Conspiracy theories have trickled down to the local level, including the campaign of Pa. GOP governor candidate Doug Mastriano
In general, conspiracy theories are based on the belief that individual circumstances are the result of powerful enemies actively agitating against the interests of a believing individual or group.
These particular conspiracy theories are convenient because they justify the shared white nationalist goal of establishing institutions and territory of white people, for white people and by white people. While conspiracy theories are not new, and certainly not new to politics, they spread with increasing frequency and speed because of social media.
The “great replacement theory” is one such baseless belief that is playing a role in the anti-immigration rhetoric that is central to the 2022 strategies of many Republican candidates who are running for seats at all levels of government.
That theory erroneously warns believers of the threat that immigrants and people of color pose to white identity and institutions.
The lie of the ‘Big Lie’
Aside from the inflammatory anti-immigration rhetoric, the conspiracy theory currently having the biggest impact on local, state and federal political campaigns across the country is Trump’s “Big Lie” that he won the 2020 election.
The continuation of QAnon
On his social media site Truth Social, the former president quotes and spreads conspiracy theories from the quasi-religious QAnon. A major tenet of QAnon is the belief that the Democrats and people regarded as their liberal allies are a nefarious cabal of sexual predators and pedophiles.
Trump is not the only Republican politician who welcomes and spreads such disinformation.
Democracies under threat
The blatant use of conspiracy theories for political gain reflects the open embrace of white nationalism in not only the United States but also throughout Sweden, France, Italy and other parts of the world.