The Republican Party has a high and rising number of powerful officials who have completely insane beliefs. One of those people, not heretofore identified as an open member of the party’s stark-raving-loony wing, is Representative Paul Gosar, of Arizona, who tells Elspeth Reeve of Vice News that the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville this summer was actually a false flag operation by leftists, possible including George Soros:
VICE News: In fairness, antifa is in the news because of a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville.
GOSAR: Well, isn’t that interesting. Maybe that was created by the Left.
VICE News: Why do you say that?
GOSAR: Because let’s look at the person that actually started the rally. It’s come to our attention that this is a person from Occupy Wall Street that was an Obama sympathizer. So, wait a minute, be careful where you start taking these people to.
And look at the background. George Soros is one of those people that actually helps, you know, back these individuals. Who is he? I think he’s from Hungary. I think he was Jewish. And I think he turned in his own people to the Nazis. We better be careful where we go with those.
VICE News: Do you think George Soros funded the neo-Nazis who marched in Charlottesville?
GOSAR: Wouldn’t it be interesting to find out?
Gosar is describing a right-wing conspiracy theory that circulated following the rally. The theory follows from the desire of some right-wing intellectuals to deny the links between white supremacists and the political right. Dinesh D’Souza, who is peddling a book portraying racists and segregationists as allies of liberalism, insisted after Charlottesville, “the whole rally may have been staged to feed the mainstream media’s big lie that racism & fascism are on the right.”
Conspiratorial thinking has always had an important place in conservative movement politics. Some conspiracy theories (like climate-science denial) have become party dogma. Others lurk around the margins until some leading Republican is dumb enough to espouse them on camera.
Republicans used to deny that this craziness played an important role in their party, until Donald Trump came along and made that denial impossible to sustain. Trump, a vaccine skeptic and Alex Jones fan, has become the face of Republican paranoia. But after Trump is gone, there will be plenty of crazies left to carry on the tradition.