Trump, white nationalism’s favorite thinker, and America’s premier crackpot make strange bedfellows

The trio share few ideological affinities, but that doesn’t matter.

Alex Jones, and american conspiracy theorist, radio show host, is escorted out of a crowd of protesters after he said he was attacked in Public Square on Tuesday, July 19, 2016, in Cleveland, during the second day of the Republican convention. CREDIT: AP Photo/John Minchillo
Alex Jones, and american conspiracy theorist, radio show host, is escorted out of a crowd of protesters after he said he was attacked in Public Square on Tuesday, July 19, 2016, in Cleveland, during the second day of the Republican convention. CREDIT: AP Photo/John Minchillo

Aleksandr Dugin — a Russian theorist sometimes called “Putin’s Rasputin” because of his Kremlin ties — is the white nationalist movement’s favorite philosopher and shares certain ideological affinities with Steve Bannon, a top adviser to President-elect Donald Trump. If this wasn’t worrying enough, Dugin and Bannon share a personal connection with one of America’s foremost crackpot conspiracy theorists: radio host and Infowars.com proprietor Alex Jones.

According to Jones, the Oklahoma City bombing, the attacks on Sept. 11, the Boston bombing, and the Sandy Hook Massacre were all “false flag” operations committed by the U.S. government. The Southern Poverty Law Center describes him as “almost certainly the most prolific conspiracy theorist in contemporary America” and says he “may be the one with the most far-reaching influence in the nation’s history.” He’s not quite a white nationalist in the traditional sense, but he embraces certain ideals of the alt-right, including views that are anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim, and the notion that white people are victims in modern society.

In December of last year, Trump made a 30 minute appearance by telephone on Jones’ radio program. “Your reputation is amazing,” Trump told Jones, a man who believes that President Obama is “a hardcore Wahhabist” and gay marriage is a globalist conspiracy to destroy families. “I will not let you down.”

Jones also claims that Trump called to thank him after the election.

“He said, ‘Listen, Alex, I just talked to kings and queens of the world, world leaders, you name it,’” Jones said. “But he said, ‘It doesn’t matter, I wanted to talk to you, to thank your audience, and I’ll be on the next few weeks to thank them.’ I said, ‘Is this is a private call?’ And he said, ‘No, I want to thank your viewers, thank your listeners for standing up for this republic, we know what you did early on, throughout this campaign, standing up for what’s right.’”

Jones’ connection to Trump parallels his relationship with Dugin. The two don’t share much in the way of ideology; Dugin is a traditionalist who wants to destroy American liberalism, whereas Jones is more of an anti-government zealot with libertarian tendencies.

Yet the two men nonetheless amplify each other’s messages. Infowars has published Dugin’s work. And Dugin, in turn, celebrated Trump’s victory with a video address that praised Jones.

In the video, Dugin specifically named Jones and called Infowars, “the most powerful resource of true information in the U.S.” (In his defense, he has argued in the past that all truth is relative).

“The idea that [Jones] and Dugin would have much in common is strange to me but that’s how it goes in conspiratorial circles,” Mark Fenster, a law professor at the University of Florida and author of the book Conspiracy Theories: Secrecy and Power in American Culture, told ThinkProgress. “The world needs to be purified of conspiratorial elements.”

Fenster says Jones has “a certain classical liberal take on things.” Aside from their support for Trump, their shameless efforts at self-aggrandizement, and their shared penchant for loony conspiracies, Dugin and Jones have little in common.

Trump is a populist real-estate mogul from New York, Jones, a conspiracy spreading radio host from Texas, and Dugin, a philosopher with fascist beliefs from Russia. The trio make strange bedfellows — their only shared ideology seemingly an overstated appreciation of themselves and each other — but they find a middle ground on the fringes of far right. And they are all beloved by white supremacists.

In Fenster’s view, the main thing motivating the symbiotic relationship between Jones and Dugin is the same force that draws Jones and Trump together: ego.

“It all seems weird and typical that people on the outer reaches of the far, far right find alliances with each other,” Fenster said. “Even when they seem not be alike in many ways.”

Trump popularized many of Jones’ conspiracy theories throughout his campaign, bringing them to a wider audience and more into the mainstream. For those wondering where Trump got the idea that Hillary Clinton took performance enhancing drugs during the debates or that he won the popular vote , look no further than Jones’ Infowars.

Long before the election though, Jones noticed Trump grabbing onto his ideas.

“It is surreal to talk about issues here on air, and then, word-for-word, hear Trump say it two days later,” Jones said on his radio show sometime before the election. Vice News also took notice and compiled a video last week, showing 11 instances when Trump repeated claims popularized by Jones.

As for Jones and Dugin, they came together on Russian television Tuesday to discuss the American elections.

This is part of a series focusing on the links between white nationalists in Russia and the West. Read part one here, part two here, and part three here.