Unless you've been living under an extraordinarily well-soundproofed rock this year -- like, maybe on the actual Moon -- you're probably aware that a lot of people really, really do not like Hillary Clinton.
There are a bunch of reasons for this, from legitimate political disagreement to issues with the way she reacted to her husband's sex scandal and probable bucket o' sexual assaults, but none of that explains the complicated web of conspiracies her most dedicated haters have imagined around her. Shit like this:
Hating the Clintons isn't just about politics. It's a literal industry. People make fortunes writing books with titles like Hillary's Scheme, Hillary The Other Woman, Clinton Cash, and just so damn many others. Amazon alone has more than 39,000 results under "Clintons" in their Book category. Hating Bill and Hillary Clinton is incredibly profitable, and it has been since 1992.
But this isn't (totally) a cynical cash grab. There's a perfectly logical reason so many Republicans view Bill and Hillary as the living incarnations of human evil. And since we're on the internet, I will explain why via a Star Wars analogy.
I'll guess around 100 percent of you are aware of the Sith, the ancient foes of the Jedi whose ranks include movie legends like Darth Vader, Emperor Palpatine, and probably this weird fucker too:
Fan theory: He's actually Vader's penis back for revenge.
According to Star Wars lore, the Sith used to be a bonafide evil empire, with thousands of planets and millions of soldiers under their control. The Jedi were their sworn enemies, and the two battled it out in a series of (star) wars for countless eons until, a few centuries before The Phantom Menace, the Jedi finally killed the last of the Sith and ushered in what they thought would be a new era of peace and prosperity.
And then the prequels happened, killing both the world's faith in George Lucas and all of the Jedi. Their order was exterminated, the Republic fell, and this asshole became the President of Space:
The first term really ages you.
So how does this tie back to the Clintons? Well, it's a matter of perspective. In 1980, Ronald Reagan beat the electoral shit out of President Jimmy Carter, dealing a decisive defeat to American liberalism and ushering in a new era. Reagan would go on to win reelection in one of the landslidiest landslides in the history of sliding land. The Reagan Era morphed into the Reagan Revolution, which Republicans believed would be a massive and permanent conservative shift in American politics. When Reagan's vice president, George H.W. Bush, won 40 states in the 1988 election, it sure as hell seemed like they were right. The Republican Jedi had permanently wiped out the Democratic Sith. (In this analogy, Jimmy Carter would be the Sith Lord Kaan, I guess.)
Lucasfilm, National Archives and Records Administration
Yeah, seems about right.
So as our nation moved from the coked-up '80s to the heroin-drenched '90s, many Republicans assumed the presidency was theirs forever. After all, Bush I was a war veteran and had just led the nation through a successful mini-war. He should've been a safe bet for reelection. And then, out of nowhere (aka Arkansas), Bill Clinton popped up to drive his lightsaber of, um, public policy through the heart of the Reagan Revolution. To Republicans, they're not the Empire in this scenario; they're the rebels.
Bill and Hillary instantly became villains to the American right wing. To many Republicans, he was Darth Sidious, and she was Anakin Skywalker, cutting down a whole generation of Younglings -- who, in this increasingly tortured analogy, are Dan Quayle, I guess?
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
"Always two, there are."
In Star Wars, the surviving Jedi go into hiding. The Republican equivalent to that was apparently churning out a quarter-century's worth of hit pieces and conspiracy theories, all in the name of revenge. I'm not sure if that makes Matt Drudge Obi-Wan Kenobi or Yoda, but it probably means George W. Bush is ... Luke, right?
United States Department of Defense
His Death Star was the American economy.
So even though we're all watching the same movie, we're all seeing different bad guys. Democrats have been in power for long enough that they neatly fall into the Empire role from a Republican perspective. It's hard to picture someone as the righteous rebel when they're sitting on the throne. And to them, the only way to get their point across is to pull out their lightsaber and chop someone's goddamn hand off.
Everyone pictures themselves as the good guy -- the ragtag group of farmers and smugglers and sassy robots that pulls off the underdog victory by any means necessary. Right or wrong, this is the mindset Republicans are in right now. It's the mindset we're all in right now.
Robert Evans has a book about how sex, drugs and bad behavior built civilization: you can buy A Brief History of Vice now!
See what it's like on the other side in How Half Of America Lost Its F**king Mind and learn how to keep calm and debate on in 4 Things We Should Remember When Arguing About Politics.
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How did these hyper-specific tropes spread so quickly?
The Hollywood rumor mill has been playing games with celebrity deaths for at least a century.