Donald Trump is the fulfillment of Deuteronomy 28:67: each evening, we go to sleep thinking that the Trump campaign can’t get any worse; the next morning, we wonder at how good we had it last evening.
This morning’s botched partial-birth abortion of a thought from Trump came on the heels of Ted Cruz’s father, Rafael, exhorting voters to “vote according to the word of God.” Trump said, “It’s disgraceful that his father can go out and do that. And just – and so many people are angry about it. And the evangelicals are angry about it, the way he does that. But I think it’s horrible. I think it’s absolutely horrible that a man can go and do that, what he’s saying there.” To reiterate, Trump thinks it’s “horrible” for anyone to be “allowed” to criticize him. In America.
That wasn’t the bad part.
Here’s the bad part:
His father was with Lee Harvey Oswald prior to Oswald’s being — you know, shot. I mean, the whole thing is ridiculous. What is this, right prior to his being shot, and nobody even brings it up. They don’t even talk about that. That was reported, and nobody talks about it.
Yes, as Trump whines about unifying the party behind him and as his supporters fleck #NeverTrump supporters with their bacteria-ridden spittle, he’s accusing his chief rival’s father of killing John F. Kennedy. Based on a National Enquirer story.
This, of course, is not Trump’s first trip to the Conspiracy Theory Clown Rodeo. Trump has a nasty habit of picking up conspiracy theories from the kook corner at Infowars, and then trafficking them as fact. Thug campaign manager Corey Lewandowski told The New York Times of Trump’s internet use back in March: “The great part about the Internet is, it gives a forum for people to express their ideas, and when he sees an idea that he thinks is worthy of having a discussion about…Mr. Trump is willing to have conversations and discuss issues that other candidates aren’t willing to discuss because they’re so politically correct.”
Here are just a few of those “issues”:
Trump’s Birtherism. Trump made a big splash in 2011 when he accused President Obama of being born in Kenya. “He doesn’t have a birth certificate,” Trump said in 2011. “He may have one, but there’s something on that, maybe religion, maybe it says he is a Muslim. I don’t know. Maybe he doesn’t want that.” Later, after Obama released his birth certificate, Trump said, “I don’t think I went overboard. Actually, I think it made me very popular…I do think I know what I’m doing.”
Trump’s Vaccination Insanity. Trump stated in a September debate:
Autism has become an epidemic. Twenty-five years ago, 35 years ago, you look at the statistics, not even close. It has gotten totally out of control. I am totally in favor of vaccines. But I want smaller doses over a longer period of time. Same exact amount, but you take this little beautiful baby, and you pump—I mean, it looks just like it’s meant for a horse, not for a child, and we’ve had so many instances, people that work for me. Just the other day, 2 years old, 2½ years old, a child, a beautiful child went to have the vaccine, and came back, and a week later got a tremendous fever, got very, very sick, now is autistic.
Trump’s Code Pink Iraq Nonsense. During debate in February, Trump began yelling Cindy Sheehan slogans: “They lied! They said there were weapons of mass destruction, there were non. And they knew there were none.” This is false, of course. Everyone thought there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, including Democrats. And, in fact, there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. So every element of this conspiracy theory is false. But Trump won’t stop saying it.
Trump’s 9/11 Conspiracy Theory. Trump hasn’t explained what he thinks we don’t know about 9/11, but he’s sure it’s something nefarious. After that February debate, Trump tweeted:
Now that George Bush is campaigning for Jeb(!), is he fair game for questions about World Trade Center, Iraq War and eco collapse? Careful!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 15, 2016
What the hell is that supposed to mean?
No wonder Trump hangs out with 9/11 conspiracist Alex Jones.
Trump’s Scalia Murder Theory. Appearing with unhinged radio host Michael Savage – aka Rich Man’s Alex Jones – after the death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, Trump quickly jumped right into the conspiracy hot tub with Savage. Savage asked, “Was he murdered?” Trump answered:
Well I just heard today and that just a little while ago actually — you know I just landed and I’m hearing it’s a big topic — that’s the question. And it’s a horrible topic, but they say they found a pillow on his face, which is a pretty unusual place to find a pillow. I can’t tell you what — I can’t give you an answer. You know usually I like to give you answers but I literally just heard it a little while ago. It’s just starting to come out now, as you know, Michael.
Even when Trump isn’t touting his own conspiracy theories, he’s boosting the veracity of others, like the moronic National Enquirer Ted Cruz affairs story. And his followers lap it up. Just take a look at this video of a Trump supporter trotting out Cruz conspiracy theories to Cruz while shouting Trump’s “Lyin’ Ted” nickname like a snaggletoothed Ike Clanton to Wyatt Earp in Tombstone (“Listen, Mr. Kansas Law Dog, law don’t go around here, savvy?”).
Why does Trump buy into conspiracy theories and push them? Because his entire campaign is just one big conspiracy theory: Americans have been screwed by nefarious, shadowy forces beyond their control. The system, as Trump likes to say, is “rigged.” The economy is “rigged,” and you’re being “raped.” And only Trump can solve.
Conspiracy theories comfort us. They explain a complex universe with the ease of simplicity. And conspiracy theories in which you are the victim allow you to escape responsibility for your own bad choices. Not all conspiracies are false, of course. But those that attribute godlike power to your adversaries almost always are. And using such conspiracy theories to centralize godlike power yourself is not only cynical, it’s deeply dangerous.
That’s what Trump is doing. It’s what Hillary Clinton does with her conspiracy theories about white privilege and institutional racism and the patriarchy and the vast right-wing conspiracy. It’s what Barack Obama has done with his jabber about evil built right into America’s DNA.
We’re living in the age of demagogic would-be tyrants. And now they’re gaining steam in the party that once stood for individual liberty and responsibility, thanks to Donald Trump’s hideous candidacy.