“Make America Fake Again”, on Franceinfo: a dismaying immersion in Trumpist Florida

Joe Biden stole the 2020 presidential election

“Make America Fake Again”, on Franceinfo: a dismaying immersion in Trumpist Florida

Joe Biden stole the 2020 presidential election. There is no climate change. The global elites want to enslave the world. Pedocriminal tunnels run under the White House, with children tortured to concoct drugs from their hormones inside...

Welcome to “conspiland,” the land of conspiracy theories, as Florida might be nicknamed. It is in this former swing state – an electorally undecided and strategic state – which has today become a bastion of Trumpism, that verification journalist Julien Pain immersed himself for a little over a week.

Here, there are no big-eared mice like in Disneyland, but feverish activists obsessed with weapons, the Bible and the Constitution; graying donors with their heads tucked under red MAGA (“Make America Great Again”) caps; or a former marine proud to have participated in the invasion – sorry, “the expression of [his] freedom” – on January 6, 2021, at the Capitol (Washington, DC).

Fantasy perils

They all depict a white, conservative, anti-immigration America, haunted by the identity threat posed by Islam and Latinos, and which sees in the New York billionaire the defender of the people against sometimes completely fantasized dangers.

If this report does not reveal much about the absurd, and ultimately little changing, conspiracy theories which have agitated the Trumpist militant base for four years, it does show, on the other hand, the faces which repeat them, faces steeped in certainty and hope, capable of reciting without blinking the biggest enormities of Trumpist conspiracy mythology.

In these lands of alternative truths, Julien Pain makes little secret of the enigma which enthralls him, and which is the lot of any verification journalist: how can a president so often singled out for his shameless lies still be caught in the serious ?

The answer lies less in what he says than in what he embodies. This dive into MAGA territory draws a populist entertainer, who flatters deep America on its main concerns: the defense of white heritage, the right to bear arms, purchasing power, particularly in terms of fuel. And who, through his unapologetic mockery and his below-the-belt attacks, satisfies the appetite for outspokenness of his electorate, which is itself outrageous, like this elderly donor who is proud to display toilet paper at the effigy of Joe Biden.

Donald Trump's all-out disinformation strategy has profoundly changed politics in the United States, notes Julien Pain. She certainly didn't raise her. If, eight years after his first election, the surprise is no longer quite there, the deep impregnation of Trumpist mythology is no less edifying. This appalling report reminds us that the dams of fact-checking are little in the face of populism and its wave of disinformation. A warning, six months before the American elections.