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One Republican’s Lonely Fight Against a Flood of Disinformation

“I had a colleague of mine pat me on the shoulder and say: ‘Denver, you’re just too paranoid. You’re killing yourself for the rest of your life politically by going after the big man like this,’” Mr. Riggleman recalled.

When he returned to Virginia for good in January, he mentioned he typically felt simply as remoted. Family members, former constituents and patrons on the distillery insisted that the election had been stolen from Mr. Trump. And they couldn’t be talked out of it, irrespective of how exhausting he tried.

He recalled a current dialog with one couple he’s buddies with that he mentioned was particularly exasperating.

“I go over stats,” he mentioned. “I go over figures. I go over the 50 states, how that actually works. How machines that aren’t connected are very hard to hack. How you’d have to pay off hundreds of thousands of people to do this.”

“Did not convince them,” he added.

Other buddies of his, some of whom are additionally members of the rising group of former Republican lawmakers now publicly criticizing Mr. Trump, mentioned that many conservative politicians noticed no incentive in making an attempt to dispel disinformation even once they comprehend it’s false.

“What some of these guys have told me privately is it’s still kind of self-preservation,” mentioned Joe Walsh, a former congressman from Illinois who ran a short-lived primary campaign in opposition to Mr. Trump final year. “‘I want to hang onto the gig. And this is a fever, it will break.’”

That is mistaken, Mr. Walsh mentioned, as a result of he sees no breaking the spell Mr. Trump has over Republican voters anytime quickly. “It’s done, and it was done a few years ago,” he mentioned.