Since the release of the Access Hollywood tape last week, Donald Trump now finds himself in the “Cosby Effect” – victims coming forward and reporting their assaults sometimes decades after they happened.
Some of these cases have previously been reported, but now that women are coming forward it may encourage others who were too intimidated to speak out to also come forward. There is no telling how many women may come forward. NPR has compiled a list of claims to date. A List Of The Accusations About Trump’s Alleged Inappropriate Sexual Conduct. The list is almost certain to grow.
None of us are in a position to judge whether these claims are verifiable or not, but the media is going to publish each and every one, just as they did in Bill Cosby’s case. The sheer number of claims being tried by the media will create a public perception that the claims are true — especially when Trump has a well-documented record of making comments that lend credibility to the claims.
Donald Trump crawled out of the fever swamps of the right-wing conspiracy theory subculture with his Birtherism. His campaign is being run by Breitbart, and he has advisers and supporters from World Net Daily, Info Wars, and other conspiracy mongers. Many of his campaign themes come from this fever swamp.
So it should come as no surprise to anyone today that Donald Trump unleashed a grand theory of conspiracy: “The whole world is conspiring against me!” Trump says groping allegations are part of a global conspiracy to help Clinton:
Donald Trump issued a breathtaking call to arms Thursday as he emphatically denied allegations that he groped and kissed multiple women without their consent, charging that his accusers were part of a global conspiracy to extinguish his outsider movement.
Scrambling to turn around his floundering campaign, Trump declared war on the media and multinational corporations, alleging they are colluding with Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton to orchestrate “the single greatest pile-on in history” and undermine his campaign, which he said was an “existential threat” to the global establishment.
“The Clinton machine is at the center of this power structure,” the Republican nominee said at a rally in West Palm Beach, Fla. “Anyone who challenges their control is deemed a sexist, a racist, a xenophobe and morally deformed. They will attack you. They will slander you. They will seek to destroy your career and your family. . . . They will lie, lie, lie.
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Trump’s remarks, which he read from teleprompters, were laced with the kind of global conspiracies and invective common in the writings of the alt-right, white-nationalist activists who see him as their champion. Some critics also heard echoes of historical anti-Semitic slurs in Trump’s allegations that Clinton “meets in secret with international banks to plot the destruction of U.S. sovereignty” and that media and financial elites were part of a soulless cabal to destroy “our great civilization.”
“It’s a global power structure that is responsible for the economic decisions that have robbed our working class, stripped our country of its wealth and put that money into the pockets of a handful of large corporations and political entities,” Trump said.
The speech bore the imprint of Stephen K. Bannon, the Trump campaign’s chief executive, who until recently was the executive chairman of Breitbart, a conservative website that serves as the virtual town square of the alt-right movement.
This is a derivative of the New World Order conspiracy theory that has lived in the right-wing fever swamps for years. Remember the Trilateral Commission? The Bilderberg Group?
It has its roots in the much older international Jewish conspiracy. Josh Marshall at Talking Points Memo explains. Nationalism Into the Abyss:
Is it desperation? The themes and instincts of the anti-Semitic radicals and extremists his campaign stews in? A “global conspiracy” of the political elites, international finance and the media who have “robbed our working class, stripped our country of its wealth and put the money in the pockets of a handful of large corporations and political entities.”
Trump is thinking or means, the white nationalists and neo-Nazis he’s activated will hear his speech with glee because he’s channeling text book anti-Semitic conspiracy theories, with all the code words and emotional tenor. I genuinely don’t know how much of this he even understands or cares about. But his rage and anger is in tune with these movements. And he’ll cast about for the most coherent and resonant storyline that captures it. It doesn’t matter what he thinks. It matters what he does.
It’s possible these are simply the tropes and storylines of international Jewish conspiracies repurposed with the Jews removed from the picture. But it hardly matters. The substrate of traditional anti-Semitism is just as toxic as what grows from it. These are the kinds of conspiratorial, revanchist fantasies that spur violence and attacks on the mundane ordinariness of democracy itself.