If there’s one thing we can depend on Republicans for, it’s a good old-fashioned fearmongering conspiracy theory that dabbles in racism.
As such, one particular conspiracy theory is gaining renewed momentum on social media after Joe Biden reacted angrily to a special counsel suggesting the president innocently mishandled classified documents in part because of his advanced age and all the implications that come with being an octogenarian.
As a result, MAGA-leaning conservatives like failed candidate Vivek Ramaswamy have floated the unfounded conspiracy theory that former first lady Michelle Obama will replace Biden on the 2024 presidential ticket.
Special counsel Robert Hur’s report about the classified documents found in the president’s garage in Delaware claims Biden may have simply forgotten he took the classified documents to his home.
Resenting the implication, Biden shot back: “My memory is fine.”
The report’s findings were made public on Thursday afternoon. Conservatives quickly pounced at the political opportunity to revive speculation over the mental acuity of Biden, 81.
Ramaswamy — who is no stranger to racist conspiracy theories — appeared on Fox News following Biden’s statements and predicted that it’s become “that much more obvious” that the president would not be on the 2024 ballot, Ramaswamy said, Michelle Obama will be the Democratic nominee.
Ramaswamy’s comments came nearly a month after New York Post gossip writer Cindy Adams wrote about unverified “Plans … to grab Michelle for the Democratic presidency choice.” Earlier this week, Adams reported that Michelle Obama said in 2022 that “I plan to run.”
One of the things this conspiracy theory accomplishes is that it stokes the flames of prejudice — particularly racism — against Michelle Obama and her husband, Barack, who Republicans have complained is effectively serving a third term since Biden was his vice president for eight years. Conservative conspiracy theorists are playing up the prospect of Michelle Obama as the Democratic nominee in part because they want to appeal to the racist politics of fear that Barack Obama could end up serving a proverbial fourth term in or near the White House.
Of course, none of these theories are rooted in fact.
The only fact we know for sure about how Michelle Obama feels about the 2024 race for the White House is that she said she is “terrified” of Trump becoming president again.
“What’s going to happen in this next election? I’m terrified about what could possibly happen, because our leaders matter. Who we select, who speaks for us, who holds that bully pulpit, it affects us in ways sometimes I think people take for granted,” Michelle Obama said last month on the “On Purpose” podcast.
Republicans have taken that comment and run with it all the way to the racetrack of conspiracy theories in what appears to be a concerted fearmongering effort to shore up support for Trump, whose poll numbers make him the presumptive GOP nominee (even though his candidacy may actually end up being disqualified anyway).
In the meantime, Karl Rove is seemingly the lone Republican voice of reason when it comes to speculation about Michelle Obama replacing Biden on the 2024 democratic presidential ticket.
“I had to deal with this in 2020 when this was running through President Trump’s reelection campaign,” the former senior adviser to Republican President George W. Bush said on Wednesday. “They thought somehow or another, Biden was going to be pushed aside by Obama.”
Rove described that line of thinking as “sheer, utter lunacy,” echoing Michelle Obama’s sentiments that “she hates politics,” and “loves the life she’s got.”
This is America.
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