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Welcome to the Monday edition of Internet Insider, where we unspool threads of online misinformation—one dumb conspiracy at a time…
ONE DUMB CONSPIRACY
Conspiracy theorists think Democrats let them win in Virginia to empower future election fraud
Republicans received a major victory in Virginia last week after Glenn Youngkin defeated Terry McAuliffe in the race for governor.
While such a victory would normally be well-received by Republicans, prominent influencers on the far-right have somehow managed to frame the electoral win as a grand conspiracy by Democrats to lull Republicans into a false sense of election security.
With Youngkin’s win throwing a major wrench in the conspiracy theory that all U.S. elections are rigged against Republicans—now a major tenet of right-wing ideology—a new belief has been crafted that Democrats allowed the Republicans to win in order to provide cover for future election thefts.
In an article on the notoriously-unreliable Gateway Pundit, author Jim Hoft questioned, without providing any evidence whatsoever, whether the election results were merely a “head-fake” by Democrats.
“Was this part of a larger psyop on the American public? Was this part of their game? Throw in McAuliffe as a sacrificial lamb knowing they can steal any future election at will?” he wrote. “So, was the 2021 Virginia race a head-fake by Democrats on the American public?”
Hoft wasn’t the only one to make the absurd suggestion. One user on Telegram known ironically as “The Truth” made similar arguments to his followers.
“People wake up: they didn’t steal Virginia so that patriots would continue to trust the plan and remain trusting the system which is totally rigged,” the user said.
The column continues below.
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Jarrin Jackson, another popular Telegram user with more than 108,000 subscribers, repeated the conspiratorial talking point as well.
“I pray I’m wrong on these elections. But then the cynical part of me thinks the godless commies are ‘giving us’ this one, so they can undermine the Fix2020 movement,” he wrote. “Doesn’t that make sense?”
Countless users across social media even called on Youngkin to carry out a forensic audit of the 2020 presidential election to prove that it was stolen from former President Donald Trump. Unsurprisingly, those same users did not call for an audit of the governor’s race.
The claims were widely mocked on Twitter, where users pointed to the hyper-conspiratorial nature of the pro-Trump internet.
“That’s how cults work. Everything feeds their narrative and anything that doesn’t seem to on the surface is a conspiracy to throw them off track,” @RustyCannon wrote.
Journalist Bill Scher suggested that the electoral outcome in Virginia only proved just how legitimate the election system is.
“Counter-theory: Democrats, who control every statewide office in Virginia, ran an honest election,” he tweeted.
The pervasive claim regarding Youngkin’s win highlights how the far-right has seemingly become unable to view any world event, even those that are advantageous to their ultimate aims, as anything other than a vast conspiracy.
—By Mikael Thalen, staff writer