How deeply far-right conspiracy theories take hold within the Republican Party, and what the party does to either embrace or reject them, will have major consequences for the future of the GOP and American politics.
Meijer is far from the only Republican in Congress disturbed by the rise of QAnon, but he is one of a rare few willing to publicly and repeatedly denounce it.
CNN reached out to the offices of more than a dozen GOP members of Congress to request interviews for this story, and only two agreed to participate.
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 serve as an early test of whether an anti-conspiracy theory message can resonate in a red district.
‘A long-term battle for the soul of the party’
Rep. Adam Kinzinger, who also voted to impeach Trump, may be the loudest voice within the Republican Party taking on QAnon.
“I think he bears direct responsibility for the rise of conspiratorial thinking in the Republican Party and the conservative movement as a whole,” Wood said in an interview. “The big lie that he promulgated after Election Day did a whole lot of harm to our civic institutions.”
Kinzinger hopes that whatever the outcome in the special election, his endorsement will show like-minded Republicans they’re not alone and encourage others to run for office on a similar platform.
“I think what’s important is that people see there are people out there that support you, that will back you if you do the right thing,” he said. “It’s a long-term battle for the soul of the party.”
The Illinois congressman describes the danger he believes QAnon poses in stark terms, saying he’s…