After Trump won the election, one of the (many) questions that flashed through my mind was: "What the fuck is Alex Jones going to do now?" His entire shtick depends on him being the "enemy" of the government. But Trump is a good buddy of his and if the shape-changing lizard people and weather controlling helicopters are real, Trump would expose the truth. But since everything Alex Jones says is pure bullshit designed to prey upon the abject stupidity of his audience, what's a professional conman to do?
The answer is "The Deep State," a shadowy gathering of corporate, military and political elites that secretly control the government. Think The Illuminati but with less robes and virgin sacrifices. These are supposed to be the people behind the nonstop leaks from the intelligence community and they're behind the 100% made up (Alex Jones has the proof!) Russia story.
Normally, who gives a damn what Alex Jones and his rancid collection of con artists like Jerome Corsi of swiftboat fame and drooling inbreds like Dan Bidondi think? But with the tinfoil hat wearing Trump in the Oval Office looking for imaginary wiretaps and bleating out evidence-free conspiracies, it's become a serious problem. The hard right is, of course, eating it up because they need an enemy at all times; but instead of just appealing to the terminally ignorant, Jones' nonsense is now permeating a conservative movement desperately looking for any excuse to avoid admitting Trump was a disastrous mistake.
True to the right's inability to take any kind of personal responsibility, the phrase "Deep State" is cropping up more and more often when discussing Trump's bumbling failures and rapidly growing Russia problem:
Alex Jones and Infowars reporters Lee Ann McAdoo and Millie Weaver talk with Trump insider Roger Stone and former CIA and black ops commander Steve Pieczenik about the deep state coup against Donald Trump.
Stephen K. Bannon, the White House chief strategist who once ran Breitbart, has spoken with Trump at length about his view that the “deep state” is a direct threat to his presidency.
"The president just has a great nose for these things," the official said. "It's the bureaucratic leaks — the deep state — that bother him most. Even if it turns out not to be true that they surveilled Trump Tower, he will have a very good point to make about the level of sabotage coming from Obama holdovers."
If you've been paying attention to the anti-Hillary faction of the far left, you will be utterly unsurprised to learn they espouse the exact same nonsense:
What is the Deep State? It's a hybrid network of structures within which actual power resides. It includes the military-industrial complex, Wall Street, hordes of private contractors whose sole client is the government, national security agencies, select (not all) members of the State, Defense, CIA, Homeland Security, a few key members of the Congressional Defense and Intelligence Committees, and so on.
A common thread between the two allegedly opposed ideological camps is that both the hard right and the hard left despise the American government and want to see it dissolved. To that end, they're both trying to run interference for Trump because he's the best chance they'll ever have to break the back of American democracy and bring about its long-anticipated collapse. Another common thread is that both groups imagine that they'll be insulated from the massive civil unrest and widespread violence that would result from said collapse. But millions of other people's lives being thrown into the wood chipper is a small price to destroy the Great Satan.
And so they've taken the imaginary "Deep State" and started to conflate it with the institutional resistance Trump is facing in Washington. That's a problem because that's what the less insane part of the right wing is grabbing onto and it's fostering an even deeper distrust of the government.
It's the ultimate expression of confirmation bias. A majority of the Republican Party held its nose and voted for Trump. They assumed the GOP would rein him in and they could just get along for a few years without much trouble. But Trump is controlled by Steve Bannon and only barely so. The rest of the time has been a humiliating display of ignorance, dishonesty and pure incompetence. Rather than face this, Republican voters are looking to blame anyone but themselves and Trump, making the "Deep State" a very attractive alternative.
But our institutions were designed to resist autocratic rule and they're doing more or less what they're supposed to do. The press is digging into Trump's scandals. Our intelligence community is refusing to bury evidence of collusion with a hostile foreign power. The FBI, after throwing the election to Trump, is making an unusually forceful effort to avoid being seen as compromised. The Democrats in Congress are raising the alarm that this is not normal. Even Republicans in Congress are slowly, oh so slowly, starting to acknowledge that something is seriously rotten in Trump's administration.
In normal circumstances, we should be happy our system is not immediately caving in to Trump's obvious desire to run America the same way Putin runs Russia. Yet the ability of our body politic to fight off the infection of corrupt autocracy (so far) is infuriating conservative Trump voters and this Deep State nonsense makes it look like a grand conspiracy. This leads to further damage in the foundations of our democracy, making us even more vulnerable to future tampering by outside powers. And while this is great for advancing the nihilistic dreams of total collapse the hard left and hard right cling to, it's bad news for the rest of us, including the rank and file conservative voter.
As long as the right refuses to admit that Trump is a bipartisan problem that requires a bipartisan solution, all this talk about the "Deep State" is going to do nothing but tear at the fabric of our nation. If that's what gets you out of bed in the morning, by all means, keep gnashing your teeth about it. But if you want to leave your children and grandchildren a legacy that doesn't look like Mad Max: Fury Road, it's time to face some hard truths about the true source of the chaos in the White House.
There are 609 days left to the 2018 elections.
- This article kills fascists
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