The one con­spir­acy the­ory that Repub­li­cans won’t be­lieve

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - OPINION - Cather­ine Rampell Columnist Cather­ine Rampell

The Party of Trump has proved it­self keen to prop­a­gate any con­spir­acy the­ory, no mat­ter how ridicu­lous or racist.

Well, al­most any con­spir­acy the­ory.

There were the mi­crowave ovens that surveil your ev­ery move. There were those fake jobs num­bers, crafted to make Pres­i­dent Barack Obama look good (though to­day, oddly, those same jobs num­bers some­how make Obama look bad, ac­cord­ing to Repub­li­cans). There were autism-caus­ing vac­cines, 3 mil­lion il­le­gal votes, al­leged mur­ders, a pizza-parlor child-sex-slav­ery ring, the con­vo­luted non­sense of QAnon.

Then Fri­day, Trump­kins re­vived a con­spir­acy the­ory that long pre­dates our cur­rent pres­i­dent and has re­mained pop­u­lar with far-right po­lit­i­cal regimes around the world: that of the International Jew.

Thou­sands of protesters had shown up to voice their anger over Brett Ka­vanaugh’s im­mi­nent as­cen­sion to the coun­try’s high­est court. They were, un­der­stand­ably, mad about Ka­vanaugh’s record — on re­pro­duc­tive rights, cam­paign fi­nance, ex­ec­u­tive power and other key pol­icy con­cerns.

But per­haps most of all, they were mad at the Repub­li­can Party.

De­spite all this, Repub­li­can lead­er­ship some­how couldn’t fathom why le­gions of Amer­i­cans might be gen­uinely, griev­ously up­set. In­stead, sev­eral Repub­li­cans sug­gested, all those Ka­vanaugh protesters — just like those phony Women’s Marchers last year — must be merce­nar­ies. That is, they were only pre­tend­ing to be mad, be­cause they were be­ing paid to be mad.

Not merely paid: paid by an evil, rich, for­eign-born Jew.

The protesters who con­fronted a sen­a­tor in an el­e­va­tor were “Paid for by Soros and oth­ers,” Pres­i­dent Trump tweeted, in a ref­er­ence to Hun­gar­i­an­born Amer­i­can Jewish bil­lion­aire and lib­eral phi­lan­thropist George Soros.

Trump’s tweet echoed a com­ment from Se­nate Ju­di­ciary Com­mit­tee Chair­man Charles E. Grass­ley, R-Iowa, who told a Fox Busi­ness Net­work host that he thought the protesters were prob­a­bly paid by Soros.

Trump’s per­sonal at­tor­ney Ru­dolph? Gi­u­liani am­pli­fied the con­spir­acy the­ory, retweet­ing a com­ment call­ing Soros “the anti-Christ” and urg­ing that his as­sets be frozen. In any other pres­i­dency, such a dog whis­tle might have pierced news cov­er­age for weeks. In­stead, Repub­li­cans’ anti-Semitic con­spir­a­cythe­o­riz­ing dom­i­nated head­lines for barely a day.

And in fair­ness, why should such big­otry shock any­one at this point? De­spite the Jewish faith of his daugh­ter and son-in­law, Trump has sug­gested that a horde of torch-tot­ing neo-Nazis in­cluded some “very fine peo­ple.” He tweeted an anti-Semitic meme dur­ing the 2016 cam­paign and closed it with a TV ad pair­ing images of fa­mous Jews (in­clud­ing Soros) with a pledge to de­stroy the “global power struc­ture.”

More­over, Trump launched his po­lit­i­cal ca­reer with a big­oted con­spir­acy the­ory: that our first black pres­i­dent was se­cretly born in Kenya and was there­fore il­le­git­i­mate. One puz­zle re­mains, how­ever. De­spite Repub­li­cans’ will­ful credulity over Soros and mi­crowaves, the one con­spir­acy the­ory they dis­miss out­right is the one we ac­tu­ally do have mount­ing ev­i­dence for: the con­spir­acy against the United States led by the Rus­sia gov­ern­ment, pos­si­bly with the Trump cam­paign’s con­sent.

And no num­ber of pre­vi­ously undis­closed con­tacts be­tween Trump of­fi­cials and Rus­sian op­er­a­tives, emails from Don­ald Trump Jr. or spe­cial-coun­sel in­dict­ments could con­vince the party faith­ful oth­er­wise.

For his part, Rus­sian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin says Repub­li­cans are right to be skep­ti­cal. Whom has he blamed in­stead for U.S. election med­dling?

Why, the Jews, of course.

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