The Democratic National Convention was a marvel of message discipline. The speeches and events had a clear theme: to portray today’s Democratic party as totally normal, mainstream, non-combative, and not radical at all. In a year of race riots and cancel culture, we may have a lot of reasons to be skeptical of this gauzy image of the party of the left. Yet there is something comforting about the fact that a large political movement has been able to settle on a non-repellent political message and actually stick to it. We haven’t seen much of that for the past four years.

All of this led Karl Rove to observe that this “enormous message discipline” is something “Republicans would be wise to emulate.”

Yeah, I didn’t think that was likely to work out, either. Even as Rove was speaking, Donald Trump was tweeting—expressing his support for Laura Loomer, a conspiracy-theorist nutjob, for winning the primary to run as the Republican candidate in Florida’s 21st district. Loomer has no real chance of winning, and it is a perennial problem for both parties that fringe characters sometimes manage to get themselves nominated in hopeless districts where nobody respectable can be convinced to run. But usually they don’t get the endorsement of the sitting president.

This followed Trump’s endorsement of Marjorie Taylor Greene, a devotee of the QAnon conspiracy theory, and it was followed by the president being asked outright about QAnon at a press conference and offering them a kind of tepid endorsement as patriots who “love our country.”

Thus, in one fell swoop, Trump injected an insane conspiracy theory into the mainstream of the right—though it is following the usual template for support of Trump himself: anti-anti-QAnon.

Read the rest at The Bulwark.

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