The country is acutely aware this month how messageboard culture and conspiracies drive people to hurt themselves. Now there's a board culture premised on overnight riches while also pushing true believers to lose money to stop a shadowy enemy. Your alarm bells should be blaring.
The whole point of cons is convincing the marks they're in on it. Imagine Qanon, but you can profit off the rubes' stock positions instead of just selling them YouTube ads while telling them they're part of a revolutionary movement exploiting other rubes.
"But what about [name Wall Street practice?]"

Sure, make whatever point you want about it! I'm not arguing with any of it.

But the default response to the conspiracies right now tearing up the country is: "So you think POLITICIANS and the MEDIA are honest?" It's an easy trick.
People have learned to recognize politicians using this kind of generic populist sentiment to encourage harmful behavior among supporters. If people take from politicians that they're Freedom Fighters by joining a manic speculation orgy on an app, that's on them as well.
"Qanon but for stocks" overstates it a bit because there IS an actual financial event. But there's obvious parallels right down to a charismatic anonymous leader on a board prompting followers to act on their behalf (and enriching the leader by doing it). Infinite moral hazard.

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More from @BenjySarlin

29 Jan
Read my brother’s reporting. It’s a fun populist story on the surface, but real people are going to be badly hurt who can’t afford it while the villains in their story will be just fine.
There’s an obvious fairness issue to the Robin Hood restrictions that fires people up and produces takes on the many problems in the economy. But those are abstract points being paid for with ordinary people’s money and amateur options betting is not a substitute for change.
People are glomming onto individual Reddit posts to pretend that everyone is going into the GME push out of altruism and expects to lose money. But the WSB culture is about get rich quick schemes and the house always wins on those eventually.
Read 5 tweets
15 Jan
NEW: Some Democrats in Congress are worried their colleagues might kill them…
IT HAS COME TO THIS: Traumatized lawmakers are openly worried that far right colleagues might hurt them — not rhetorically, not politically, in the literal sense of the word.

It’s important to note there’s NO evidence. But it’s a crisis in relations.…
Multiple Democrats are demanding investigations into suspicions — again, not substantiated — that members aided rioters. At least one R voiced similar fears. They’re scared of Q radicalization. And they’re terrified of getting COVID from anti-mask members.…
Read 4 tweets
13 Jan
The thing is it seems both extremely impractical and symbolically upsetting to have them there. But they need to have a real conversation about the fact members are worried their own colleagues are potential threats to their lives then.
Yeah the metal detectors are pretty far downstream from the fact members are accusing unnamed colleagues of scouting for the insurrectionists…
The repeated theme over and over today is that members are scared of their far right colleagues in a very real and physical sense, not metaphorically. This is going to be the actual unity issue moving forward.
Read 5 tweets
12 Jan
I've mentioned how there's no stated mechanism for R's who want Trump gone by 2024 to make it happen, they just kinda pass the buck.

Cheney's what that might actually look like: A wing of the GOP *explicitly* dedicated to purging his influence who can organize around that goal.
Before the party breakdown was, a large explicitly pro-Trump wing, maybe a half dozen explicitly Trump-skeptical or anti-Trump, and then a large amorphous wing that was also explicitly pro-Trump but people largely assumed they were lying.
That was not a formula for non-Trump R's to confront the fact he's the dominant figure moving forward. Unless they could name their cause and objectives, they would be continuously outflanked and bullied by pro-Trump R's. Indeed that's what happened with the EC votes.
Read 4 tweets
12 Jan
To this scenario @DouthatNYT describes: You don't even need some dramatic crack-up for R's to run aground. If the looming Trump threat keeps the 2020 D coalition together and even small percentages of Trump R's stop turning out, that alone is a huge issue.…
The most recent source of D strength is that they have an intensely engaged suburban base that also is more affluent and this powering record-breaking fundraising. For R's, it's a fired up rural/small city vote. It's close, but as of *right now*, this is a winning formula for D's
Post-2020 Gerrymandering can help R's take back House in 2022 even without making significant gains in popularity. But a Trumpier House could also accelerate the same problems that cost them the 2020 elections in WH and Senate. And no sign he's going anywhere in all of this.
Read 4 tweets
11 Jan
There's no reason to believe impeachment gets any R votes until proven otherwise, but everything D's put here closely mirrors what critical R's have said. Compare the language to Rep. Liz Cheney's (no. 3 House GOP leader) version of events below:…
And what do you know, Cheney reportedly considered a potential vote for impeachment.

Again, there's still no real reason to believe there are significant R votes for impeachment -- let alone from leadership! -- until they actually happen.
A House GOP led by two people who voted to overturn the election results after a mob assault on the Capitol AND one person who voted to impeach the president for inciting the mob with false election fraud claims seems untenable. So I'm pretty skeptical Cheney votes "yes."
Read 4 tweets

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