"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. The Michigan freshman believes conspiracy theories fuel "incredibly unrealistic and unachievable expectations" and "a cycle of disillusionment and alienation" that could lead conservative voters to sit out elections or, in a worst-case scenario, turn to political violence, like what happened on January 6... Wood blames Trump for the spread of conspiracy theories within the party, and believes Republicans must repudiate Trump to defeat QAnon. Trump has long embraced conspiracy theories, including birtherism. He forcefully pushed the lie that the election was stolen from him and while he was in office, he praised QAnon followers for supporting him and refused to denounce the conspiracy theory. "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."