As part of what’s sure to be a long, brutal, insanely divisive 2020 presidential campaign between Donald Trump and the eventual Democratic nominee, conspiracy theories are already emerging about the top liberal frontrunners. And the first target for the churn of right wing plots, fake hit jobs, and hysterical rumors is Joe Biden.
The former vice president is leading Democratic polling, but only with about a third of the vote. He’s also run a fairly lazy and outmoded campaign, relying on wishful thinking that Republicans will come to their senses and throw Trump under the bus – along with a good deal of old school tactile politics. It’s that reputation (earned or not) of Biden as a handsy, touchy creep that’s powering the first big Biden conspiracy theory: that his college roommate went on the record with a bombshell that Biden has admitted to being sexually attracted to children.
While not all Trump supporters are QAnon believers, virtually all QAnon believers are Trump supporters. How could one subscribe to a prophecy cult that puts Donald Trump at the center of a massive effort to destroy the Democratic Party if you didn’t believe Trump was smart enough to pull it off?
Since the far left and far right have far more in common than they’d like to believe (distrust of mainstream media communicators, ideological puritanism, reliance on dubious sources and wishful thinking, etc), it’s worth looking at whether or not there’s a far left version of QAnon – and what it has in common with the actual QAnon.
One day Chris is going to accidentally slip into extremely online speak on air for 20 minutes and it's gonna spur MSNBC viewers to start liberal qanon and I truly cannot wait https://t.co/WDiSuHoNAk
As it turns out, there’s nothing that’s an exact match, not the least of which is because QAnon is full of lurid details like baby-eating and ritual sacrifice, stuff that gets pushed hard in conservative circles. Beyond that, the Trump years have imbued liberalism with a sudden distrust of government in general and police in particular, a role that had previously been filled by right wingers gathering guns and ammo for the inevitable great government gun confiscation that was just around the corner.
But there are definite similarities between QAnon and several of the biggest pet conspiracy theories held near and dear by liberals. And it’s useful to examine them, and see why outlandish conspiracies have taken such a firm hold of our politics. Because they totally have.
Some conspiracy theory claims are so ubiquitous and baked into fringe culture that you might assume they’ve been around for decades, or even centuries. This goes particularly for the Rothschild banking family (to whom I am not related!), which has been at the center of anti-Semitic rhetoric since the late 1700’s.
So after the umpteenth occurrence of some conspiracy believer bringing up the Rothschilds “hunting humans” on their vast estate in Austria, I decided to go searching for the source. Not because I feel compelled to defend a wealthy family to whom I’m not related. But because I like tracking things down to their source, where it’s a nutso blog post or a self-published book or just thin air.
The QAnon community is very upset because they believe the Rothschild family literally hunted children on an Austrian estate.
So where did the rumor that the Rothschilds hold great hunting parties where they track down and slaughter children for sport start? Was it some Nazi-era bit of propaganda? An old Napoleonic canard? Something more recent from the poison pen of David Icke or Alex Jones?
On Saturday morning, Hillary Clinton announced via Twitter that her brother, 65-year-old Tony Rodham, had died on Friday night. Details were scant, and no cause of death was announced, but it was clear from her tweet that Secretary Clinton was heartbroken over the loss of her younger sibling.
In a surprising show of maturity and consideration, far right conservatives laid off Mrs. Clinton, paying respects to her and her family, and giving them the space to grieve this shocking loss.
Nah, I’m kidding, they pretty much all said she did it. No, really.
Earlier this week, former Arkansas state senator Linda Collins-Smith, 57, was found dead of a gunshot wound in her home. As with most incidents like this, local news was the first to break the story, with conflicting reports about when Collins-Smith was found, the state of her body, and whether she was found wrapped in a blanket or not. Local police have said little, merely that they’re investigating it as a homicide, and a judge issued a gag order preventing the release of medical or legal documents related to the death.
While Collins-Smith’s death is obviously a tragedy for her family and friends, it’s also not the kind of story that would have any real impact on today’s frenetic news cycle. She had a fairly short political career, and her biggest claim to fame as an elected official was authoring a failed anti-trans “bathroom bill” similar to the one that North Carolina passed and immediately regretted.
Oh, and she was a conspiracy theorist who pushed trans panic, sanctuary city hysteria, and at least once retweeted a Gateway Pundit article about the debunked anti-Trump “Spygate” conspiracy. Her biggest dip into the fever swamp came a few months ago when she made an appearance on 24/7 QAnon-themed YouTube Channel “Patriots Soapbox.”