It’s evident that Trump and most leading Republican politicians no longer envisage any scenario in which Trump will remain in office after January 20th. Biden won decisively, the election went too smoothly, and legal attacks on it in key states have been brushed off in the courts. Nevertheless, Republicans continue to cast doubt over the results. As emerges from a conversation between journalist Anne Applebaum and Ezra Klein, reported in Vox, the purpose of Republican leaders at this point is to cement in the minds of a very large cohort of voters, roughly equivalent to the Trump “base,” the false belief that, as Trump relentlessly tweeted, the mainstream media is fake news, and Democrats –– “the deep state” –– conspired to undermine Trump and steal the election from him. Republican leaders believe that keeping this block of voters and their rage and delusions intact will be useful in future campaigns.