There’s Something Going On

Over at The Washington Post, Max Ehrenfreund on the four cryptic words Donald Trump can’t stop saying:

“There’s something going on,” Trump said. “It’s inconceivable. There’s something going on.”

That phrase, according to political scientists who study conspiracy theories, is characteristic of politicians who seek to exploit the psychology of suspicion and cynicism to win votes.

The idea that people in positions of power or influence are conspiring to conceal sinister truths from the public can be inherently appealing, because it helps make sense of tragedy and satisfies the human need for certainty and order. Yet politicians hoping to take advantage of these tendencies must rely on vague and suggestive statements, since any specific accusation could be easily disproved.

Donald Trump is a master manipulator of language and it’s one of the main reasons he’s made it this far in his presidential campaign (there’s other tools of demagoguery he uses I won’t get into in this post). It clearly has a strong effect on the less educated, but if you have half a brain, you can see right through his bullshit and rhetoric.

I love this detail:

Earlier in the interview, when asked why he called for Obama’s resignation, Trump said, “He doesn’t get it or he gets it better than anybody understands. It’s one or the other.”

Trump excels at never committing to a side, but also never appears to be equivocal on a topic. How, you ask, does he pull this off? By starting with the premise that there’s a conspiracy happening. This means he’s free to make as many assumptions as possible, because shit, how am I supposed to know what’s really happening? There’s something going on and they’re not telling us.

If this man gets in office, he’ll continue his habit of never accepting responsibility for his actions because any mistakes he makes will be the result of someone or some group hiding something from him. It’s a sign of poor character and not a quality you want in someone running for president.


Politics, Words