August 4, 2018

At The Washington Post, a poli sci professor named Paul Musgrave writes:

Conspiracy theories are for losers. QAnon is no exception.

In the 2014 book “American Conspiracy Theories,” political scientists Joseph Uscinski and Joseph Parent said that conspiracy theories appealed to the powerless as a way to explain their defeats. In a democracy that regularly gave losers a chance to gain power, however, the winning side would abandon conspiracy beliefs when they gained power. In short, Uscinski and Parent wrote: “Conspiracy theories are for losers.”

How to explain, then, why so many Trump supporters — who are backing the winning team — have embraced this type of thinking?

... The popularity and prominence of the Q phenomenon doesn’t seem to fit with the conspiracies-are-for-losers argument. As Washington Post reporter David Weigel tweeted, “Can anyone recall another time when there was more conspiracy-mongering by supporters of the party in power than the party out of power?”

... QAnon’s appeal derives from the mix of online communities’ proclivity for extremism, political polarization, real-world child-abuse scandals and the inability of the Trump administration to enact the policies it promised its most extreme supporters.

... The final ingredient is that, despite his bombast, Trump has often failed to deliver for his most zealous supporters. Trade wars are neither good nor easy to win. There is no wall, and Mexico isn’t paying for it. Obamacare hasn’t been repealed.

Yes, but Trump support believe that things are going very well in America. According to the latest Economist/YouGov poll, 76% of Republicans and 80% of Trump voters think the country is on the right track. They're happy. They don't think Trump has failed to deliver.

If they feel a sense of failure, it's for one reason: We still exist. They genuinely believe that Trump is an extraordinarily capable and successful president, but they feel besieged because America, despite being Great Again, still hasn't been purged of its left-leaning vermin.

Even before Trump, this was a common sentiment on the right:

They want us banished, even from parts of America they'll never visit. That has happened yet, so they still feel they're losing.

They've long believed that we control the media and education and popular culture. Now they believe we control the FBI and the CIA. They can't bear to coexist with us -- they can't listen to country music while we listen to rap, or watch Fox while we watch CNN or MSNBC -- because they want all traces of us eliminated. Trump is great, but he still isn't great enough to have accomplished that -- unless Q is right and he actually will accomplish that very, very soon.

That's why they need a conspiracy theory -- because sharing a country with us is intolerable.

Originally published at No More Mr. Nice Blog

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