It is fascinating how the meaning of the phrase “conspiracy theory” changes depending on who is using it. Or more specifically, it depends on how Democrats are using it to advance their political goals.
For years, if not decades, some Americans were noticing behind-the-scene, well-concerted efforts to impose on our country a form of semi-totalitarian regime, not unlike the one that collapsed in the Soviet Union three decades ago. However, anyone who pointed to facts that supported claims of coordinated attempts to reduce the governments’ accountability to the American people, restrict individual liberties, expand governmental powers, and strengthen federal law-enforcement agencies was promptly branded as a “conspiracy theorist” (think of the character Mel Gibson played in Conspiracy Theory) who might belong in a mental hospital and certainly shouldn’t be taken seriously.
There were no conspiracies in America, we were told, and anyone who suggested that there were such conspiracies was insane, evil, or both.
That “mainstream” rhetoric changed a bit in 1998 when Ms. Hillary Clinton, defending Bill against charges of sexual misconduct with Monica Lewinsky, claimed he was the victim of a “vast right-wing conspiracy.” No one in the “mainstream” called her a “conspiracy theorist,” never mind asking for factual proof of her claim. Nineteen years later, when we were suddenly told that President Donald Trump “colluded with Russia” (another name for conspiring with Russia), despite (as we learned later) zero credible evidence supporting them, no “mainstream” narrator referred to House impeachment managers and their Congressional supporters as crazy “conspiracy theorists.”
But the progressive “mainstream” did not permanently abandon—at least, not permanently so—its disdain for “conspiracy theories.” It was back to its usual modus operandi during the 2020 presidential elections. Then, everybody who was concerned about plans to facilitate election fraud and cheating and, after the fact, was concerned about the swift destruction of evidence and the refusal to investigate to allay voters’ fears, was promptly relegated to the “conspiracy theorist” category.