This is what you need to know about Donald Trump's GOP. At the convention in Cleveland, Alex Jones, a prominent peddler of conspiracy theories, was in the hall as a special guest.
Jones sells paranoia. He is a 9/11 truther who claims that George W. Bush and Dick Cheney were in on the attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. He has promoted the idea that dissidents in America will be rounded up and placed in FEMA camps. His website maintains that the tragic Sandy Hook shooting was a hoax orchestrated so gun safety advocates could demonize gun owners. Jones tells his followers that the world is controlled by a global cabal--a coven of elites who can handpick the president of the United States.
And in Cleveland this week, Jones was a celebrity. (Trump has praised him in the past.) During the convention, he was often in the company of Roger Stone, a longtime adviser to Trump and veteran bad-boy political operative who also likes to sell conspiracy theories. Stone wrote one book asserting that LBJ killed JFK, and a more recent Stone volume claimed that Bill Clinton was a serial raper. Two years ago, Stone tweeted that Hillary Clinton should be executed for treason. In Cleveland, he organized the largest pro-Trump rally of the week, and he said he was meeting with Trump staffers.
The Stone-Jones vision is a dark one: Corrupt and tyrannical evildoers are in charge, and they must be removed -- by death, if necessary. The existence of the United States is threatened by enemies at home, and extreme measures are called for. And Trump has encouraged and exploited this fear and hatred.