During my debates with Republicans, one of the biggest obstacles I deal with isn’t the ideological differences between progressives and conservatives, it’s that the majority of conservatives I deal with don’t believe in facts. Though it’s not just that many of them don’t believe in facts, it’s that they often buy into completely insane conspiracies in their desperate attempts to justify the lies they want to believe are true.
Simple logic would dictate that if you’re constantly having to buy into conspiracy theories to support your “side,” at some point you might begin to question whether or not you’re on the right “side” to begin with. Especially when so many of these conspiracies never actually come true or have been soundly debunked.
So I thought I’d run through a few of these conspiracies (or ridiculous talking points) Republicans have claimed were true/would happen — but weren’t, and never did.
1. Barack Obama’s a Muslim who faked his birth certificate: To this day, millions of Republicans still believe he faked both forms of his birth certificate and isn’t an American citizen, while even more believe that he’s actually a Muslim. They continue to believe this even though both of these conspiracies have been soundly debunked for years.
2. Hillary Clinton sold uranium to Russia as Secretary of State: No, she didn’t. First, the United States didn’t “sell” uranium to Russia. What happened was Russia bought Toronto-based company Uranium One, which had mines, mills, and tracts of land in Wyoming, Utah, and other states that equaled around 20 percent of our country’s uranium production capacity.
However, as Politifact pointed out, seeing as Russia can’t export Uranium out of the United States, what they were likely most interested in were assets in Kazakhstan.
Uranium is a strategic asset linked to national security so the United States had to sign off on the deal. A deal that included nine different government agencies, and ultimately required final approval by President Obama. So not only did the United States not sell uranium to Russia, but the State Department was just one of several government agencies that had to sign off on this deal.
3. Jade Helm: While I doubt many still believe this is true, a couple of years ago, there were quite a few Republicans who actually did think the military exercise known as Jade Helm was a secret ploy by the Obama administration to declare martial law and confiscate guns. This unhinged paranoia actually led to Texas Governor Greg Abbott ordering the state’s national guard to monitor the U.S. military. There was even an incident in Mississippi where people opened fired on military personnel.
And, of course, it ultimately turned out to be exactly what the Obama administration and those of us who are sane said it was: A military exercise.
4. Same-sex marriage would erode family values, bring about God’s wrath, and ruin the sanctity of marriage: Okay, so this isn’t technically a conspiracy, per se, but I think it’s close. These were (and still are for some) many of the arguments quite a few Republicans used to oppose the legalization of same-sex marriage. Well, about two years later, literally none of that’s happened. In fact, I’m willing to bet that for 99.99 percent of the people who oppose same-sex marriage, they can’t name a single negative impact its legalization has had on their lives.
Unless, of course, they’re part of the “persecuted Christian bakeries” all across the country.
5. Obama’s master plan to confiscate guns: Before he even took office, the GOP and NRA went full-on in pushing the idea that, at any moment, President Obama was going to confiscate everyone’s guns. Year after year they pushed this preposterous nonsense without a shred of proof to back it up. And, like the mindless sheep many of them are, whenever they pushed these conspiracies, gun fanatics all over the country would rush out, often breaking records, stockpiling guns and ammunition before “Obama could get them.”
Well, after eight years, Barack Obama didn’t confiscate anyone’s guns.
6. The Clinton Foundation is some massive pay-for-play international crime syndicate: Actually it’s an A-rated charity that spends roughly 88 percent of all the money it raises on charitable causes and has fully disclosed its financials publicly. Oh, and none of the Clintons have ever taken a salary from their foundation. So, no, they haven’t “gotten rich” by siphoning money from the charity.
7. The only reason why Clinton won the popular vote over Trump is because millions of people voted illegally: Sadly, despite the fact that there’s absolutely no evidence to support this idiocy, and many members of his own party have practically called this conspiracy pure bullshit, over half of Trump’s supporters actually believe “millions of people voted illegally.”
Like I said at the beginning of this article, to confirm the delusions they want to be real, many Republicans buy into asinine conspiracies so they don’t have to face the reality that what they believe isn’t true.
The indisputable fact is that Clinton received 3 million more votes than Trump did, not because “millions of people voted illegally,” but because more people voted for her — end of story.
8. Seth Rich, the DNC staffer who was murdered last year, gave emails to WikiLeaks: You can chalk the recent attention this soundly-debunked conspiracy has gotten to Fox News’ Sean Hannity’s desperate attempt to distract people from how incredibly terrible Donald Trump is. The biggest problem to all of this is, aside from how deplorable it is for anyone to exploit someone’s death, Hannity’s ramblings have been based on claims made by a private investigator named Rod Wheeler. Someone who, a day after claiming to have evidence to support the conspiracy, admitted that he lied.
However, despite Wheeler admitting that he made this up, that didn’t stop Hannity, and many others within the conservative media, from continuing to push this unfounded nonsense.
9. The Benghazi conspiracies: There’s several of these, so I’ll just run through them:
- No, there was no “stand-down” order given by either President Obama or Hillary Clinton.
- Hillary Clinton didn’t sleep through the attack — it happened mid-afternoon in Washington and Clinton was wide awake.
- No, Clinton didn’t refuse to call it a “terrorist attack,” nor did the Obama administration spend weeks claiming it was all caused by a video.
- According to most experts, no, the attack couldn’t have likely been prevented, no matter what Obama, Clinton, or even Congress would have done.
And if you don’t believe me, just ask the family of the late Ambassador Chris Stevens who’ve called-out Republicans for lying and politicizing the attack.
10. Illegal immigrants, most of whom are criminals, are pouring across our borders in record numbers — including members of ISIS — which is why we need to build a wall: Like the Benghazi nonsense, there are a few facts here that Republicans refuse to believe are true:
- Net immigration from Mexico has essentially been zero since 2009.
- Obama deported more illegal immigrants than any president in history.
- There’s absolutely no evidence ISIS, or any Islamic terrorists, have crossed the southern border.
- Building a border wall will have little to no impact on illegal immigration.
- Most illegal immigrants aren’t criminals and actually commit crime at a lower rate than U.S. citizens.
Sorry, Republicans, those are the facts even if you all don’t want to believe any of them.
Clearly I could have made this list longer, but I’ll end it there.
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