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Far-Right U.S. Legislators Using Disinformation to Gain, Strengthen Positions

Even as acolytes of former United States president Donald Trump consider running to replace retiring Republicans, his allies already in the U.S. government are trying to throw up barriers to passing broadly popular legislation — but all are leaning on the same weaponized disinformation and conspiracy theories to do so.

Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, a far-right Republican who is perhaps best known for her embrace of QAnon and election trutherism, acknowledged that she was attempting to force roll call votes in a statement that was riddled with disinformation:

The American people deserve to know where their member of Congress stands with a roll call vote,” Greene said in a statement to CNN. “While thousands of illegal aliens are invading Biden’s open border, American kids are losing their education with closed schools, thousands of small businesses have been forced to shut down, the People really don’t care about politicians whining about voting and doing their job for 10 hours.”

However, the suspension bills before Congress on Monday had nothing to do with the topics Greene claims she was focused on. Instead, they addressed issues like child abuse treatment and prevention, literacy and credit management. Three of the bills were even sponsored by Greene’s fellow Republicans.

Roll call votes can add several hours to otherwise unremarkable and bipartisan votes, particularly during a pandemic and related restrictions.

Meanwhile, some of Greene’s fellow supporters of Donald Trump are responding to several Republican retirements by announcing their intentions to run for higher office via newly-open seats and leaning on those same widely discredited, weaponized conspiracy theories — particularly the lie that the November 2020 presidential election was somehow stolen from Donald Trump — to help their chances to further gain or consolidate power:

But even in states won by President Joe Biden, such as Arizona and Georgia, some of the former president’s most loyal devotees are willing to test their political fortunes, hoping to seize on a deep but baseless belief on the right that the election was stolen.

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During the Trump years, a cohort of House Republicans built national profiles and padded their war chests defending the ex-president throughout multiple investigations and impeachments. Now, amid an intense internal debate over the future of the GOP, some of those same lawmakers are looking to use their newfound stardom on the right as a springboard to higher office — even after a pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6 and the GOP lost the House, Senate and White House under Trump.

Among the Republicans considering a Senate run are Brooks, who spearheaded the effort to challenge the election results while Shelby voted to certify Biden’s win; Rep. Andy Biggs of Arizona, who chairs the ultra-conservative House Freedom Caucus and hails from a state where the legislature amplified Trump’s false voter fraud claims; and Rep. Warren Davidson of Ohio, a hardliner who replaced former Speaker John Boehner in Congress.

However, strategists and analysts caution that an appeal to conspiracy-driven, confrontational far-right politics could — as well as being an enormously destructive force — also be a major boon to the Democratic Party as voters across the United States, fed up with violent rhetoric and weaponized lies, look elsewhere for represention.