Last year I caught wind of concern on the far right about a "NAFTA Superhighway," an (alleged) gargantuan new road, four football fields wide, that would plow straight up through the country from the Mexican border, through Texas, through Minnesota, all the way up into Canada. Foreigners would own parts of it! The World Bank would settle disputes about its use! The last one out, take down the flag!

Today in The Nation, the inimitable Chris Hayes takes a long, close look at the highway project, and finds that — you’ll never believe this — it’s collective ‘winger hallucination:

… this NAFTA Superhighway, as it is called, is just the beginning, the first stage of a long, silent coup aimed at supplanting the sovereign United States with a multinational North American Union.

Even as this plot unfolds in slow motion, the mainstream media are silent; politicians are in denial. Yet word is getting out. Like samizdat, info about the highway has circulated in niche media platforms old and new, on right-wing websites like WorldNetDaily, in the pages of low-circulation magazines like the John Birch Society’s The New American and increasingly on the letters to the editor page of local newspapers.

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Grassroots movement exposes elite conspiracy and forces politicians to respond: It would be a heartening story but for one small detail.

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There’s no such thing as a proposed NAFTA Superhighway.

Read the whole thing for a fascinating look at the way the revanchist conservative base, blind to so many real problems, creates serial episodes of nationalist paranoia.

Also interesting: the way nationalism puts conservative politicians in a tight spot, pitting two core constituencies — God/guns types and corporatists — against one another. Discuss.