Political scientists long assumed that U.S. institutions were more open and sturdier than those in other countries. One manifestation of that robustness, the theory went, was that U.S. politics appeared largely free from troubling symptoms like conspiracy thinking. Foreigners — particularly in less-developed countries — might attribute the actions of their leaders to shadowy forces like the CIA or Israel’s Mossad, but Americans knew better than to think that offstage actors could have such influence on them.
That belief is no longer tenable. Conspiracy thinking has been normalized in American politics in a way that almost nobody could have expected a year ago. CONT.
Paul Musgrave (U. of Mass. Amherst), Washington Post