Conspiracy theories and beyond
The Democratic and Republican parties have made presumptive nominations of their presidential candidates, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Both are among the least popular candidates in the history of US presidential elections. While many Americans think Clinton is least trustworthy, and a hawkish representative of Washington and the Wall Street, they think Trump is a bully, racist, inexperienced, unpredictable, and least presidential. Then again, thanks to multiple conspiracy theories about the two candidates, their mutual relationship, and about the nomination and election process, Americans and people across the world are sceptical, puzzled, worried, and uncertain about the next presidential election and its short- and long-term effects on global peace and order.
Conspiracy theories proliferate and become viral in no time. And sections of the population – even in the most developed countries like the US – believe in such theories, which sometimes sound much more rational and convincing than the truth. We have come across several wild conspiracy theories, including one on the "hidden understanding" between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. According to this theory, Clinton and Trump are fused in a single entity that represents the Wall Street and the Military Industrial Complex in America. Hence, their joint-venture to defeat the maverick "socialist" Bernie Sanders, who's against Big Money and the Military Industrial Complex.
The way the Democratic Party had declared Clinton to be the presumptive nominee of the Party, day before the last primaries in six states were held on Tuesday, June 7, many Sanders supporters believe their candidate was ignored, marginalised, and humiliated. Sanders simply didn't get what he asked for from his Party, i.e. for the sake of a fair and winnable election; let the superdelegates' votes be counted only after the primaries are over, at the Democratic Party Convention in July. The least expected declaration of Clinton as the presumptive nominee before the last primaries gives the impression that the whole thing was premeditated and rigged, a by-product of a secret plan to nominate Clinton at the eleventh hour, without yielding to Sanders' demand to process the nomination at the Democratic Convention. One may, however, call it a conspiracy against Bernie Sanders, too.
The Democratic Party bosses' insensitive decision to declare Hillary Clinton as the presumptive nominee – because of her scoring higher number of votes, delegates, and super delegates than those by Bernie Sanders – before the Democratic primaries in California, New Mexico, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, and New Jersey ruined whatever prospects Sanders had to gain more votes and delegates to influence the superdelegates to get nominated as the prospective Democratic nominee for the election. Many prospective Sanders voters are likely to abstain from going to the polls. As one New York Times columnist has observed, passionate Bernie Sanders supporters "awoke enraged on Tuesday [June 7] after learning that his slim hopes for winning the Democratic presidential nomination had been effectively dashed as a batch of superdelegates revealed their support for Hillary Clinton". An editorial of the same daily has also pointed out: Clinton "needs to convince Sanders followers that she won fairly".
The Republican camp also witnessed some dramatic moments since Trump's becoming the presumptive nominee. On Friday, June 3, three days before the primaries on June 7, Donald Trump in an interview with CNN repeated his racially charged accusations (which he first brought up at a Republican rally in late May) against US-born Judge Gonzalo Curiel, who is overseeing lawsuits against Trump University in San Diego. Trump repeatedly said the judge being a "Mexican", couldn't render unbiased decisions in the lawsuits, as he (Trump) wanted to build a wall across the US-Mexico border to stop the influx of illegal Mexicans into America. Almost the entire Republican Party leadership, including Speaker Paul Ryan and the Senate Leader Lindsay Graham, condemned Trump's judge-comment racist and "un-American".
Despite Trump's public denial that his comment wasn't racist at all, he knows it was blatantly racist, and he used racist slur on purpose. According to another streak of conspiracy theory, Trump played the race card to jeopardise his own election prospects. This theory implies he's actually not interested in winning the election; he is after ruining the Republican Party; and his "hidden agenda" is all about electing Hillary Clinton as the president. After all, she and her husband are old family friends, and he has better prospects of making more money having another Clinton in the White House!
Now, can anyone do anything about any conspiracy theory that is in circulation for decades? There are people who believe in multiple conspiracy theories about President Kennedy's assassination. There are people in America – even in Neil Armstrong's neighbourhood – who don't believe the astronaut and his colleagues ever stepped on the moon. And we know about quite a few conspiracy theories about 9/11 and the killing of Osama bin Laden. I don't have any solution – or intention – of debunking any of these conspiracy theories. However, what lies beyond the conspiracy theories is very discomforting for peace loving people, within and beyond America.
Now, the American voters seem to have a difficult choice, between the Devil and the Deep Sea! While Trump would be most unpredictable like a bull in a china shop, but is least likely to get elected. As one recalls her whole-hearted support for Iraq Invasion in 2003, Clinton, the likely winner could blindly follow George W. Bush's disastrous foreign policy. As Obama's Secretary of State, she was instrumental in the overthrow of multiple Arab regimes, including the brutal killing of President Qaddafi, and the destruction of Syria by engineering a civil war in the country with the help of Islamist terror groups. Last but not least, one has reasons to worry about what she publicly stated she would do if elected to the presidency: "If I'm President, we will attack Iran…we would be able to totally obliterate them" – with nuclear weapons, one wonders!
Contrary to what Sanders untiringly campaigned for during the last one year, Clinton is likely to lend unconditional support to the Wall Street, Israeli, and the Military Industrial lobbies; and she's likely to drag America and her allies into protracted wars in distant lands, for the benefit of the Military Industrial Lobby and others who benefit from long-drawn-out wars. One is not sure how effective would be the opposition of Bernie Sanders' supporters, who are opposed to the manipulative Wall Street, and other beneficiaries of wars and invasions of countries who pose no threat to America.
The writer teaches security studies at Austin Peay State University in the US. He is the author of several books, including his latest, Global Jihad and America: The Hundred-Year War Beyond Iraq and Afghanistan (Sage, 2014). Email: firstname.lastname@example.org