However outlandish some of the foundational tenets of these ideas may seem, it would be dangerous to just laugh them off and to ignore this rise (or perhaps reanimation is the more accurate word) of the paranoid style in our politics—what Richard Hofstadter succinctly described as “the sense of heated exaggeration, suspiciousness, and conspiratorial fantasy.” Beyond even the untethering of truth from reality and the further hollowing out of our barely functioning democracy—how do you counter these ideas when the very act of countering them serves only to confirm them?—the spread of conspiratorial ideas, including but not limited to QAnon, has already led to violence and real harm.

Against this backdrop, Greene is both a preview and a warning. In past decades, her most likely trajectory would have just been to become yet another rightwing nut, but one unable to turn her hyperbole into clicks and a following. Today, however, as part of a lineage that began with the Tea Party and now enabled by a president whose rise mimics her own, Mrs. Greene is going to Washington.