Once in a while, Hillary Clinton will suffer a coughing fit, and the latest incident came on Monday at a rally in Cleveland. After she finished, she made a joke about being allergic to Trump, and the comment was covered on CNN and pretty much everywhere else, as the Washington Post noticed in its round-up. The Drudge Report alone linked to eight different stories about the fit. None of that, it appears, was enough for Donald Trump:
Okay. Why, you have to wonder, would he want more coverage about something so apparently trivial? The answer is that he’s stoking another favored narrative of the alt-right, which is that Hillary Clinton is fatally ill. This has been a right-wing conspiracy theory for years, which some date back to a fall she suffered in 2012, but which probably goes back even further into the mists of time. Never mind that there’s no proof—conspiracy theorists don’t need proof, and in fact see the absence of it as ironclad evidence of a cover-up.
It’s one thing for these rumors to circulate in the darkest corners of the conservative shadowlands. In fact, it’s inevitable, the same way it’s inevitable that some people think the Newtown shooting was faked for the purpose of passing anti-gun legislation, or that Obama was orchestrating a government takeover in Texas this past spring. But for a leading presidential candidate to tacitly encourage this line of thinking is both irresponsible and dangerous…and exactly what we should expect from the celebrity face of the birther movement.
Our living nightmare continues.