My latest from @NBCNewsTHINK

Over the weekend, I talked about how conspiracy theories have deep roots in American conservative history.

I should have included a definition of "conspiracy theories."

A conspiracy theory is "a belief that some covert but influential organization is responsible for a circumstance or event."

They have deep roots our history. . .

A famous example was blood libel in the middle ages:…

It's a lie, but a particular kind of lie.

Another was Hitler's "Jews stabbed us in the back" explanation for why Germany lost the war.

Here I show that Mike Lindell didn't spring out of nowhere.

The Republican base has long been primed for conspiracy theorists like Mike Lindell.

If you prefer an edited transcript, it's here:…


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More from @Teri_Kanefield

9 Jun
For people asking me about Merrick Garland's decision in the defamation case, I'll refer you to this article by

This is a defamation case.

The legal question is whether Trump made the statement in the scope of his employment

In other words, this case isn't about the rape itself (except that truth is a defense to libel)

I suspect that the issue will be appealed, and the appellate court will decide whether it agrees that the defamatory statements were uttered in the scope of Trump's employment.

The legal issue, from the government's brief:…

This is how the DOJ would answer a lot of the questions I'm getting.

It's easy to check the DOJ's legal reasoning.

Read 20 tweets
8 Jun
You can start with my list and build from there:

The most important thing you can do is get involved in local politics. I live in a blue city in a blue state, and right-wingers are getting a foothold at the very local level.
Dear Twitter: One way to kill democracy is to cause a majority to give up and feel like the situation is hopeless.

Democracy (like elections) requires public confidence and public engagement.

This talk becomes self-fulfilling. People hear it, believe it, give up, and disengage.
Clint Watts @selectedwisdom said that one goal of active measure was to get people to lose confidence in democratic processes.

McConnell is trying to get people to lose confidence in the democratic process by obstructing everything and rendering the process broken.
Read 4 tweets
8 Jun
The biggest threat to American democracy is that the Republicans draw more than 46% support nationwide and legitimately win local elections.

That's a lot of support for an anti-democratic platform.

Autocracy has lots of appeal. Democracy is slow, grinding work.
Some people dislike democracy because they lose patience with it.

But I'm not naive: I understand that most of the 46.9% who voted for Trump prefer a hierarchy.

They don't believe equality is possible, so they reject democracy . . .

. . . they think nature naturally forms a hierarchy. They think that white men were at the top of the hierarchy for most of our history because they deserve it.

When others want equality, they hear the demand for equality as a desire to replace them at the top of the hierarchy.
Read 10 tweets
7 Jun
By "designed to fail" McConnell means that he plans to block them.
McConnell has a solution: Stop blocking legislation, and then the Democrats' plan will fail 🤣

Or, he can block popular legislation and prove that the filibuster is used to break government instead of helping keep America (and Americans) safe.
Right. It's not a bad plan.

I can hear McConnell now: "The Democrats are playing dirty politics! They are trying to pass popular legislation designed to help Americans JUST TO MAKE REPUBLICANS LOOK BAD"
Read 5 tweets
6 Jun
Very often, people tell me some form of "the real problem is that we are afraid to do anything about the problem."

A variant is that "if Democrats would just fight like Republicans, they could win."

There are a few problems with this.
Generally when I push back and ask, "What specifically should Democrats (or 'we') do?" I get vague answers.


Here's the problem. The Republicans are trying to destroy democracy, so they are breaking rules and cheating.

For Democracy and rule of law to survive, at least one side has to use democratic means.

If Democrats also break rules and cheat, this would mean both sides are torpedoing democracy.

This would make it true that "both sides are the same."

Read 10 tweets
5 Jun
I think part of what is causing this is a spiral of radicalization.

As the insurrection and ensuing craziness drive away moderates and traditional conservatives, the leaders turn more to the QAnon crazies, who now form a majority of those who identify as Republicans.
I don't see how the Republicans can break this cycle.

The only way to hold together a coalition that can deliver more than 40% of the vote is to cater to the QAnon base.

So they can't get behind a leader who rejects Trump and QAnon.
I don't know that they're imploding as much as shrinking and hardening into a far-right extremist party.

Even some of my diehard Republican acquaintances are getting embarrassed, but one thinks the solution is to nominate Nikki Haley 🤦‍♀️

Read 4 tweets

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