Of course you can’t always be 100% responsible for the insane people who endorse you, but there’s something to be said about openly courting votes from the fringe. That’s why it’s a problem that Donald Trump and Rand Paul (even though he’s out) have appeared on conspiracy theory media king Alex Jones’s radio show:
I wouldn’t recommend watching either unless you’re gunning for an aneurysm, but there they are.
Jones’s main website, infowars.com, gets nearly a million views a day and 30 million in a month. He has over a million subscribers to his YouTube channel, 336k Twitter followers, and nearly 15 million views for his claim-to-fame ‘documentary’ The Obama Deception. Do the numbers overlap? Certainly. But that’s still a lot of people who subscribe to his bullshit.
In case you’re unfamiliar with Jones, he’s the best-known conspiracy theorist in America. He purports that the American government (or New World Order, or Bilderberg, or maybe it’s all the same thing) planned and orchestrated 9/11. He claims that presidential elections are rigged and that guys like Obama were pre-selected by a shadowy cabal rather than chosen by the voters. He thinks basically every tragedy that has ever happened in the US is a false-flag attack designed to soften Americans to the idea of gun control. He says martial law is just around the corner. That the economy is going to collapse. That the government is going to round up you and your granny and stick you in a FEMA concentration camp. He thinks the families of the victims at Sandy Hook don’t really have kids and that they’re paid actors. Should I continue?
So this is the kind of guy that Trump says is doing a ‘wonderful job.’ This is the kind of guy who gets Ron Paul on his show multiple times in a short period. This is the kind of guy who even got to interview Noam Chomsky. (Though Chomsky, for better or worse, will be interviewed by just about anyone. Trump too, for that matter.)
I’m not saying that I don’t get it. Of course Donald Trump would court the millions of listeners Jones attracts. They inherently distrust the entire auspices of government and see its insiders as bought shills. They think corporations control everything, and Trump not taking a dime from them is the kind of autonomy they seek in a candidate. What I am saying is that it’s nothing short of frightening that these are the people Republicans want to attract. As their economic policies become more and more attached to the idea of giving everything away to the rich, they naturally will have to go further and further to the fringes to garner votes. It means that candidates for the highest office in the country want the votes of people who think the entire system is not just rigged against them, but out to kill them.
I’m not surprised this hasn’t gotten more attention. Throwing it in Trump’s face won’t do anything because nothing, not even endorsements from ‘militiaman’ and anti-Islam fanatic Jon Ritzheimer or white supremacist David Duke, is able to be put across convincingly as a negative to people who support him. Saying anything to Rand Paul wouldn’t do anything because, well, no one supported him in the first place. It’s one thing to understand that Tea Party faithfuls will fall into your camp naturally; it’s another to speak their language in a bid to pull them in.
To top it off, conservative candidates don’t do much to dissuade their supporters from buying into conspiracy theories, no matter how stupid: