America is a country that both loves and hates its conspiracy theories. On the one hand, our popular culture is lousy with them, from cinema to the president’s goddamn Twitter account. On the other hand, we host an academic elite which not only views such cultural trends with disdain, but seems to see our history, their history, the “official story”, as some kind of irrefutable biblical fact. Few people make the connection between these parallel trends, the likelihood that the overly presumptuous and at times downright jingoistic orthodoxy of our ivory tower elites is precisely what drives pedestrian America to search for alternatives to their “truth”. That old adage, consider the source. The reality is that history in and of itself is not black and white science. At its most accurate it is a collection of narratives, different perspectives from the ground floor that could easily be described as conspiracy theories. What appears to be a conspiracy theory from Arlington or Manhattan, looks a lot more like bad memories from Hiroshima or Tuskegee. Any true revisionist historian must become a collector of conspiracy theories, viewing all available narratives with a healthy grain of salt.
Few modern historical phenomena have created a greater volume of conspiracy theories than the 2016 Presidential Election, a downright cataclysmic event that the entire nation is still reeling from, even as we approach the next election in 2020. 2016 didn’t just shake the unwashed proletariat, it shook our intellectual bourgeoisie to its very core. As the 2020 Primaries grind away, they, more than any others seem to be grasping blindly for answers. How can an insider’s insider with such impeccable credentials like Hillary Clinton fall so devastatingly short to an irate babbling imbecile from the tabloid gutter of the 1%? They still haven’t figured it out and they know it, and they know that victory will elude them until they do. So what did happen in 2016? Lets take a second look at the crime scene through the lens of three conspiracy theories. The first two, my own, and the last one, the product of our sacred elites, all admittedly equally presumptuous.
Hillary Clinton, regardless of how you feel about her vapid moral integrity, is a stone cold player, a sort of post-feminist supervillain. She accepted at a young age that if she was going to achieve the level of power she sought, she was going to have to game the system. So she married a dope-smoking hayseed with a fraction of her intellect and micromanaged his political career to put herself in the White House. Even as First Lady, Hillary clearly ran the show. She played Dick Cheney to Bill’s Dubya, pushing an agenda of international hegemony while silencing the women her silver-tongued hubby groped.
But Hillary was not content to remain behind the curtain. She thirsted to become Oz in both title and reality. So she parlayed this twisted open marriage into a career in the Senate and then a go at the Oval Office. But Hillary had a problem, a major one that many elites share. She was almost pathologically unelectable. She was a master ventriloquist, but without a dummy to play, the public could smell her rank sociopathy from a mile away. In 2008, she suffered a humiliating defeat to a first term senator, a sweet talking minority, no less. If she was going to achieve her goal of becoming the First War Criminal with interior genitalia she would have to get crafty. She would need two ventriloquist dummies this time, not just one. She would need two conspiracies. The kind of soft power manipulations she mastered meddling in other countries affairs.
The first was Bernie Sanders, who already made a career of pulling off the impressive feat of playing two seemingly diametrically apposed rolls at once, the wild eyed socialist idealist that got him elected in bucolic Vermont, and the consummate party loyalist that kept him elected in Washington. He was perfect. From day one of the primary campaign, Bernie sent all the right signals high and clear that he was running to lose. He spoke at great length of reinvigorating the Democratic Party and a revolution that didn’t weigh victory with his nomination. He handed the first debates to Hillary on a silken pillow with his declaration that “We are sick of hearing about your damn emails!” as she laughed mincingly, while “we” most certainly were not sick of learning the goddamn truth. In a single off-the-cuff comment, Bernie rendered Hillary’s most recent act of Beltway corruption a moot point. Meanwhile, he gathered the disaffected wayward leftists who had already chosen a lesser evil over Hillary once and groomed them to view the party of neoliberal austerity as somehow revolutionary, while refusing to take so much as a swipe at his opponent. But one conspiracy wasn’t enough, not this time around. Hillary needed one more dummy to guarantee she wouldn’t suffer a repeat of 2008.
Donald Trump had been idly threatening to run for president for nearly two decades. It had become a cornerstone of his whole sideshow, along with a dizzy cocktail of corporate welfare and reality TV. But he had never seen it fit to actually waste his time and energy on an actual campaign. Not until 2016. Whatever could have changed the Donald’s mind? His little game of presidential footsy had garnered him all the rewards of a real presidential run, but none of the headaches. Something drove this bit player to take a leading roll in 2016. Is it really so far fetched to consider the possibility that some savvy media tycoon like Haim Saban in the orbit of Trump’s old friends the Clintons could have convinced him that this time actually taking the plunge could earn him even richer rewards?
