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Think QAnon Is on the Fringe? So Was the Tea Party

  • August 13, 2020

The other big difference, of course, is who’s in the Oval Office. Mr. Trump has not directly addressed QAnon, but he has conspicuously avoided denouncing it, and has shared dozens of posts from believers on his social media accounts.

Geoffrey Kabaservice, director of political studies at the Niskanen Center, a libertarian think tank, said that while QAnon would likely not take over the Republican Party as thoroughly as the Tea Party did in 2010, it could continue growing if top Republicans were unwilling or unable to contain it.

“It won’t naturally be flushed out of the system,” he said. “The Republican Party would have to take active steps to flush it out of the system. And that likely won’t happen under President Donald Trump.”

Bill Kristol, the conservative commentator and critic of Mr. Trump, was more skeptical about QAnon’s influence on the Republican Party. He pointed out that there had always been extreme outliers in both parties of Congress whose influence tended to be diluted by more moderate voices over time.

But that was in the pre-Trump era, he admitted. Who knew what QAnon might become, with a presidential stamp of approval?

“Trump’s embrace is what makes this different, and more worrisome,” Mr. Kristol said. “If Trump is the president, and he’s embracing this, are we so confident that it’s not the future?”

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