Then he lost. His response was to continue to claim that the election was stolen from him. In fact, it was to amplify those claims. He embraced a wide range of obviously bad arguments about what had occurred and demanded that his supporters — and, again trailing along behind, his party — agree. They did. Even after the insurrection at the Capitol on Jan. 6, violence inextricably linked to Trump’s claims and rhetoric, his party focused on punishing those who had dared to challenge Trump’s claims about the election being stolen — including McDaniel’s uncle Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah), the party’s 2012 presidential nominee — and passing new laws aimed at restricting voting, laws treating those false claims as true.

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