A Coalition of the Unhinged
by Michael B. Keegan
Donald Trump has elevated the most bizarre and bigoted peddlers of conspiracy theories in America today.
It's no secret that Donald Trump, the GOP's all but official new standard-bearer, is a promoter of wild conspiracy theories and harmful lies -- from his smear of Mexican immigrants as rapists and drug dealers to his offensive questioning of President Obama's place of birth and religious beliefs.
But Trump's rhetoric is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the vast network of fringe figures he’s decided to associate himself with. The billionaire politician has elevated the profile of some of the most bizarre and bigoted peddlers of conspiracy theories and vitriol in America today.
He’s courted the support, for example, of far-right conspiracy theorist radio host Alex Jones. In December, Trump went on Jones' radio show, lavishing Jones with praise and promising him: “I will not let you down.”
This is a radio host who’s suggested that the U.S. government was complicit in the September 11 terrorist attacks, the Newtown school shooting rampage, and the massacre at a black church in Charleston, South Carolina. He thinks Beyoncé is part of a CIA effort to instigate racial violence and that President Obama is a “demonic creature” and a “precursor” to the Antichrist.
Jones also recently said that conservative columnist George Will, who’s been critical of Trump, should “do the right thing” and shoot himself in the head.
And this is a man Donald Trump doesn't want to let down?
Or take Michael Savage, the host of the popular right-wing radio show The Savage Nation, where Trump has appeared multiple times.
Savage has called veterans coping with PTSD “a bunch of losers” and accused President Obama of “dumping” unaccompanied migrant children into our country to “wipe out” Americans through the spread of disease. On his short-lived television show in 2003, Savage told a gay caller to “get AIDS and die, you pig.”
Trump has called Savage a “special guy” doing “an amazing job.”
And then there’s the infamous Ann Coulter.
Trump’s repeatedly invited the notoriously offensive right-wing commentator to speak at his campaign rallies, calling himself a “big fan” of hers. Unsurprisingly, Trump doesn't seem concerned by the endless stream of hateful anti-immigrant, racist, and sexist ideas Coulter has pushed throughout the years.
Coulter has warned, for example, that if the United States doesn't crack down on immigration, parents should “get used to your little girls being raped.” She’s voiced support for poll taxes, which existed to keep African Americans away from the ballot box, and isn't sure women should have the right to vote at all. Speaking about women widowed by the September 11 attacks, she said: “I have never seen people enjoying their husbands' death so much.”
Riding Trump's Coattails, an OtherWords cartoon by Khalil Bendib
In short, Trump is raising up the cruelest and most extreme voices on the right -- people who bash immigrants, demonize women and LGBT people, and spread outrageous lies about government conspiracies. And his support of these figures is entirely consistent with his own wild claims.
While these fringe figures have existed for years, they haven't always had a presidential nominee to echo and elevate their toxic rhetoric. And that should concern all of us.
Michael Keegan is the president of People For the American Way.
Distributed by OtherWords.org.
More AMERICAN POLITICS ...
- Clinton Regains Lead
- How Much Candidates Spent Per Vote
- Tim Kaine Cheat Sheet
- Mike Pence by the Numbers
- Americans Divided on Bathroom Bill
- Clinton's Stubborn 75 Percent Chance Finally Dips Following Email Revelations
- The 2016 Democratic Convention by the Numbers
- The 2016 Republican Convention by the Numbers
- Trump's Fundraising Turnaround: June Marked Best Month So Far
- Trump Captures His Largest Lead So Far in Polls
- Trump Pulls Ahead of Clinton in Key Swing States
- Donald Trump and America B
- House Sit-In Would've Been More Powerful if It Rejected 'No Fly, No Buy'
- Clinton's Foreign Policy Poses a Challenge to the Left
- Hillary Wants to Bring Back Bill. She Shouldn't
- The Real Reason Republicans Are Going after the IRS
- ISIS Must Love Trump
- Can Trump Ride the Anti-Immigration Wave to the White House?
- Trouble for Donald Trump's Campaign
- America's Most Followed Members of Congress
- Hillary Clinton's Major Foreign Policy Address Was Anything But
- Donald Trump Down in the Polls After Rough Week on the Trail
- There's No More Denying It: Trump Is Openly Racist
- Donald Trump: Joker's Wild
- After Orlando: Twitter Recoils from Islamophobia, Takes Aim at Gun Laws
- How Much Blame Should Hillary Clinton Bear for Libya?
- Countries That Receive the Most Foreign Aid From the U.S.
- Hillary Clinton Secures Democratic Nomination
- Welcome to Half Dome, Sponsored by Nike
- Companies Need to Stop Bankrolling Hate
- For Billionaire Donors, Academic Integrity Comes Cheap
- America's Cosmic Tax Gap
- Trump's 'Realty Check' on Climate
- Putin and Trump: Symptoms of Creeping Caesarism
- Obama Promised Open Government, But Hasn't Delivered Yet
- A Coalition of the Unhinged
- Putting Free Speech Out to Pasture
- The Only Sane Conclusion from Orlando
- Orlando Shooting Fuels Debate on Gun Control
- They're Killing Us. Help Us Stop Them
- A Commencement Address for the Most Indebted Class Ever
- Our Poverty Myth
- Which States Have Banned Assault Weapons?
- Government Agencies that Spend the Most
- The Government Agencies that Employ the Most People
- Odd Ways Political Campaigns Spend Their Money
- Congressional Districts with the Youngest and Oldest Voters
- Trump Nabs First Lead Against Clinton in Poll
- Bernie's Bucks: Sanders' Fundraising and Spending Prowess in 5 Charts
- Clinton Holds Razor-Thin Lead
- Doling Out the Dough for Pro-Clinton Super PACs
- States with the Most Women in Politics
- Do First Ladies Influence the Popularity of Baby Names?
- Counties Where Medicare Spends the Most per Patient
- We Live in a Democracy, Not a Theocracy
- Is Trump an American Exceptionalist?
- Sanders vs Clinton on Economic Inequality
- Big Money in Politics Drives War
- Why Clinton Supports the Trans-Pacific Partnership and Trump Does Not
"A Coalition of the Unhinged"