Amid the recount in Wisconsin spurred into motion by Green Party candidate Jill Stein, ye olde faithful Donald Trump made his own proclamation:
So he thinks the Green Party’s fundraising to initiate a recount is a scam. Whatever. He won the election, won the electoral college, even though he lost the popular vote, so it’s over and done with. Despite all his hullabaloo about a rigged election, he clearly doesn’t think there was any serious election fraud, right?
Oh. Wow. That doesn’t really square with his resistance to a recount. I mean, if you were about to become president, and you think you might not have been elected because 2% of all the votes cast were illegal, you’d want to look into it. Unless, of course, you don’t think it’s in the states you won. So there will be a recount in Wisconsin, and recounts in Michigan and Pennsylvania are also possible, states Trump won. Let’s see. Can Trump pull three states out of his ass that he lost that he can blame for illegal votes? You betcha!
So where did Trump get this information? It’s not unlikely he got it from here:
That’s a headline from Alex Jones’s InfoWars, the internet’s premiere site for conspiracy theories. In case you’re unfamiliar with Jones, he’s one of the progenitors of the modern conspiracy movement. He started with a call-in public access radio program in Austin, Texas, and now commands something approaching a media empire. (Check out this bit from New Year’s Eve 1999 when he claimed the Russians were invading the US. At about 3:35 he talks about how the Russian election will be staged so it could be given to Vladimir Putin, whom Jones called a “demon,” but now praises as a resistor of the New World Order trying to warn us about WWIII.) Since the beginning Jones has been pushing conspiracy theories, alleging that the 9/11 attacks were orchestrated by the Bush administration, that the shootings at Aurora and Sandy Hook were faked, and that the Boston Marathon bombing was a false flag operation. One of Jones’s ‘journalists’ even managed to get the first question at the press conference.
But I don’t want to give too much credit to Jones. He didn’t start this rumor, he just amplified it. The original claim came from some guy named Gregg Phillips, who apparently has a magical app named VoteStand for reporting voter fraud. (How an app where any schlub can send a report is meant to be accurate is, well… we’re not supposed to worry about that.) Phillips hasn’t provided any evidence that the claim is true, and neither have Jones or Trump; Phillips just keeps saying he’ll release the data soon. It doesn’t matter that the data will be useless—these guys will cite it as definitive proof if it ever gets released.
But let’s go back to Jones. Trump has been buddy-buddy with Jones for a while now, appearing on Jones’s show for a half-hour interview:
In typical Trump fashion, he can’t help but soak up the adoration, eventually returning the praise to Jones by saying, “Your reputation is amazing.” Remember: Jones thinks people at Sandy Hook were acting. For good measure, here are some headlines you’re likely to find on Jones’s website:
Like a lot of right-wing pilferers, Jones isn’t above hawking scam products to his audience. Predictably, a lot of them are try to appeal to the machismo of fringe-types who are terrified of the country’s ongoing pussification:
Thing is, Trump’s not the only Republican politician to appear on Alex Jones’s show. Rand Paul, whom Time magazine named “The Most Interesting Man in Politics,” has appeared on broadcasts, and so has his father Ron Paul. Paul Nehlen, a pro-Trump acolyte who challenged House Speaker Paul Ryan in a primary earlier this year, appeared on Jones’s show. So did state senator Kelli Ward, who challenged John McCain in the primary in Arizona. So did Gary Johnson. So did Jill Stein. It wouldn’t be surprising to see more presidential or congressional hopefuls show up in the coming years.
I know we’re not supposed to flip out every time Trump tweets something stupid—we’d get burned out too quickly if we did—and I’ve heard the warnings of the tweets being distractions from, for example, his appointment announcements for several cabinet positions (a series coming soon to a blog near you!). But I point this out because Alex Jones has spent his entire professional life claiming that our system of democracy is fundamentally corrupt and needs to be taken back by revolution. He believes everything bad that happens is the direct result of a sinister plot concocted by shadowy cabals. He despises Muslims and homosexuals and fantasizes about violence. And he is head over heels because he will have a friend in the White House.