“There is a violent anarchy to QAnon that is rooted in him,” said Mike Rothschild, author of a book examining and debunking some of the most notorious conspiracy theories.
How deep QAnon has penetrated the GOP infrastructure is an open question. Also, the way Trump’s departure from the presidency and his expulsion from most social media will affect the scope of the conspiracy within the Republican Party.
“These things have always been part of the stew,” said Liam Donovan, a Republican strategist in Washington. “Trump just increased the heat and brought it to the surface.
The value of courting QAnon, as far as Republican leaders like Trump saw it, was in providing votes from a disgruntled, passionate support base. The risk was that they would get a seat at the table.
Now that they are there, it will be much harder to displace them.
“You can’t just repel QAnon’s followers,” Rothschild said. “We’ve seen, certainly in the Georgia runoff, where those boundaries are thin, you can’t annoy 1 or 2 percent of your constituents.”
Focus on QAnon
QAnon’s commitment will remain within the Republican Party long after Trump leaves.
First, it is already in the party’s farming system. In the 2020 elections, dozens of Republican candidates for local competitions across the country flirted with conspiracy theory. Dozens of others had adjacent views and continued other Trump-inspired conspiracy theories, from robbery against alleged mail ballot fraud to wearing masks. Many of these candidates lost races in pro-democracy areas, but others, such as the curious Dave Armstrong of the Wisconsin State Assembly, won comfortably.
And now, some of these conspiratorial politicians have moved to the major leagues in Washington.
“It’s like Trump looking for the most gullible members, finding the Focus on Freedom and deciding that even they’re not ready for this job, so he prepared this mutated QAnon cacoon,” said a GOP operative.
“Give them a chance before you say what you believe they have done and what they will do,” said McCarthy, a senior Republican in the House of Reporters. (The GOP operative describes McCarthy as a “playing foot” with politicians supporting QAnon.)
There are many Republicans in the conference who are concerned about the notoriety of the “companions” of these conspiracy theorists and the long-term impact of this on the party.
“If management doesn’t hold certain members accountable, there will be a real problem,” a Republican House member told CNN this week.
Mia Love, a former Republican from Utah and a CNN contributor, said the inability to deal resolutely with toxic members puts the unity of the GOP conference at risk.
“Kevin, whom I adore, whom I respect very much, the only advice I can give him if he wants to keep the conference, he has to deal with it,” Love said.
“Not only are there some voters who get into this theory and so politicians don’t reject it. The people in power accept it,” said Seth Musket, a professor of political science at the University of Denver. “It seems to be a path to success in the Republican Party.”
“Everything happened for everything”
Trump’s centrality to QAnon’s theory cannot be overestimated, so the question of the movement’s remaining power is open. However, while he was president, party leaders essentially welcomed conspiracy theorists in the coalition.
In the Republican Republic, the appearance of candidates for QAnon was either slightly condemned or tolerated. While Republican House leaders opposed Green on Georgia’s competitive primary course in Georgia and condemned insulting comments she made about blacks and Democratic Democratic donors, the National Republican Campaign Committee eventually spent thousands of dollars in support of the election. you are. The NRCC also supported Boebert’s joint election campaign, and both were backed by Trump.
Whether the conspiracy will survive the next few years as a force in the party depends in part on how long Trump remains on the scene. For years, the president has been a key player in the QAnon story, and experts say it’s uncertain how believers will take him into account since he’s no longer president.
Appearing in far-right online forums in mid-2017, QAnon presented itself as a way out for Trump supporters seeking a unifying explanation for the administration’s failures or disappointments. By the time the coronavirus pandemic was in full swing, QAnon had taken on much of the far-right conspiracy theories and concerns, Rothschild said.
“With the pandemic, everything happened for everything,” he told CNN. “It’s turning into Bill Gates, it’s turning into China, it’s turning into 5G. It’s all kinds of mess together and it’s becoming impossible to separate.”
As Trump stepped up into his own fake conspiracy, theorizing about “stolen elections,” there was a willing and willing community of people online ready to expose these lies and act on them. The president’s Republican and conservative allies, reinforcing his false election claims, gave more legitimacy to a movement of people who not only believed in a conspiracy – they were preparing to fight it.
But the January 6 attack on the Capitol showed Republicans and the country the consequences of tolerating conspiracy theories without fully understanding them or justifying the threat of danger. For some, it was a wake-up call that the infection had spread and could not be controlled.
But enough to wake up? The slippery slope of QAnon’s “support” means that politicians – even Green and Böbert – support the plausible denial that they do not comply with QAnon’s violent end.
“As far as Congress is concerned, it’s mostly in the form of ‘just asking questions’ or ‘giving a vote’ on behalf of the electorate,” Donovan said. “For those in which this is a voting electorate, there is little incentive to stand up to the people who vote for you. So I suspect that in most cases this will be laissez-faire until another case in which he raises his head and cannot be ignored. “