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The 2016 presidential election is well on its way to cementing its place in history's annals of crazy. But do you know who finds it even crazier? Crazy people! Conspiracy nutjobs and other tinfoil hat cases follow political news too, and just as is the case with everyone else, there are candidates they do and don't like. As such, the dark, sticky underbelly of the internet is inundated with madcap election theories that are somehow even more far-fetched than the accusations the actual candidates have been throwing around.

Ted Cruz Is the Zodiac Killer (Among Other Things)

Via Wikipedia

Imagine waking up one day and finding out that the whole internet has decided you're one of the most famous uncaught serial killers in history. You know it's not true. For one thing, that's not the sort of stuff people just forget, and even if you had accidentally blacked out and gone on a murder spree, the timeline just plain doesn't work. But no matter how obvious this is, the internet doesn't care. You're the Zodiac killer now, motherfucker!

Now, picture that this actually happened, but to GOP candidate Ted Cruz instead of you. Things suddenly get ten sorts of hilarious, because let's face it, the dude hosts some pretty vile opinions behind his melty ventriloquist puppet face. The Cruzodiac first surfaced in 2013, when Twitter randomly connected the two in mockery of a particularly clumsy speech he gave, and spent a few years on the back burner before his presidential candidacy caused it to resurface and spread like wildfire.

See? The resemblance is uncanny.

The fact that Cruz was born two years after the first Zodiac murder took place didn't matter. The internet had made up its mind. Despite the absurdity of the theory (or rather, because of it), social media and news sites alike caught on and had a Zodiac-themed field day at Cruz's expense. For a while, "Is Ted Cruz the Zodiac killer" was such a popular Google search that big G had to actually remove the phrase from its autocomplete suggestions. The pro-life Baptist Cruz even found himself featuring on Zodiac-themed black metal T-shirts, the profits of which went to support abortion rights, because sometimes karma likes to go balls deep.

Rory Blank
The shirts have apparently raised at least $30,000. I suspect this is helped by the fact that they look nothing like Cruz.

Because the universe clearly has a chip on its shoulder when it comes to the Cruz family, Ted isn't even the first rumored famous murderer in his family. There's also a (gleefully Trump-enforced) theory that Cruz's father Rafael was involved in the assassination of JFK. And, as if to complete some unholy trifecta of Cruz-related terror theories, the internet has also claimed that Ted Cruz lives a secret double life as Michael Sweet ...

Daily Dot
I can never unsee this image, and now, neither can you.

... the lead singer for Christian hair metal band Stryper.

Donald Trump Basically Runs On Conspiracy Theories

Via Wikipedia

Look, we all know that America's most divisive former reality show host is going to make an appearance here, so let's get him out of the way, shall we? After all, conspiracy theories are very much Donald Trump's meat and mead -- he's actually been happily sprouting out some of the ones you can find on this very list, like an anthropomorphic Cheeto staining everyone's teeny weeny sausage fingers with fear dust.

In many ways, Trump's campaign seems closer to the most terrifyingly elaborate practical joke in history than an actual political platform. As such, it's no surprise that The Donald is also a target of a fair few conspiracy theories. Depending on who you ask, Trump might not even want the presidency; he just wants to be able to say that he totally could've run the White House, and when the opportunity presents itself, will drop faster than the proverbial hat. Only he'll drop out of the presidential race instead of just generally dropping. A hat could never do that.

Then there's the one where his very candidacy is a false flag operation meant to ensure Hillary's victory and disgrace the GOP in the process. We've already mentioned Trump's nigh-superhuman tendency to bail Clinton out of her gaffes by saying something much stupider, and how the theory about him being a secret shill for her makes a strange kind of sense. Conspiracy theorists argue this is all according to the diabolical plans of one Bill Clinton, who allegedly masterminded the whole thing.

Via The Ring of Fire Network
I can't imagine why the rumors of a Clinton-Trump connection ever started.

