The Scramble: Trump's Conspiracy Theories Threaten Democracy
Donald Trump spent the recent days creating an alternate reality filled with 'global conspiracies' against him he claims are led by Hillary Clinton and the global elite. This is in response to several women who came forward last week to accuse Donald Trump of sexually harassing and/or assaulting them after a 2005 tape was released on which Trump was bragging about how easy it was for him to "grab" women as he pleased.
A politician deflecting attention away from an embarrassing scandal is nothing new. What is new is the scope of untruthful accusations against our democratic institutions that require the trust of the American people to function. Donald Trump tweeted Sunday night, "The election is absolutely being rigged by the dishonest and distorted media pushing Crooked Hillary - but also at many polling places - SAD."
The Committee to Protect Journalists declared that a Trump presidency poses a fundamental threat to press freedoms. Republican leaders and election officials are scrambling to dispel notions that the election is rigged.
In Trump’s universe, proof of truth isn’t required - things are legitimate if he’s winning, rigged if he’s losing. This kind of paranoia is not only a trademark of an authoritarian leader, but a method to build a movement. The successful leader will get his followers to share his paranoia and they feed on it together.
Donald Trump may not win this election. But he is exposing and increasing a fissure in America, where one-half of the country is breaking further away from the other-half, each side living in a different reality.
- Philip Rucker - National political correspondent for the Washington Post.
- Sarah Kendzior - Writer, researcher, critic.
- David Folkenflik - Media correspondent for NPR News and the author of Murdoch's World: The Last of the Old Media Empires
Colin McEnroe and Chion Wolf contributed to this show.