The Impacts of the Conspiracy Theories on America’s Democracy
Divisions and Hatred Across the Racial Groups
On the impacts of the conspiracy theories on America’s democracy, it is evident from the paper that many of Trump’s conspiracy theories were targeting the minority groups living in America such as Muslims, Blacks, and immigrants. Such arguments have created divisions and hatred among various racial groups which has Evans (2016) assert, is a threat to a nation’s democracy. In fact, now that Trump has started reforming immigration policies and taken a stern approach to immigrants, the divisions have become broader. It is also believed that many people from these groups who had the privilege to vote did not choose Trump because he has portrayed his dislike for them. Such theories have in one way, or another infringed on the rights of these minority groups since they have created a bad image for them, making it difficult to get employment and assistance especially from Trump’s supporters. Moreover, in extreme cases, such theories can result in severe measures being taken which may violate their various rights (Sarlin, 2016).
- Institutional Distrust and Political Polarization
Many of the theories that revolved around the 2016 presidential elections influenced many American people in a manner that they no longer trust their institutions and government. A study carried out by Kim & Cao (2016) revealed that many conspiracies that are covered by the media end up creating distrust with governmental institutions. For instance, the theory that the DNC helped Clinton defeat Bernie Senders in the primaries made so many people, even the Democrats to lose trust and confidence in this institution. Such theories can also result in political divisions where people are so focused on questioning a government’s motives forgetting the essentiality of engaging in meaningful policy debates. Moreover, Kim & Cao (2016) asserts that such conspiracy theories push the alleged institutions and even the government to come up with other arguments to regain people’s trust.
- Lack of Accountability
The DNC leaks are an example of a conspiracy within a conspiracy. In her defense of the claims leveled against her, Hillary Clinton accused the right-wing of having the aim of destroying her entire family. Such a conspiracy if followed to a conclusion would imply that every accusation, criticism, and investigation pertaining to Clinton’s actions while in the office are but false attacks aimed at damaging and tarnishing her image. Consequently, it would give Clinton and her supporters an opportunity to dismiss any charges against her meaning that there is no accountability hence impacting adversely on a nation’s democracy. Moreover, the fact that the Trump conspiracy with Russia revealed actual collusion with the DNC might have made people focus so much on Clinton’s behavior and forget to question the legality of the cyber hacking act. In other words, many conspiracy theories that are created to counter the attacks of another conspiracy contribute to the lack of accountability that derails democracy (Evans, 2016).
- Interference with the Sovereignty of the United States
Some conspiracy will end up compromising the international laws that protect the sovereignty of a nation, which impacts negatively on the democracy of that country. The Russia hacking theory to assist Trump in winning the election is an excellent example of an ideology that affected the sovereignty of the United States adversely. A study by Ohlin (2017) revealed that the cyber-attacks by Russia interfered with the international law and exposed America’s classified information to the unauthorized audience creating various threats to the country. According to Ohlin (2017), no foreign institution or government should try to alter or modify another state’s government by any means since it is against the law and it hinders the sovereignty of that nation.
- Impacts on the Electorate
Since all the theories discussed in this people were circulating during an election period, they had significant effects on the electorate. It is argued that the DNC leaks theory may have contributed to the defeat of Hillary Clinton in the elections. For instance, the ideology that the DNP’s primaries were rigged for Clinton to defeat Bernie Sanders may have influenced some of his supporters to vote for Trump while others decided to remain at home on Election Day (Uscinski, 2017). Moreover, the fact that every presidential candidate based their arguments and campaigns on conspiracy theories means that people may have voted for them for the wrong reasons and not because of their leadership qualities. In essence, the conspiracy theories may have impacted on the electorate and the entire voting process to the extent that the 2016 elections were not as democratic as expected.
There is more than adequate evidence that the 2016 presidential election was the most dominated with conspiracy theories in American history. During this period, such ideologies were the basis on which issues were argued and presidential candidates were evaluated. In many of these ideologies, a candidate was accused of being either involved in severe conspiracies or propagating unfounded theories. It is evident from the research done that each candidate resulted in using conspiracy theories to discredit his or her competitors in the presidential race and garner more support from Americans. As many scholars in this field affirm, such arguments have far-reaching impacts on people and act as hindrances to democracy. For instance, the 2016 presidential election conspiracy theories have widened the divisions across racial groups in America and created hostility, which is not healthy for democracy. Moreover, these ideologies have made people lose trust and confidence in their institutions and governance leading to political polarization. Besides, the conspiracy theories have allowed individuals, groups of people and even institutions to find a way of evading accountability. Moreover, it is vivid that Russia’s cyber-attack interfered with the sovereignty of the United States and the leaked information about DNC significantly influenced the electorate.