Wow. As Natasha Bertrand said on Friday, someone should maybe follow up on the last part of this paragraph from Charlotte Alter's piece for Time, "How Conspiracy Theories Are Shaping the 2020 Election—and Shaking the Foundation of American Democracy."
This is straight-up crazypants stuff, but people are talking about killing themselves if Joe Biden wins, based on information they read on Yandex. That's not funny. That's suicide. That's Russian military psyops, QAnon and other GRU-pushed conspiracy narratives, killing Americans.
On a cigarette break outside their small business in Ozaukee County, Tina Arthur and Marcella Frank told me they plan to vote for Trump again because they are deeply alarmed by "the cabal." They've heard "numerous reports" that the COVID-19 tents set up in New York and California were actually for children who had been rescued from underground sex-trafficking tunnels.
Arthur and Frank explained they're not followers of QAnon. Frank says she spends most of her free time researching child sex trafficking, while Arthur adds that she often finds this information on the Russian-owned search engine Yandex. Frank's eyes fill with tears as she describes what she's found: children who are being raped and tortured so that "the cabal" can "extract their blood and drink it." She says Trump has seized the blood on the black market as part of his fight against the cabal. "I think if Biden wins, the world is over, basically," adds Arthur. "I would honestly try to leave the country. And if that wasn't an option, I would probably take my children and sit in the garage and turn my car on and it would be over."
Just, man. I hope we make it to November, and beyond, America.
Read the full piece: How Conspiracy Theories Are Shaping the 2020 Election—and Shaking the Foundation of American Democracy [time.com]