Of course, that's forgetting that Trump's campaign is special in a great many ways, and not even political animals like Bill and Hillary could have possibly predicted his meteoric rise to the uppermost echelons of the GOP. But since everyone in the politics game is still frantically slapping at anything that seems like it might explain how an apparent joke candidate has been bulldozing through the electoral system in a mostly unprecedented way, even the conspiracy theories surrounding him tend to not be screamed at the uncaring skies by just any old bullshit farmer. The Bill Clinton / Trump theory has been brought up by folks like Marcy Kaptur, a Democrat and long-serving Representative for Ohio's 9th congressional district.

Google "Trump wants to lose" (or more likely just "Trump wants" thanks to autocomplete -- it's a popular search), and you'll find a gazillion news medias of varying legitimacy think-piecing their butts off the subject. Hell, there's even one where Trump is basically Vladimir Putin's secret agent, unwitting or otherwise. Don't get me started on that one. Not that I need to, because a former freaking CIA director already has. Personally, I actually buy that one, because I find it impossible to not picture Putin ending each day by sacrificing a Trump-presidency-themed bear to whatever chaos deities ex-KGB-agents turned Bond villains worship.

Is any of that true? Maybe! Or maybe not. That's where we're at with Trump, guys. Dude's confusing the game so badly that he's suspected to be an agent of his worst presidential opponent, of the sitting president's party, and of the president of a country that for a long time was the worst enemy of the country he's trying to become president of. Sometimes (Like here!) all of those at the same time. His campaign may be terrifying in many ways, and the man himself is a certified liar, but bamboozling people in so many directions at once takes genuine talent.

What I'm saying is that Trump would make a wonderful used car salesman. He already has the complexion.

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Hillary Clinton Uses Body Doubles To Mess With Everyone

Via Wikipedia

Have you ever wondered how Hillary Clinton, a woman pushing 70, can maintain a campaign schedule that would break the back of a person half her age? The answer, according to your friendly neighborhood tinfoil men, is simple: She can't. In fact, she doesn't even have to try, because she has a bunch of body doubles doing all that pesky baby-kissing for her.

Via Twitter
If she loses the presidency, they can all move in the same house and star in a Golden Girls reboot.

Theories about Clinton using lookalikes like a cartoon dictator got traction after she appeared to faint in front of the 9/11 memorial, took a quick retreat to her daughter Chelsea's nearby home, and emerged in much better health just hours later. Conspiracy screechers immediately decided that she had been replaced with a lookalike instead of, you know, just having a little rest and medication. They even tracked down their chosen replicant: a longtime Clinton impersonator who had jokingly (and, as it turned out, unwisely) Tweeted an old selfie wherein she stood in front of Chelsea's apartment after the incident. And the next thing you know, freaking Newsweek finds itself debunking asshole comparisons of "different" Hillaries' nose creases and hair volume, because that's the world we live in now.

Guys, just a thought: Every single presidential hopeful almost certainly has legitimate dirt on them. It's not a position in life you can reach without every single closet in your house becoming a wind chime made of a dozen skeletons whenever you forget to close the window. Can we maybe, just maybe, focus on that instead of science fiction bullshit? Dig up some dirt about the emails if you want, or take your pick from the vast number of very real controversies surrounding the candidate. Feel free to speculate about a potential future commander-in-chief's health situation. Just keep in mind that it's the internet age, and Clinton is one of the most visible people on the planet. There's literally no way she could get away with a cartoonish body double trick in a time when the public sees everything. I mean, look at that picture above. Those "lookalikes" barely even look like her. To fool the public for even a second, they would have to be perfect copies, and it's not like that's possib-

Help Free The Earth

... Oh. Never mind. Fucking clones it is, then.

Bernie Sanders Is Out to Destroy America as We Know It

Via Wikipedia

When you hear the words "Bernie Sanders" and "conspiracy" together, you'll most likely think of the ongoing accusations that his opponents (read: Clinton) undermined his campaign from within. Helpfully, this also doubles as your cue to hastily retreat back to quietly browsing internet porn, lest the remnants of the Bernie Bro army track you down and bombard you with Twitter rhetoric. But did you know that Sanders' campaign itself was a conspiracy? One to drag you specifically down to the dark ages of whatever the hell is going on in the unimportant parts of the world that aren't America?

The crazy people do!

