Conservative columnist unpacks why Trump's ‘people in the dark shadows’ comment was so troubling
“Dark Shadows” isn’t only the name of a 1960s/early 1970s soap opera about vampires, witches and werewolves — it is also a phrase that President Donald Trump is using to rally his far-right base. During a Monday night appearance on Laura Ingraham’s “The Ingraham Angle” on Fox News, Trump claimed that “people in the dark shadows” and “people that you haven’t heard of” are working to get Vice President Joe Biden elected in November.
And conservative Never Trump journalist Bill Kristol, in an article for The Bulwark, points to those comments as examples of Trump’s love of conspiracy theories.
“Perhaps one shouldn’t…. be too alarmed by a politician claiming his opponent is being manipulated by men operating in the dark shadows,” Kristol writes. “Politicians exaggerate and even make up things. It’s life in a democracy. But this wasn’t just any politician. It was the president. And this isn’t just any president. It’s one who’s not been afraid to encourage, or at least excuse, violence by his supporters.”
Kristol acknowledges that over-the-top rhetoric by a politician didn’t start with Donald Trump, but he argues that Trump’s willingness to promote far-out conspiracy theories is especially troubling in light of how “bitterly divided” the U.S. has become politically.
“A healthy democracy should be able to deal with this,” Kristol writes. “But how healthy are we? The country is bitterly divided, a division whose bitterness has been much exacerbated by this president. Can we as a nation withstand fear-mongering and conspiracy-theorizing as well as we once might have?”
Kristol adds, “We have an election in two months — one this president has already suggested will be ‘rigged’ in the normal course of events, unless presumably, he and his lieutenants take extraordinary actions. Are we confident that under this administration, we will have fair and free elections and a peaceful and lawful transfer of power?”
Although Kristol is quite conservative and was an ally of President George W. Bush, he has made no secret of the fact that he is rooting for Biden this year. But given the type of paranoia and conspiracy theories Trump promotes, Kristol is worried about what will transpire between now and November 3.
“There are nine weeks until the election,” Kristol notes. “Those will be nine weeks of incitement, conspiracy-mongering and law-breaking by the president of the United States. That will be a test. If we can overcome that, it will in itself be a promising sign for the future — of civic strength and health…. We need to defeat Trump.”