fake because nobody can walk that far that fast
Under the hashtag #FakeInvasion, conservative pundit and sometime actor James Woods tweeted that the “migrant invasion” can’t be a spontaneous occurrence because it’s impossible for a large group of people to walk all the way up Mexico and make it to the US border in time for the midterm election. Therefore…something. I guess.
This conspiracy theory basically holds that not only are Soros and his globalist cronies funding the caravan, they’re also funding some kind of transportation effort that puts them all on trucks and buses, and only has them disembark when cameras are around.
Of course, it’s entirely possible that members of the caravan are walking AND hitching rides depending on where they are and what’s available. Men are more likely to walk, while women with children are more likely to hitch rides when someone passing by offers one. Such complexity rarely occurs to conspiracy theorists.
Woods’ numbers aren’t even correct – as of the evening of the 22nd, the caravan was about 1,100 miles from the nearest border crossing, not 2,000. It’s not clear right now exactly where the caravan is headed, and when it will get there.
It’s the Jews!
A thread on 4chan, and that later migrated to r/conspiracy, grabbed a frame from a Fox News report of a white truck carrying migrants that seemed to feature an Israeli flag – implying that it was part of some Jewish/Israeli/Mossad conspiracy to destabilize the free world.
Naturally, the discussion that followed was measured, fair, and not at all anti-Semitic.
The footage is real, and the truck really does have a Star of David on it. But it’s a safe bet that any conspiracy theory that hinges on one image being looped over and over again demands more context. Would Israel really benefit from a “destabilizing invasion” of the country that does so much for its defense? Would they really send just one truck? Would they really leave their emblem on it?
As of now, we don’t know why there’s a truck with an Israeli emblem on it somewhere in either Guatemala or Mexico. But “we don’t know” does not mean “we do know, and it’s all a Mossad plot.” That’s just not how logic works.
God doesn’t want the migrant convoy to reach the US, so He sent a hurricane to wipe it out
As if Mexico didn’t have enough problems, there’s also a fairly large hurricane, Willa, heading toward the country’s west coast.
Conservative bloggers and believers in the QAnon conspiracy theory took this, as well as the hurricane’s name (Willa sounds like “wall,” you know), as proof that God was going to wipe out the migrants and save Trump’s border troops the trouble.
Unsurprisingly, it’s not true. Despite breathless clogosphere declarations of “Intensifying Hurricane Willa headed directly toward 10,000 migrant caravan path,” Willa is nowhere near the caravan, and if the hurricane and caravan continue on the paths they’re on, they’ll never even be close to each other.
Sadly, the non-violent Christian patriots of QAnon will have to find something else to eradicate the asylum-seeking migrants.
It’s cover for a false flag attack on the migrants themselves
Has the entire migrant caravan been put together to allow the Deep State to attack it, and pin the blame on President Trump?
That definitely not-crazy theory is going around Twitter, with a number of people predicting it as the last desperate actions of the Democrats in the face of Trump’s “red wave.”
So far, the caravan isn’t even close to the US. But if it does reach the border, and Trump orders it to be repelled with force, the US military could face an impossible decision – disobey their commander-in-chief, or commit mass slaughter.
Let’s hope it doesn’t get that far.
In fact, let’s hope the migrants get to a place of safety, and that the American people are smart enough to see through the xenophobic, hyperbolic nonsense the president is spewing.