In the wake of an emotionally charged event or situation, attempts will be made to explain how it came to be. Those whose self-esteem is enhanced by the straightforward explanation will latch onto that one, while those who are suffering from cognitive dissonance will resort to a more complicated explanation that leaves their ego intact.
For example, if one presidential candidate gives the other the biggest schlonging in recent memory, supposedly against all odds -- the straightforward explanation is that the winner was more in tune with the will of the people, campaigned better, and was a better person. Supporters of the winner will make that their explanation of the outcome, and enjoy peace of mind from adopting the straightforward story.
Supporters of the loser, however, cannot accept that their candidate was out of touch, campaigned incompetently, and was a horrible human being. That would make those loathsome qualities infect the supporters themselves. So, no, it wasn't that she was those awful things... it was... uh, some nefarious outside force's fault!
Choosing a bogus narrative makes these supporters do increasingly bizarre backflips just to jump through all the logical hoops in order to appear coherent. But they are actually going slowly incoherent, their minds constantly under the pain of cognitive dissonance. Before long, their primary mental operation is dulling pain or escaping pain, rather than thinking, feeling, and behaving like a normal healthy person.
Since the rise of the Democrats after 1992, it was Republicans who began veering off into conspiracy-oriented nutjob territory. First they blamed Democrats for invading various institutions and brainwashing the general public into liberalism and therefore voting Democrat.
During the brief GOP interruption of George W. Bush, the Democrats did the exact same thing, blaming ubiquitous Fox News for brainwashing the general public into being kneejerk Iraq War cheerleaders and voting Republican.
But Bush's presidency was not that great of a departure from what Clinton was, what Gore would have been, and what Obama would be. Liberals suffered cognitive dissonance, but it didn't take really wild conspiracy theories to explain why Kerry lost. Fox News propaganda being on in so many living rooms, is what it boiled down to.
Now that Trump has destroyed the two major political clans in the nation, by a decisive Electoral College margin, and against all odds and all news coverage for over a year -- Hillary voters cannot simply say "There goes Fox News again." Fox has in fact been fairly weak in supporting Trump, but liberals would not let that get in the way of a good rationalization.
They're not going there because they can tell that something much more nefarious is required to explain a far more mindblowing outcome than Bush's narrow win over Kerry in '04. Enter the Russia / Putin / KGB conspiracy theories, which have been under way since the general campaign.
An upset as earth-shattering for liberal globalism could only have come from a force so strongly anti-American and so deeply conservative -- not a bumbling clan like the Bushes. Who do corporate globalists recognize as conservative and at least nominally not one of America's allies? Putin! Again, the accuracy of this characterization doesn't matter: it's close enough for them to latch onto without feeling like they're completely making shit up.
In the Trumpian era, Republicans will no longer be the conspiracy theorists -- that now falls to the Democrats, who haven't been this devastated since Nixon and Reagan.
During the Reagan-Bush era, Democrats grew increasingly conspiratorial about the JFK assassination. That was their last hero, and he was going to do such great things like pull out of Vietnam and save the nation from all the turmoil that blew up under Johnson's escalation of the war. This was only in the back of their minds during the Reagan years, as one after another Vietnam movie struck a chord. It wasn't until the end of the Bush years, though, that it would become so overt, with the movie JFK in 1991.
It got so bad that Noam Chomsky had to write a short book combating the growing conspiracy theory mindset about JFK among liberals and the Left (Rethinking Camelot, 1993).
Expect a similar progression. Democrats will start getting nostalgic for the Clinton years, whether it's associated with Bill or Hillary or other figures.
Bill didn't really want to sign NAFTA and start a chain of events that would lead to the election of Trump. He was a man of the people, and campaigned in blue-collar white areas. So, he was pressured into NAFTA by the FBI and Mexican drug cartels. He had actually prepared a speech denouncing the outsourcing of American manufacturing, sounding strangely like Donald Trump's stump speeches of 2016. If only the conspirators hadn't coerced him into signing it, the Trump era could have been avoided!
The only Republicans left to spin conspiracy theories to comfort their wounded self-esteem is the NeverTrump cucks. They have no numbers in the general population, but they are over-represented in the elite, so we may continue to hear from them now and again, as they commiserate with the humiliated Democrats.
On a final note, this also shows why PizzaGate is not a conspiracy theory. There's no major event or situation where the believers are on the losing side, and are pursuing this story to reduce cognitive dissonance. Nor are the deniers going along their merry way after having won, tuning out the wacko believers -- they are very much tuned in, shrill, and intense in debating the believers.
Rather, what comes out of the PizzaGate investigations will serve as the basis for a campaign of righteous vengeance by the winners. Obama weaponized the IRS against the Tea Party, now Trump will cripple Hollywood and the DC elite by exposing their child sex trafficking rings.