“President Obama did not end the “birther” movement today. Hours after the president released his long-form birth certificate—years after releasing the short-form one that proved he was a citizen—the issue had already evolved. Republicans who’d been on the hook demanding proof of his citizenship wondered why it took so long. People with too much time on their hands—in other words, the majority of people surfing the Internet for this kind of stuff—were combing the document for proof of forgery.

“So Obama did not end birtherism. He did end one era of conspiracy theories about him—the fifth era, by my count. And maybe all he did was make sure the sixth era got started with as loud and embarrassing a bang as possible. If you understand how this started, and who played the biggest roles in elevating it, maybe you can also understand why it’s not going to end.”

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