According to a report from the Daily Beast, the rise of QAnon conservatives is setting off a battle for the future of the Republican Party as the GOP leadership attempts to make plans for life after Donald Trump.
With the president ousted and his fans bereft about his election loss, members of the conspiracy-minded wing of the party who believe there is a "deep state" that controls the government have taken Trump's assertion that the election was stolen from him and voting can't be trusted to heart. That, in turn, has GOP leaders frantic that Republican voter turnout will be down in Georgia and could cost Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) control of the Senate -- the GOP's last base of power for the next two years after losing the White House.
Beyond that, Republicans are faced with internal turmoil as the party splinters into one faction that trades in conspiracy theories and another that wants to govern.
As the Beast's Will Sommer reports, conservative outsiders like attorney Lin Wood and fired Trump attorney Sidney Powell have become the center of the QAnon universe as they attempt to make the case for the president that the election was stolen. That has conspiracy-minded conservatives and GOP lawmakers at each other's throats.
"Most Republican officials were happy to ignore Wood’s hapless attempts to save the election for Donald Trump, which involved wild allegations of a deep, corrupt scheme to shift thousands of votes to Joe Biden. Telling his fans not to vote for Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, however, appeared to be a step too far," the report states. "Within hours, Breitbart denounced Wood as a former Democratic donor in an attack that was picked up by the Trump campaign. Soon after, other conservatives were piling on too, with Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX) accusing Wood of being a plant and Rush Limbaugh and Roger Stone distancing themselves from him."
According to Sommer, the fight presages "... a new problem that it [the GOP] faces, mainly the rise of an aggressive, increasingly assertive QAnon wing. The GOP is now divided between conspiracy theorists and those who want to keep at least a toehold in reality."
The report notes that "Republican officials in a bind," and face a choice between keeping "up the farce and order endless probes into the 2020 election, or face the wrath of QAnon believers and other Trump supporters living in their individual fantasy lands."
That could also lead to bizarre challenges from the QAnon wing that can cripple future elections as characters like Wood try to draw off conservative voters to go elsewhere, with the attorney telling a cheering crowd in Georgia, "Maybe it’s time to look beyond the Democrats and the Republicans. Maybe it’s time for the party of the people."
You can read more here.