Bafflingly, Trump launched his strange campaign by diving head first into an issue that was far more of a sour point for Democrats than it was for the GOP in 2015. Before Donald descended those golden escalators to infamy, no one with any heft on the right was even talking about tightening immigration laws. Quite the contrary, after two dismal presidential campaigns in a row, the GOP was openly playing with the notion of doing the unthinkable and reaching out to minorities, Buckley be damned. The Democrats were the ones busy trying to reverse the damage done to the long neglected but increasingly pivotal Latino vote by Obama’s record shattering deportation regime, handing out tokens like DACA like fun-size candy bars on Halloween.
Then the Donald took to the airwaves, proclaiming immigrants to be killers and rapists, and calling for the construction of a flaming border moat complete with landmines and crocodiles. He seemed like a gift from hell to the Hillary Campaign and for a while he was. Clinton’s devoted allies on CNN and MSNBC gave Trump’s race-baiting horror show 24/7 coverage, while “serious” GOP contenders were treated like disposable tarts on the Bachelor. It was so perfect, how could it possibly go wrong? The leftist youth vote that had long eluded Hillary was being corralled and pacified by Bernie the grateful loser, while Donald Trump alienated Latinos by turning the GOP into an episode of Jerry Springer. It was the perfect soft power play. But like all of Hillary’s experiments with regime change, from Libya to Ukraine, this one too would blow up in her fucking face with the force of a thousand Benghazi’s. It turns out that the only bitch bigger than Hillary is blowback.
In spite of all his limp-wristed bromides to party unity, Bernie’s revolution grew revolutionary. It turns out that the left didn’t just distrust Hillary, they despised her, and in an election that was packaged to them as a forgone conclusion by the same pricks who helped Hillary sell them on the Iraq War, even a charismatic cripple like Bernie was ripe to warp into a cult of personality. Bernie was about as dangerous as unscented Lubriderm, but he came to symbolize something obscenely radical. He came to symbolize upheaval. And so Hillary found herself married to the task of sabotaging her own puppet’s primaries, while the upheaval on the right that her backers fostered with round the clock coverage became equally unruly. What had started as a sort of blue collar shock comedy tour with the Donald stocking the stage like a dayglow Andrew Dice Clay, taking swipes at every sacred cow from cripples to POW’s, had tapped into something primal. In spite of all the blatant race baiting, at its core, the Trump jihad was essentially an elder cousin of the Bernie revolution. People had become so disgusted by the daily corruption of the status quo that they were willing to vote for a human Molotov cocktail just to burn that fucker down. This shit was out of control. Hillary needed one more conspiracy to tame it.
What she came up with is the only theory here to become a part of the official American intellectual canon, in spite of the fact that it’s far more convoluted than the theories I propagated above. I speak, of coarse, of Russiagate. A gigantic Byzantine-esque plot to deny Hillary her rightful place in power with a twelve-dimensional campaign of trolls, proxies, pop-ups, honeypots, hacks and other sundry ballyhoo, all orchestrated directly by the evil Vladimir Putin like a cat-stroking Bond villain. It all seemed like idle nonsense from a woman adept in the artform until the unthinkable happened, a racist reality television circus clown won the fucking White House. That’s when the Russiagate hoax grew fangs. It was given unblinking verification by Hillary’s allies in the media and the intelligence community without offering so much as a crumb of verifiable proof. And just like that, a conspiracy theory becomes history and this entire piece becomes “fake news” for questioning its logic.
So it’s 2020, dearest motherfuckers, and what have we learned? Well I don’t know about you but the Democrats haven’t appeared to learn a goddamn thing. With Hillary’s 2016 contemporaries, Trump and Bernie, launching campaigns that they actually intend to win for once, the DNC is still lost in the Russophobic spy thriller that they seem to have legitimately forgotten they forged, all while once again pimping another pathologically unelectable Washington dinosaur that everyone clearly hates as the hero of their story. These imbeciles appear to have every intention of repeating their 2016 tricks to put Biden or, god forbid, Bloomberg in the nomination, which will only accomplish another seemingly impossible catastrophe that they’ll no doubt blame on god knows who. Putin? Assad? Tulsi? Santa? Anyone but the only people who can possibly make Trump a two term president, themselves.
I may very well be a conspiracy nut, dearest motherfuckers. Guilty as charged. But I pale in comparison to my own fucking government and at least I can admit I don’t have all the answers. The truth really is out there. In more ways than one. Keep digging and you might just find it.