Conspiracy Theories Move Left to Right

Donald Trump’s delicious troll of the media last week, when he advertised a major speech on Birtherism and then proceeded to have military veterans praising him was so tasty, I actually laughed out loud, particularly when he gave this line, “Hillary Clinton and her campaign of 2008 started the birther controversy. I finished it.”

Beautiful!

It’s had some nice side effects as well, since the media was hoping to damage Trump with the taint of the Birther conspiracy and instead by Trump pointing out that the original birther might be Hillary herself, the media; in it’s attempt to clear the old gal of those scurrilous charges, finds the truth more complicated.

So now we’ve spent a couple of days on the media attempting to clear Clinton of the birther charges, while at the same time unwittingly associating birthers and Clinton in the public mind.  One has to wonder if Trump just haplessly stumbled on this strategy or he planned it all along.

As for me, I’ve known since 2008 that it was an idea that originated with Democrats, Particularly the “PUMA’s” (Party Unity My Ass) who were fighting a last ditch effort for Hillary in the 2008 campaign.  The very first time I heard the Birther conspiracy, it was from a Hillary supporting acquaintance.  She dropped the idea as soon as Obama was nominated but it apparently had quite a roll in anti Obama Democratic circles for a while.  The Daily Beast did a pretty good origin story of birtherism and how it originated in the Democratic Party in order to provide the basis of a lawsuit against the DNC to prevent the nomination of someone who, if he were actually born overseas, wouldn’t be eligible for the Presidency. And since Clinton lackey Sidney Blumenthal tried to stir up interest in the news media on investigating Obama’s birthplace during the 2008 race, it’s hard not to see the hand of Clinton pushing the story.

But despite PUMA expectations, the party really did unify after Obama’s nomination.  All was forgiven and Birtherism was forgotten, at least it was forgotten by all but a small fringe until 2011 when Donald Trump suddenly made it an issue.  Trump breathed life into a fringe idea and firmly shifted it to the right.  Trump’s birther claims and “investigation” was one of the more difficult issues I had to overcome in order to endorse him, since as I’ve previously mentioned, I don’t like conspiracy theories and hate wasting time on them.  As much as any one single person is to blame, Trump is to blame for making birtherism a right wing conspiracy, instead of leaving it on the left wing where it belonged.

But that’s the way of conspiracy theories isn’t?  At least to my observation, they seem to start on the left, but eventually drift over to the right.  Birtherism is a good example, but there are others.

The 9/11 Conspiracy theory was a pretty well established leftist conspiracy theory by 9/12.  By 2006, over half of Democrats thought that George Bush was either responsible for the 9/11 attacks or knew of them ahead of time and let them go forward.  Now CNN commenter Van Jones lost his job with the Obama administration for his 9/11 views (among other things).  Democratic Congressman and general nutcase Alan Grayson believes that “Bush let it happen.”  But now, with no Bush in the White House to torment, interest in 9/11 Conspiracies has faded too, although there are people on the right dipping their toes into it, something that was uncommon during the Bush Presidency.

Vaccines are a popular conspiracy.  Bill Maher, official voice of “science” on the left didn’t believe in them, and Robert Kennedy Jr. has been the Congressional voice of the vaccines cause autism movement, an issue that both candidates Obama and Clinton had to dance gingerly around in 2008, but Trump was the one who was dancing around it in 2015.

Why the left will invent these wacky ideas, play with them, and then toss them aside for the right to pick up later I can’t quite grasp.  If anyone has any ideas on why conspiracy theories start on the left and move right I would like to hear.

Unless of course, the answer is another conspiracy theory.

Why Trump?

Forget Super Tuesday.  The Florida Republican Primary is March 15th and I cast my absentee ballot for Donald Trump, and nobody is more surprised than I am.  If you had told me a few years ago that he would have been my candidate, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t…couldn’t have believed it.  The loudmouthed TV guy; the birther?  That’s my candidate?  Clearly a lot of things have changed in the past couple years to lead me down this path.

