A wide array of theories, conspiracy theories included, have surfaced after Donald Trump scored a shock victory over favourite Hillary Clinton. The theories try to explain to people what happened, and more importantly what will happen now. And all of them have just contributed to make the waters muddier.
The sky came crashing down on diehard Hillary Clinton fans and the left leaning young idealists on Tuesday night. The elite and 'intellectual' media houses wallowed miserably in their sticky predictions and what had appeared to be bold and infallible endorsements.
Wild theories have incredible levels of currency now. They range from the chances of President Obama invoking martial law to prevent Trump assuming office, to Trump being impeached. Much is made of the fact that Clinton garnered more popular votes than Trump and that there is civic unrest after the election.
In fact, the post-election scene is not much different from the pre-election milieu -- one of intense distrust and utter disrespect for the opposition. So it has become a fair breeding ground for unverified, unfounded and sometimes bizarre 'news stories' to thrive.
President Obama referred to the "dust cloud of nonsense" on the eve of the election while speaking about the mushrooming of baseless viral posts on social platforms. "And people, if they just repeat attacks enough, and outright lies over and over again, as long as it's on Facebook and people can see it, as long as its on social media, people start believing it ... And it creates this dust cloud of nonsense," he said.
After the election, he himself is at the centre of wild speculations. Here are some of the conspiracy theories that feed on each other:
1. Obama could declare martial law
The bizarre theory has believers and followers on the Internet. One example is a story published by a website called Conservative Daily Post that tags the martial law story as 'Breaking'. The headline reads: BREAKING: OBAMA NOW CONSIDERING MARTIAL LAW BECAUSE OF MASS RIOTS. The story even proposes the theory that billionaire investor George Soros is funding the civil unrest that broke out after Trump's victory. It argues that Obama will have the unrest as the ruse for imposing martial law to keep Trump out of White House. The story says the president can suspend the transfer of power due to the fact that there is a "National Emergency. There are numerous other similar reports by little known publications and all of them are gingerly lapped up in the social domain.
2. Trump will be impeached
Online searches for "how to impeach a president" rose 4,850 percent after Donald Trump won the presidency, reports said. That was similar to the surge in visitors to the Canadian immigration website on Tuesday night when Trump started taking significant lead over Hillary Clinton.
However, the subject was taken up seriously in the law fraternity. According to University of Utah law professor Christopher Lewis Peterson, Congress can impeach Trump for fraud and racketeering under the standards set by Article II of the Constitution.
"Unlike his promised crimes yet to come, the illegal acts in Trump's high pressure wealth seminars have already occurred. Indeed, a federal judge appointed under Article III of the U.S. Constitution has already determined that Trump's alleged actions, if true, constitute fraud and racketeering," Peterson wrote, IB Times reported earlier.
3. Facebook cost Hillary the election
For weeks, the outlandish stories trending on the social media platform were the subject of debate. After the social media giant fired human editors on its trending team, the algorithms took the role only to be fooled by extremely partisan click bait news sites.
Some of the headlines that were lapped up included "Hillary indictment imminent" and "Obama caught on live TV telling illegal aliens it's OK to vote."
Eventfully, days after the election, Facebook has acknowledged it has to be more effective on fake news. CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the company will "work even harder".
As much as 38 percent of posts made by three prominent rightwing political groups on the social networking platform contained "false or misleading information," UK's Guardian reported citing a BuzzFeed analysis. In comparison to this, the viral posts made by left wing groups had similarly misleading information in 19 percent of the posts they made.
4. 'Villain' James Comey
The FBI director's sensational email to the Senate implicating Clinton yet again in the private server controversy just 11 days left for the election is widely seen as helping the Republicans sink her. The headline of a Mother Jones opinion piece titled 'F*** You, James Comey' summarise the potent body of thought linking him to the democrat's loss.
5 Russia and Putin
This election was mainly fought over emails. First the private email server Clinton held as Secretary of State and investigation she faced over it. Second, hacked email goldmine belonging to Clinton campaign chair John Podesta. The Podesta emails made sure there was a steady stream or damning revelations about Clinton, her primary campaign and the Clinton Foundation.
If it was surreal listening to Trump eulogising Russian President Vladimir Putin and him seeking Russian hackers' help in decrypting Clinton secrets, it was plain bizarre to see all that eventually handing him the presidency. The NY Times carried a report in late October that cited private security researchers saying Podesta's emails were hacked by Russia's foreign intelligence service, the GRU.
The constant supply of negative news on Clinton this hack supplied prepared the ground for a sucker punch in the form of another email - James' Comey's -- too close to the election day.