Why is the alt-right obsessed with pedophilia?

The episode is part of a troubling new trend among social media users, conspiracy theorists and some journalists on the far right: Leveling false accusations of pedophilia against Democrats and liberals, in hopes of smearing them. The charge has frequently been made by Cernovich, conspiracy theorist Jack Posobiec, who recently started a pro-Trump super PAC, and InfoWars founder Alex Jones, the most prominent conspiracy theorist in the nation and an energetic supporter of the president.

Lawrence Rosenthal, who heads the Berkeley Center for Right-Wing Studies at the University of California at Berkeley, speculates that “fever dream projections” regarding pedophilia may have to do with concerns about the widespread erosion of traditional family patterns, the kind Republicans frequently discussed in the “culture war” years of the 1990s and early 2000s.

Like many people I spoke to for this piece, Rosenthal struggled to understand the right’s fixation on pedophilia.