This piece seems like one big tautological argument. You are basically saying “conspiracy theorists are conspiracy theorists.” That is not a big revelation, and comes as no surprise when conspiracy theorists are categorically irrational. It hardly matters what premises someone starts with if he or she then applies irrational thinking to them to reach conclusions. The conclusions may as well be randomly generated.

However, there is something even more interesting than this glaring tautology present in this piece to examine:

Another graph produced by Yi and his team, pictured below, brings the same data into clearer focus, highlighting differences in the severity of the echo chambers within which Trump and Clinton voters isolated themselves during the campaign.

Vice correspondent Isobel Yeung described the data as depicting users who are, “clustered into tribal networks.” Similarly, Yi observed that “Trump supporters are connected and very tightly clustered into their own information world.”

This suggests that there are very real differences among people on the left and right. First, the researchers themselves point out that Clinton supporters are less cohesive than Trump supporters and interact more outside their bubble than Trump supporters do. Thus, this in no way serves the narrative that trends among “conspiracy theorists” or any other subgroup of the far right or left are indicative of a generic horseshoe theory. While conspiracy theorists may, in fact, be indistinguishable, other elements of the far right and far left can be distinguished, and the researchers do, in fact, distinguish them from one another.

Another interesting aspect of this data is the huge skew you see among the “Follow neither” set in gray. They skew away from the far right, and the largest grouping of them is even to the left of most Clinton followers. We can speculate as to why these people follow neither Trump nor Clinton, but I am one of those people, and I don’t follow them or believe in their politics because I don’t trust that corrupt, lying oligarchs have my best interests in mind. I do not believe Clinton or Trump is in the political game to improve my life or the lives of millions of people who share a lot more in common with me than they do with either of them. I feel confident that American politics would be far better off if neither one of them had the power and influence that they do.

I could conjecture that “Follow neither” people are likely to be skeptical, less likely to follow authority figures, and are more likely to be interested in reality such as it is as opposed to political spin produced by either Clinton or Trump. Maybe some of that conjecture is correct. Maybe not. I can only speak for myself as a member of the “Follows neither” camp.

And, of course, this all ignores how this entire way of framing the far right and left is a huge distraction tactic. Instead of talking about who follows whom on social media or mining political cartoons for wisdom, just talk about the issues. How do people on the far right vs. far left feel about immigration? Prison? The minimum wage? War? A border wall? Healthcare? Racism? Gay marriage? Global warming? Science? Education? Imperialism? White supremacy? The war on Christmas? Sexual harassment?

Go issue-by-issue and see how your horseshoe looks.

Just the facts: Writer. Gamer. Feminist. Educated in Astrophysics. Professional Gambler. Student of Language. Satanist. Anarchist. He/Him.

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