Why Does Donald Trump Like Conspiracy Theories?
When I lived in Berkeley in 1976, my next-door neighbor was an old gent who came out to California from somewhere in the Dust Bowl in the 1930’s, then got a job in an East Bay ammunition factory during the war, worked a double shift, bought a little house and was now sitting there happily drinking a couple of beers every day.
I once asked him what it was like where he lived before coming to California. He thought for a moment, then said, “Lots of folks was starving out there.”
The United States had famine in some places during the 1930’s. Famine isn’t what happens when you don’t have enough to eat. Famine isn’t what they like to call ‘food insecurity’ today. Famine is when everyone starves to death.
Famine occurred in China during the 1940’s and was the reason why Chiang and his gang ran off to Formosa in 1949. Famine happened in India in 1947 and forced the British to pull out. Today, famine breaks out in places like Somalia, Ethiopia, and Sudan, not in the USA.
Trump got clobbered in 2020 because he had to use government authority and resources to respond to a major calamity and he failed. This was the first time we needed to respond to a famine-like catastrophe since 1933. Other than the Covid-19 Pandemic, life has been nothing but the usual and normal ups and downs for the last ninety years.
And because life has been more or less ‘normal’ for most of us, voters are asked to vote not on what the government will do, but what the candidates say about themselves and what they say about the other names on the ballot every two or four years.
Next time Trump does one of his rallies, listen to what he says. He doesn’t say one word about government programs, or government planning, or anything like that. He talks about himself, and he talks about everyone else. And when he mentions anyone who might be competing against him for a vote, he invariably fashions the narrative in conspiracy-theory terms.
And if you think that promoting conspiracy theories is only something done by the alt-right, you couldn’t be more wrong. Hillary is still saying that she lost the 2016 election because Trump colluded with the Russians to bring her down. There has yet to be one, single shred of evidence to show that Hillary’s promotion of a Trump-Putin conspiracy is true. But take a look at her book, What Happened, which was a best-seller, and this is what the book is all about.
Hillary’s not the only one on our side to indulge in conspiracy theory crap. Bernie Sanders ran for President twice. His basic message and I’m quoting his directly, was that the ‘system is rigged’ which he claimed to be true both times.
Now exactly who was rigging the system is something that ol’ Bern never bothers to explain. But is his belief about some behind-the-scenes group having the power to screw everyone over any different than what Donald Trump says about George Soros and his socialist friends?
And by the way, when it turned out that the ‘system’ Bernie was talking about was the collusion between Hillary’s team and the DNC, nobody really cared.
Trump got into the conspiracy-theory game big time when he started pushing the idea that Barack Obama wasn’t born in Hawaii but was born outside the United States. Even Hillary briefly joined the ‘Barack was born somewhere else’ parade in 2008.
But the biggest, single political conspiracy theory of all time continues to swirl around the assassination of JFK in 1963, which Trump continued to promote when he charged that Ted Cruz’s father was a buddy of Lee Harvey Oswald, a bizarre claim that the Miami Herald carried in 2016.
I think that conspiracy theories have become the standard political lexicon during election campaigns because most of us rarely need government to take care of us at all. The media can ramp up this so-called debt ‘crisis’ all it wants, but I guarantee you that my social security check will continue to be deposited into my bank account on the exact, same day every month.
In fact, I just checked my bank account online and the money from this month’s payment from the United States Treasury is exactly where it’s supposed to be. So, as soon as the wife gets up and gets dressed, we’ll take a ride down to Walmart and buy something we really don’t need.