How the left lost its mind

Meanwhile, old-school platforms like Reddit and Daily Kos continue to host freewheeling forums that attract the kind of occasionally enlightening, occasionally deranged conversations that tend to thrive in those environments. And the HuffPost contributor platform—an un-vetted, unedited section of the site that operates apart from its professional journalism—has been a vehicle for some of the most bizarre, and outright craziest, content to go viral on the left in recent years.

Just this month, editors were forced to delete a contributor post that began, “Impeachment and removal from office are only the first steps; for America to be redeemed, Donald Trump must be prosecuted for treason and — if convicted in a court of law — executed.” And throughout last year’s primaries, Seth Abramson, a creative writing professor at the University of New Hampshire, used his HuffPost perch to churn out a procession of increasingly delusional blog posts explaining why Bernie Sanders would inevitably win the Democratic nomination.

Abramson’s arguments not only denied political realities and delegate math as the race wore on; they often denied basic human logic. But thanks to the hordes of Bernie fans desperately scouring the internet for some hope to cling to, Abramson’s posts consistently went uber-viral. (He eventually wrote a post defending this shameless play for clicks as a form of “experimental journalism” that embraced “the multi-dimensionality of metanarrative.” The Washington Post’s Matt O’Brien responded via Twitter: “Area Academic Writes Barely Comprehensible Defense of Lying.”) These days, Abramson’s main platform is Twitter, where he has over 150,000 followers, and specializes in imminent-indictment stories in the style of criminal complaints.