Part, as I see it, of a general malaise in our current world. "Everyone is entitled to their opinion" has become "any opinion is as good as another" irrespective of the weight of corroborating support.
More, there have been four years of any "alternative reality" being discounted as "fake news". Alternatives to any narrative have easily been thrown aside, no matter how cogent, no matter how real.
And not to forget the man at the top, Donald Trump, who has conducted the orchestra.
Maybe we all prefer a comforting lie to the truth. But reality bites in the end, though I fear that after a lifetime of jeering at losers it is beyond Mr Trump's capacity to accept defeat. All he now has is the belief that only a battle has been lost, not the war. Alas, four more combative years before he seeks once again the Republican nomination.
I’ve given this much thought in the past several hours, and I think it comes down to religion to be honest. Let me explain.
Religion began as a way to explain the unexplainable, which is why we at once worshiped the sun, turned constellations into divine beings, thought the heavens rotated around the earth, and believed we were created from dust and a rib. But as science explained away most of these things, some beliefs yet still remained. While some of this was because unexplainable things remain, religion is hard to break even in the light of such science when it is tied up into doctrine, morality, and fears, particularly when people remain uneducated in science. And to add to that, we have a long history of rulers and governments that also use religion to tap the passion of voters and their support, a practice that is as almost as old as religion itself.
Abrahamic religions in particular continue to follow this for the most part, and in them we are taught things that cannot be proven or even seen, and probably never will be. The very idea itself that there is a single omnipotent being that is orchestrating everything requires complete faith rather than a belief based on scientific data. Then you add in belief in intervention & miracles, scripture & doctrine, heaven & hell, and it gets wholly sidetracked into a complete belief system that runs, at the very least, parallel to science, if not, at times, contrary to it.
In the USA in the past few decades, it is the Republican Party that has catered to our evangelical (which is a modern version of Biblical literalism/fundamentalism) Christian base, and with it, an overhwelming majority of its followers. Therefore, the Republican Party is the one that has a body of followers that puts a belief system that is apart from science on top of their mindset, whereas the Democratic Party is the one that has a larger body of followers that do not. And if you have a group of people that are more prone to believing in this alternate reality outside of science, you have a group of people that can be more open to believing things that can be made up apart from facts and data when and if they want to.
Enter Donald Trump. Trump was an problem as far as the evangelical Christian Right is concerned. Here we have a moralistic belief system that tells you not to lie, tells you not to commit adultery, among other sins, and it was obvious to everyone with an impartial mindset that not only was Trump openly doing these things, but he was not going to confess about it. Christians could obviously jump ship and not vote for him, problem solved. However, due to several decades at this point of being catered by the Republican Party resulting in abortion and gay rights becoming a political issue as much as a religious issue, and resulting in things like climate change, immigration, and other issues being a religious issue as much as a political issue, Christians saw a greater sin in doing this. So instead, they had to compromise their beliefs in such a way as to make voting for and following Trump an acceptable practice, a lesser of two evils, a Cyrus-type situation, a denial, or a combination or other compromise - opening up a Pandora’s box of alternating what was already an alternate reality mindset to begin with. And 4 years later of following Trump and his constant lies and threats and casting the other side as evil, this grip of reality slipped further and further. It is no wonder why QAnon has taken off. And it probably is less surprising why people, en mass, are ready to accept wild theories at this point, no matter how much of it is simply made up manure, just to keep what they want rather than accept hard data-driven truth.
I was once an evangelical Christian, and grew up in it, believing in it wholeheartedly until I was deep into my twenties. What tore me apart from it however, was the additional scientific upbringing I had and a belief in the importance of the scientific method and data. I had an astronomer grandfather and mathematician father and they instilled in me this from an early age. And I am thankful for it. Eventually as I went through my own education, I began to see how each belief system was molded and had to step outside to see what was going on. However, not everyone is rooted in science. Many are simply brought up to believe in the primary importance in the religion of their parents and are not as encouraged to take as science seriously as I was, or even take it at all.