With mere days to go before Americans go to the polls, Donald Trump has released a YouTube ad that to most people probably sounds like typical anti-establishment rhetoric. But to right-wing extremist groups, it sounds like something much more specific.
The ad, titled “Argument for America,” features a voiceover of Trump railing against the powerful global elites who have destroyed America as images of billionaire investor and Hillary Clinton donor George Soros, the Federal Reserve logo, and a Wall Street street sign flash across the screen.
“The establishment has trillions of dollars at stake in this election. For those who control the levers of power in Washington, and for the global special interests, they partner with these people that don’t have your good in mind,” Trump proclaims.
Watch the ad here:
This is more than just the typical anti-establishment message of a “Washington outsider.” It’s a direct reference to a virulent conspiracy theory at the core of the far-right, anti-government “Patriot” militia movement.
Adherents of the conspiracy theory believe the US government is secretly in cahoots with a shady global cabal known as the New World Order (also referred to as “globalists”) that’s trying to take over America and impose a politically correct totalitarian fascist/socialist world government.
To prevent this from happening, true American patriots must be ever vigilant for any sign that the takeover is beginning, and prepared to defend America with force if (when) it does.
“They believe the United States is the last bastion of freedom in the world, but that our own government is actually collaborating with the New World Order to strip away our rights and freedoms, starting with the right to keep and bear arms,” says Mark Pitcavage of the Anti-Defamation League’s Center on Extremism, who has been studying right-wing extremists since the mid-1990s.
“And once we lose that right,’’ he adds, ‘‘we won’t be able to defend ourselves anymore. And once we’re rendered defenseless, the New World Order will sweep in and enslave us like it’s enslaved the rest of the world.”
Take this passage from a blog post by a prominent advocate of this conspiracy theory:
Globalists have had free reign over most of the world’s governments for at least a century, if not longer. As a consequence of their influences, we have had two World Wars, the Great Depression, the Great Recession which is still ongoing, too many regional conflicts and genocides to count and the systematic oppression of free agent entrepreneurs, inventors and ideas to the point that we are now suffering from social and financial stagnation.
Now compare that with what Trump says in his latest ad:
The political establishment that is trying to stop us is the same group responsible for our disastrous trade deals, massive illegal immigration, and economic and foreign policies that have bled our country dry. It’s a global power structure that is responsible for the economic decisions that have robbed our working class, stripped our country of its wealth, and put that money into the pockets of a handful of large corporations and political entities.
Notice in particular his use of the term “global power structure” to describe those responsible for the country’s economic and social woes. Blaming an unnamed cabal of powerful global elites for having stolen the wealth of the American working class and bled this country dry is a page right out of the New World Order conspiracy theorists’ playbook.
Other Patriot movement beliefs
This central belief is accompanied by a number of “subsidiary” beliefs, including what Pitcavage terms “the unholy trinity of militia conspiracy theories”:
- The US government has set up hundreds of concentration camps and at any minute could start rounding up Americans.
- The government is going to declare martial law and suspend the Constitution, perhaps using a pretext such as a fabricated terrorist attack or a fabricated pandemic.
- The government is going to engage in door-to-door gun confiscation in order to disarm the country and pave the way for the New World Order takeover.
And who are the key figures and organizations behind this insidious New World Order plot to destroy America? Why, none other than the United Nations, Wall Street, the Federal Reserve, George Soros, and (of course) Hillary Clinton — in other words, the stars of Trump’s new ad.
Strangely, Trump himself, a billionaire real estate mogul who’s built a global brand with business interests around the world and who hobnobs with the political, media, and Hollywood elite, is somehow seen as being outside of this global elite cabal. Indeed, one of Trump’s biggest supporters and donors, billionaire PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel, will be at this year’s meeting of the Bilderberg Group, a secretive meeting of global elites that features prominently in New World Order conspiracy theories.
Patriot movement adherents aren’t neo-Nazis — but those guys dig conspiracy theories too
The Patriot movement and its New World Order conspiracy theories are ideologically distinct from the neo-Nazi/white supremacist movement, whose conspiracy theories typically involve an imaginary global cabal of Jewish bankers and elites plotting to enslave the white race.
Conveniently, the Trump ad appeals to both strains of right-wing extremism, with each one merely imagining its own preferred boogeymen secretly controlling the levers of power behind the scenes for their own nefarious ends.
And both anti-government militia groups such as the Three Percenters and the Oath Keepers and neo-Nazi/white nationalist organizations including the Nationalist Socialist Party, the American Freedom Party, and various Ku Klux Klan–affiliated groups are actively preparing to deploy to watch the polls to make sure the election isn’t “stolen” from Trump by these powerful global elites.
That Donald Trump released an ad just days before the election that is specifically designed to fuel the paranoid conspiracy theories held by these armed extremist groups is profoundly disturbing.