Conspiratorial thinking: Why conspiracy theories are hard to eliminate, even before Donald Trump

The beliefs that prompted hundreds of people to violently break into the U.S. Capitol earlier this month are not the kind that can be easily explained away.

“If the worldview is powerful people are lying and cheating, how do you get past that?” said Joe Uscinski, an associate professor of political science at the University of Miami who studies conspiracy theories.

Uscinski’s recent book, “Conspiracy Theories: A Primer,” argues that conspiracy theories entered mainstream politics with the election of President Donald Trump in 2016. But conspiratorial thinking by supporters of the loser of an election existed long before then, and those who unlawfully entered the chambers of the House

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