Donald Trump, the 69-year-old New York real estate mogul and unrepentant bigot, is still dominating the Republican presidential primary polls. Trump’s sudden ascendance, accelerated by his willingness to insult virtually any ostensible ally within the conservative movement, has left GOP leaders dumbfounded. How did this caricature of a Republican politician, who has never held elected office, and whose personal ideology is remarkably fluid, usurp more experienced, more conservative, and better-funded candidates like Jeb Bush and Scott Walker? Within this vacuum of understanding, an almost-believable conspiracy theory has obtained currency: Donald Trump is in fact a false flag candidate whose actual mission is electing Hillary Clinton as President.
To understand the contours of this theory, it’s helpful to understand where it came from. A Google search suggests the first person to remark upon Trump’s indirect assistance to Clinton was the anti-war activist and “conservative-paleo-libertarian” Justin Raimondo. In a long blog post dated July 13—just a few days after Trump stole Jeb Bush’s lead—Raimondo argued that the timing of Trump’s entry into the presidential race, which the candidate had long hinted at but until this year never followed through on, could only be explained by a hidden “Democratic wrecking operation” designed to assist Clinton’s parallel campaign: