Discover more from Conviction by Jason Hicks
Spreading conspiracy theories about politics encourages violence and the breakdown of society
When everything is a conspiracy, you’re probably the problem (Bernie/Trump)
People on the left ask: “How can people believe Trump's BS about the election?”
Answer: The same way much of the left believes the Democratic Party rigged the primaries against Bernie (the DSA called the 2020 primaries "virtually illegitimate”).
Or how they blame everyone not accepting their favored policies or their chosen candidate on "the media.”
Has Bernie renounced his followers engaging in these conspiracy theories?
No. He said that 2016 was “rigged” against him. He's mirrored Trump’s attacks on the media, twice claiming The Washington Post gave him unfavorable coverage because he had criticized Amazon, just as Trump claimed unfair media coverage against him was due to a conspiracy, not an investigation of the facts.
Trump’s conspiracy claims of a stolen election led to the violence of January 6th by convincing people they were robbed and there was no other option. Bernie tells people that everything could be better with no trade-offs necessary: we could all have free healthcare and higher wages.
What’s stopping us?
The system. The media. It’s all rigged. Everything's against us.
So he's telling his supporters there is no constructive recourse to change the system, that persuasion and voting don't work, so how can anyone be surprised they would turn to harassment?
Bernie should consider that when you think everything is a conspiracy, you’re probably the problem.
Trump and Sanders both assert that when they lose, it’s not because people choose not to vote for them, but because something happened to prevent it. Trump’s version is fraud. Bernie’s is “the establishment” did…something.
In the 2020 primary, the media narrative was that Biden’s campaign was dead. Biden was being outspent by Bernie and by Bloomberg. Where was the “establishment”?
“One of the things I was kind of not surprised by was the power of the establishment to force Amy Klobuchar, who had worked so hard, Pete Buttigieg who had really worked extremely hard as well out of the race.”—Bernie on Super Tuesday
Did they also force people to vote for Biden in states where he had no field offices and little to no ad money?
It doesn’t make sense.
The inner logic is:
People want my policies (me),
People didn’t vote for me,
Therefore, there's a shadowy force making people vote against me.
The simple solution is that the first premise is wrong: they didn't want you.
People voted for Biden because his message was we need to beat Trump and improve our society. Amy and Pete dropped out in recognition of that.
Responding by claiming there's a magical establishment blocking progress can only encourage divisiveness and violence.
“But Bernie supporters haven't engaged in anything like January 6th.”
Correct—and until January 6th, Trump supporters hadn't either. It takes time to build up to such a significant event. If it hadn't been for Covid, there was a strong chance of a violent riot from the left at the DNC in 2020. But whatever the case is, we don't want to encourage things getting to that point.