Conspiracies are an easy way to explain why you lost. “They’re all against me” allows you to justify in your mind why no one agrees with you — it clearly can’t be because you’re wrong. It can only because of that vast conspiracy.
We see this with all crazy conspiracy nuts, both liberal and conservative. But usually it’s just a small minority on either side — people who probably should be taking medication for their delusions.
But lately, I’m seeing it from otherwise rational people, and especially among conservatives. “We have all these scandals involving Hillary Clinton — whitewater, Benghazi, emails, fixing elections — and none of them stick. Clearly, there is a vast left-wing conspiracy by the media to cover all this up!”
Or maybe those “scandals” only exist in your head.
The GOP has spent literally years and millions of dollars digging up and investigating anything they can to bring down Hillary — and have come up empty. They grab hold of any minor little statement and try to blow it up into something it isn’t, and when that doesn’t work, instead of saying “Guess we were wrong” they get all paranoid.
Usually that kind of thinking is only found in the “lizard people control our government, wake up sheeple” nuts. The right-wing news media keeps this alive though, legitimizing it, turning it mainstream. And it is hurting our democracy.
Part of it is also explained by a general tendency on the right to lack empathy toward anyone who doesn’t think like them. Remember in the last election when the GOP was shocked that Romney lost, despite every poll showing Obama would win? “But everyone I know voted for Romney!” many actually said. The inability to consider that the other side may have some good points leads you to this kind of thinking. (Not that there aren’t Democrats who do the same thing, but certainly not to the level we see on the right.)
Now their Presidential candidate is saying everything is rigged, because he can’t explain otherwise why he is losing. I blame the lizard people.
Let’s be fair. It’s not only the GOP.
There were plenty of Bernie supporters proclaiming loudly that the elections were rigged and that’s why their candidate didn’t win. And I am not aware that there is any more evidence to support their assertions than those of the GOP.
And on the empathy thing as well … leaving aside the political naivete that failed to assess how friendly the opposition had been to Bernie during the primary season while loudly proclaiming about how much better he was polling against Trump than Hillary was, there was a huge comprehension gap going on here too. “But everyone I know supported Romney” is exactly the same as “But everyone I know supports Bernie” — and that might be true for an individual. However, it doesn’t reflect the fact that if Bernie can’t take the primary against a candidate slightly to the right of him, then it’s really hard to make an argument that he could successfully take more votes than HRC from the people who generally support the *party* that’s even further to the right in the general election. This ignorance of (lack of empathy for) the fact that there were a large number of people in a whole other party that would have a candidate in the general election that didn’t particularly love Bernie was a real blind spot among a segment of Bernie supporters.
Don’t get me wrong — although I did not support Bernie in the primaries, I am glad he ran and I think he made a very positive contribution to both the platform and the awareness of the level of frustration across certain demographics of the electorate. Nonetheless, there was plenty of lizard people philospophy in the Bernie camp as well.
I agree (mostly) and if you do a search here for Bernie Sanders, you’ll find plenty of blog posts where I called out the Bernie Bots for the same thing (and I was a Bernie supporter).
I think that if Bernie had gotten the nod, he would have attracted more support than Hillary. The Hillary people would never support Trump, so you’d have her basic support plus the enthusiastic support Bernie had.
On the other hand, he was not as tested as Hillary, and there would be just as many ridiculous attacks on him as there are on Hillary — but at least there wouldn’t be 30 years worth of them.