First of all, Trump isn’t a perfect candidate; far from it.  Prior to his entering the Presidential race, I was aware of who he was, but wasn’t otherwise interested in him or his mixture of business and celebrity; the Trump brand, or his show, The Apprentice.  And I particularly wasn’t interested in his birtherism.  I hate conspiracy theories and I hated the fact that a PUMA inspired Democratic conspiracy theory from the 2008 Democratic Primary race got pinned on Republicans.  Too be sure a lot of people on the right fell for that malarkey, but Trump garnered a great deal of publicity by promoting it and playing it as if it was a well crafted publicity stunt, which I suppose to him, that’s exactly what it was.

Trump has continued to say things that are ridiculous on its face even this far into the Presidential race. Trump’s claim during the CBS debate that Bush lied about WMD in Iraq is absurd.  However Rush Limbaugh’s theory, that it was a play for Democratic votes in an open primary state, does, have a ring of plausibility.  In any case, I don’t regard it as a factually correct statement and that debate highlighted much of the criticism of Trump as legitimate, that he’s a thin skinned hot head who shouts before he thinks.

But…in spite of all of those flaws and many others, I voted for Trump in the primary.

The reasons are multiple, but I can jot down a few bullet points:

Trump might win; no other Republican can: For Conservatives, it’s over.  I’ve noted multiple times that the demographic time bomb has gone off and all things being equal, Republicans won’t win another Presidential race.  Donald Trump is the rare bolt of lightning that might actually flip that script. He’s bringing new voters into the primaries and has a good chance of doing that during the general election.  He also has a platform that has cross party appeal. Would I like to have a more standard conservative to vote for? Sure, but we’ve already crossed the Rubicon on the ability of such a candidate to actually win a general election. It’s not a choice between Trump and Cruz, it’s a choice between Trump and Hillary.

If I ever want to see what a Presidency by someone who owes absolutely nothing to donors, this is my only chance. Given the freak out of GOPe, it’s obvious that many in the Republican establishment would much prefer a Hillary to a Trump.  With Hillary, you get the same old same old, but with Trump, he owes no one in the establishment anything.  It’s a totally unprecedented state of affairs in the political world; a President who actually owes nothing to the donor class.  Imagine, ambassadors and other appointees selected because of qualifications instead of donations?  We’ve never had anything like that, and are unlikely to have that again in my lifetime.  So just once I would like to see how that would work in real life instead of fantasy.

Economic Nationalism. When Trump declared his candidacy, his political platform blew me away.  He actually had a platform that was popular, and was untouched by any of the other multiple candidates; no amnesty and protecting jobs from bad trade deals.  It seems a program ripe for cherry picking by one of the other candidates, yet no one did, because, as I predicted, there were no donors who were going to fund such a campaign.

No Amnesty, no how. I’m done voting for amnesty supporting Republicans. Sorry Rubio, but I’m not giving you another chance to betray me.  Ted Cruz might not betray me on amnesty but he also would never be President.  If through some miracle he were to get the nomination, he would go down in Goldwater like flames in the general election. But Trump bet his campaign on immigration, so I think he means it.  I want the wall, and I don’t care if it has a giant T on it.  The Cucks won’t build it, but Trump might.

I’m sure a Trump vote will be a hard vote to swallow for many conservatives, but think about this:  What have conservatives actually conserved?

Nothing.

They’ve lost every battle, for decades.  We’ve had multiple Republican Presidents and Republican lead Congresses, yet government is bigger, more controlling, and more expansive than ever.  No promise Conservatives have made has lasted beyond Election Day.  So I’m really not risking anything.  Look at the Republican Congress and Senate I helped vote in.  They’ve been busy as bees helping pay for Obamacare and fulfilling President Obama’s budget requests.  So if that’s what I get with a Congress with a larger Republican majority since before the Great Depression, I don’t see that I’ve got anything to lose.

But potentially a lot to gain.