According to them, Bernie Sanders might seem like an old career politician who focuses on basic human rights a bit more than is fashionable in politics. But don't be fooled! In reality, his campaign was a brazen plot to bring the country under the influence of dangerous forces. But who exactly is he in cahoots with? Why, the satanists, of course! Or the Freemasons. Or maybe it's the communists, because in some peoples' minds, the 1950s never ended. Maybe all three have joined forces to feast on America's entrails, essentially making Sanders a fierce society-destroying Cerberus who constantly complains about healthcare. Oh hell, son! Communist Freemason devilry! The Cold War didn't have shit on this.

"The devil is red, communists are red, and we're pretty sure we saw Sanders wear a red tie once. The evidence is right there, sheeple!"

What I love about the "Bernie was in league with [insert enemy of America here]" stories is their purity as conspiracy theories. They take bits and pieces of news stories actually revolving around Sanders -- his comparatively radical youth, (untrue) atheism allegations, a popular "Satanists for Bernie 2016" Facebook meme -- and weave them into a basket that's large enough to hold all their thought-turds. What I like less is that it's pretty fucking obvious that these dumbass theories are the result of many people obviously seeing the guy as a far-left candidate, when his political alignment would actually be somewhere around center right in practically any other civilized country. Look at virtually any European (or Canadian) high-powered politician, and they're far closer to Sanders than they are to the average American politician. So congratulations, conspiracy theorists! By your standards, almost every country is fucking led by Satanist-communist-masons. Enjoy that aneurysm.

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Barack Obama Is The True Supervillain Of The 2016 Election

Via Wikipedia

What, did you really think only candidates and nominees are subject to election-related conspiracy dipshittery? Psych, fuckers! While we were all busy ogling the antics of the Circus of Future Presidents, the current one has been weaving shadowy plots behind a carefully maintained facade of joviality and noodle breaks with Anthony Bourdain.

Quoth the conspiracy theorist: Who really stands to gain in an election in which one main nominee is a character from a low-budget Syfy sequel to Horrible Bosses and the other can't even keep her emails straight? Late-night talk show hosts thirsty for cheap comedy? Nope! Jimmy Fallon already had his chance, and he barely ruffled The Donald's feathers. It's obviously the sitting president. Why? To score a third term for himself with ... uh, shenanigans? Most conspiracy folks kind of drop the ball at this point, and are content to throw "We just know he's up to something, gosh darnit!"-style rhetoric around. Maybe he's planning a straight-up coup. Maybe he'll go rogue and modify the constitution to allow himself a cozy third term (and likely more). Or maybe he'll just barricade himself in the Oval Office with a Super Soaker when it's time to turn the White House over to his successor.

Via NBC News
That last one being the only one he could probably get away with, and the only one he's likely to actually try.

Not that it matters just how Obama is supposedly going to screw the country. The real meat in this theory is how skillfully it ties the scandals of the main characters of the last couple of elections together. Remember the whole Obama birth certificate debacle? The one that Trump seemed to almost exclusively tweet about before his campaign trail? According to the "Our next president will be Barack Obama" camp, the reason Trump never got his mitts on the "real" birth certificate (i.e. the one that conclusively proves that Obama is Kenyan) is that Hillary has it, and the only reason she's not been impeached by now is that she's blackmailing Barack with that. So now Obama's out to destroy her, throw her in prison over Benghazi or some shit, brush off Trump (who probably was his agent too, because why the fuck not?), and turn America into a dictatorship as collateral.

Elizabeth Cromwell/Wikimedia Commons
"Sure, I had to fight for years to introduce some basic healthcare, but crushing America under my iron fist shouldn't take me more than a week."

Man, I wonder how long it'll take for all the other conspiracies on this list to fuse together and join this particular ball of crazy into one ur-theory about how all our top politicians are actually Hitler clones or some shit. I give it two weeks.

Pauli Poisuo is a Cracked weekly columnist and firmly believes that all elections are rigged by Teddy Roosevelt's immortal mustache. Here he is on Facebook and Twitter.

Read how the Hanging Gardens Of Babylon might never have existed in 6 Famous Things From History That Didn't Actually Exist, and read about the Soviet spy in congress in 5 Conspiracy Theories You Won't Believe (Really Happened).

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