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Politics A GOP congressman said so many Republican voters now believe in the QAnon conspiracy theory it could destroy the party

13:25  11 april  2021
13:25  11 april  2021 Source:   businessinsider.com

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Republican Rep. Peter Meijer has a warning for his party : He fears baseless conspiracy theories like QAnon will destroy the GOP from within if Republicans don't decisively and unequivocally condemn the false and dangerous beliefs and take action to stop their spread. The lonely voices within the GOP who continue to take a stand must now grapple with what it would take for the party to turn away from conspiracy theories . Most recognize they face a difficult fight, but some hope they may be able to grow their ranks in Congress in the future, and one upcoming congressional election in Texas will

Greene has been immersed in the world of QAnon conspiracy theorists , calling the mythical Q a "patriot" and the theory is "something worth listening to and paying attention to." House GOP leaders are backing the runner-up and Greene's runoff opponent, John Cowan, and distancing themselves But it 's Boebert's victory in Colorado that indicates that, at least among some Republicans , the QAnon conspiracy theory is a new item on the menu of political issues primary voters are attuned to. In that May appearance on Steel Truth, Boebert said she was encouraged by the possibility the conspiracy

a man standing in front of a mirror posing for the camera: Crowds gather outside the U.S. Capitol for the © Robert Nickelsberg/Getty Images Crowds gather outside the U.S. Capitol for the "Stop the Steal" rally on January 06, 2021 in Washington, DC. Robert Nickelsberg/Getty Images
  • GOP Rep. Peter Meijer has warned that the QAnon movement could destroy the GOP from within.
  • Meijer said "a significant plurality, if not potentially a majority" of GOP supporters believed in QAnon.
  • Meijer is one of a small group of GOP lawmakers who've taken a stand against QAnon.
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GOP Rep. Peter Meijer has warned that the rise of the QAnon conspiracy theory movement could destroy the Republican Party from within in remarks to CNN.

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A Republican candidate who subscribes to the baseless QAnon conspiracy theory prevailed Tuesday night in a House primary runoff in Georgia.

Nearly two dozen Republicans across the country who have engaged with the QAnon conspiracy will also appear on the ballot this November in their congressional districts – or in two cases, statewide as Senate candidates – as well as one unaffiliated independent candidate and one Independent Party candidate. In the three years since the conspiracy was born, QAnon has grown from an American virtual cult to a global phenomenon. QAnon beliefs aren’t just divorced from reality but can instigate real-world violence; The FBI warned last year that QAnon posed a potential domestic terrorist threat.

Meijer is one of few Republicans who've spoken out against the rise of conspiracy-theory-driven beliefs among a swath of the GOP grassroots. He was one of only 10 Republicans in the House who voted to impeach Donald Trump for inciting the Capitol riot on January 6.

"The fact that a significant plurality, if not potentially a majority, of our voters have been deceived into this creation of an alternate reality could very well be an existential threat to the party," Meijer, a freshman congressman from Michigan, told the network.

a group of people standing in front of a crowd: GOP Rep. Peter Meijer of Michigan said lawmakers are taking new precautions amid fears of violence following President Donald Trump's second impeachment. Jeff Kowalsky/Getty Images © Jeff Kowalsky/Getty Images GOP Rep. Peter Meijer of Michigan said lawmakers are taking new precautions amid fears of violence following President Donald Trump's second impeachment. Jeff Kowalsky/Getty Images

The QAnon movement emerged from messaging boards 4chan and 8chan, to be adopted and promoted by Trump allies on the far right as it spread through the Republican Party. A Republican congresswoman, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Wood of Georgia, pushed the conspiracy theory before her election last year though in recent weeks has claimed she does not believe in it.

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In general, QAnon believes Trump is in the middle of a biblical war against a “deep state,” satanic cabal of baby-eating, child sex-traffickers led by prominent members of the Democratic party , entertainers who espouse liberal opinions, anybody who mentions “pizza,” and authoritative sources who relay credible information that may cast a negative light on the president. Perhaps more importantly, however, is that QAnon is starting to gain mainstream acceptance in the Republican party . In addition to Trump’s aforementioned encouraging remarks about the conspiracy theory

Experts in conspiracy theories point out belief in QAnon is far from common. The largest Facebook groups had approximately 200,000 members in them before Facebook banned them. When Twitter took similar action, it limited features for approximately 150,000 accounts. While most QAnon followers will not engage in violence, many already have, or have attempted to, which is why the FBI identified the movement as a potential domestic terror threat. Participation in QAnon also often involves vicious online harassment campaigns against perceived enemies, which can have serious consequences for


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Adherents claim, groundlessly, that a Satanic cabal of Democrats and Hollywood stars secretly manipulate world events and run child trafficking networks. They revere Donald Trump as a savior figure, who will dismantle the cabal.

But the belief of adherents that Trump would halt Joe Biden's inauguration and defeat his foes in a day of violent reckoning has failed to materialize, and Meijer warned that the dispair could fuel political violence.

"When we say QAnon, you have the sort of extreme forms, but you also just have this softer, gradual undermining of any shared, collective sense of truth," Meijer said. He told CNN that conspiracy theories fuel "incredibly unrealistic and unachievable expectations" and "a cycle of disillusionment and alienation" that could lead conservative supporters not to vote or could even lead to more violence like the January 6 attack.

Adam Kinzinger Warns Fear and Conspiracies Might Get Votes but Is 'Destructive to Democracy'

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"Once the conspiracy theorists become the elected officials, you either need to say 'Forget it , we're never touching anything, let the conspiracy theories reign,' or they need to go in the other direction and say , 'We need to no longer give elected officials an exemption anymore,'" said Dave Karpf, a This new crop of political figures could test the limits of those policies. Marjorie Taylor Greene, a GOP congressional nominee in a solidly Republican district, has expressed support for the QAnon conspiracy theory and has said , falsely, that there is "an Islamic invasion into our government offices."

All are references to a conspiracy theory gripping fringe pro-Trump activists - albeit a growing number of them, including celebrities, media personalities and influential social media accounts. It 's nebulous and continuously changing to adapt to current events, but the overarching conspiracy theory has been given a name: " QAnon ". The timing of the conspiracy theory 's origins, he says , is no accident. During the Mueller investigation, "people were really looking for reasons to not think that the president is somehow in the employ of Russia, or that something nefarious had happened during the campaign."

Rep. Adam Kinzinger is another GOP congressman who has publicly criticized the movement and has formed a PAC to fight the rise of conspiracy theories in the GOP and provide backing to anti-Trump Republicans facing primary challenges.

He told CNN that the QAnon movement could fuel conflict: "Do I think there's going to be a civil war? No. Do I rule it out? No. Do I think it's a concern, do I think it's something we have to be worried about? Yeah."

In the wake of the Capitol riot, a small group of GOP lawmakers has called for the party to distance itself from Donald Trump's legacy. In an op-ed in January, Republican Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska warned that QAnon was destroying the GOP.

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Florida congressman Matt Gaetz’s widening sex scandal is just the latest in a string of humiliating moments for a party overtaken by grifters and conspiracy-loving cranks. Gaetz and House colleagues like Marjorie Taylor Greene and Jim Jordan may be media power players in the new, Trump-obsessed GOP, but all of that sleaze and QAnon craziness is exhausting Republican voters. Republican obstructionism sent the party down a dark and destructive path. Without any institutional values to slow their slouch toward Gomorrah, the party is incapable of winning back voters they’ve lost.

usr: 0
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