Watching the ascension of Donald Trump from side-show jester to political front-runner to, eventually and astonishingly, could-be president has been jaw-dropping. Most of us in the media dismissed his "campaign" if you can call it that, from the beginning, assuming that at the first real road block he'd bow out disgracefully like he's done many times before. Or that the finely-tuned machinery of the Republican party juggernaut would grind him down and push him out, choosing a lesser evil to represent them at the polls in November. But here we are and there he is, waving his tiny hands around and squawking mercilessly about walls and tacos and America and whatever else happens to pop into his yellow wig when he's standing on a stage. His words and more importantly, his actions (dramatic under-spending in key states ahead of the election, alienating large swaths of the voting population, his wife's bonkers plagiarism) are so out-of-this-world that it's still hard to believe any of this is real. In fact, one of the greatest off-shoots of Trump's rise to the top are all the ways in which people postulate that it really isn't real.I love a good conspiracy and any one of the theories about Trump would be enough to satisfy my tinfoil hat, but there are just so many plausible and wonderfully wacky stories it's hard to actually pick a favourite. So here's a round-up of the best and worst conspiracies floating around about Republican Presidential candidate, Tronald Dump.
He's Building a Media Empire with Roger 'Boom Boom' Ailes
After Trump pulled a very late-in-the-game campaign switcheroo last week and hired former Breitbart News head Stephen Bannon to chair his campaign, rumours started to emerge about a possible new exit strategy for The Donald. These rumours caught a match after it was announced that former Fox News boss and alleged perv Roger Ailes would play an advisory role in the campaign. What could possibly be a bigger get than the head of state job Trump's been supposedly gunning for for months? How about a super right-wing media conglomerate that would make Fox News look like a really long episode of The Rachel Maddow Show? As far as conspiracies go this one seems less like a weird Reddit thread and more like a legitimate and plausible exit plan for a guy who has virtually no chance of actually winning the presidency. Expect to witness the launch of Biff Tannen WorldWide Media sometime in 2017.
He's Running a False Flag Campaign for Hillary
This is the longest-running theory about Trump's campaign and a favourite amongst bloggers of every political stripe. It's also my least favourite conspiracy because it's so unimaginative and positions Trump as something of a martyr which I will never buy. But it has legs. Trump has a long history with both Bill and Hillary Clinton and has donated to the latter's previous political campaigns. There are lots of photos of them online looking like jovial old pals with all the requisite back slapping and cheek-kissing you'd expect from two cronies in on a dirty secret. Frankly, I think it does Clinton a disservice to suggest that the only way she'd lose to someone like Trump is if he were purposely blowing it.
He's Got Actual Brain Damage or Early-Onset Dementia
This "theory" actually has a surprising amount of mainstream pick up for a conspiracy. After conservative writer Kathleen Parker wrote a pointed op-ed for the Washington Post called "After a brain injury, I suddenly displayed some behavior similar to Donald Trump's," outlets like Huffington Post picked up on her comments and started to ask if the Donald's outlandish comments could actually be attributed to brain damage. In her piece Parker talks about a brain injury that left her in a "vague state for months." She compared her actions in the months following the trauma to symptoms of early onset Alzheimer's or dementia, and held up a mirror to Trump's own bombastic, bizarre behaviour. But according to Trump's own doctor, he promises his patient would be the "healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency" and has never had any form of cancer or even major surgery.
He Ran as a Hilarious Gag and It's Too Late to Say, "JK"
Everyone had a good time laughing at Trump's run in 2015. As he'd done in previous campaigns, most people expected him to create a spectacle for, I dunno, ratings, attention, publicity, and then step down when it was clear the joke was over. But this time the political landscape had changed. Two terms of a black president has fueled the racist flames of angry white America and Trump's lunacy has found a natural home amongst alienated Tea Partiers and other fringe zealots who rarely find themselves with this kind of political clout. What may have started as a joke has become all too real and now, whoops, the joke's on us. Is this a conspiracy theory or is it just the sad political reality in 2016?
He's a Democratic Insurgent Sent from the Past to Destroy the Republican Party
We've all seen this meme so many times, I'm starting to think it was born out of our collective unconscious.
And despite this fake People Magazine quote having been debunked up and down the internet, it continues to live on in Tumblr reposts and won't stop showing up on your zany uncle's Facebook page. This theory is like an amalgam of the False Flag and joke conspiracies. It lets us believe that no one could actually be this racist or sexist or stupid. I'm sad to say I'm more apt to believe he has a giant brain tumour slowing consuming his frontal lobe than this.
I love this one. What is more human, more relatable, more classic scammer than good ol' fashioned revenge? This conspiracy suggests that after years of being mocked, derided, and pushed to the outside of the political mainstream by both Republicans and Democrats, Trump concocted a brilliant plan to expose Washington for the incestuous garbage pit it really is. To show everyone that the not only does the Emperor have no clothes, but he ALSO has a small dick. It's Machievellian in both its design and execution and suggests an unmatched mastermind at its core. Unfortunately, that's also why it's the least likely given everything I just said. But damn is it fun to imagine.
He's a Russian Operative
In terms of sheer Google-ability this is the second most popular conspiracy after the False Flag. It's not even talked about in whispers and hushed tones, a shit ton of media outlets have just straight-up asked, Is Donald Trump a Russian operative? Trump's former campaign chief Paul Manafort's ties to Putin are thoroughly documented and some of The Donald's own words seem puppeted by Putin himself. And Trump's daughter and soul mate Ivanka Trump was recently spotted on vacation with Putin's girlfriend Wendi Deng. At this point, this theory is almost out of the running for conspiracy and just a straight up fact. And yuuuuuge, if true.
He's the Zodiac Killer
Psych, that's Ted Cruz.
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