With all the madness happening in the world, and seemingly only exacerbated by the upcoming US election, it may be hard to keep track of all the dangerous trends happening. But even in a crowded field, QAnon is poised to become a star (let’s hope not the Death Star) to dominate the political landscape for years to come.
What it is:
QAnon is a political conspiracy that claims that Donald Trump is fighting to expose a global conspiracy involving a ring of satan-worshipping, child-molesting criminals led by prominent Democrats. If that doesn’t seem implausible enough, it’s evolved to incorporate a belief that Hillary Clinton and associates are kidnapping children in order to harvest a life-extending chemical from their blood. Among the parties operating a global sex trafficking ring, QAnon claims are public figures like Barack Obama, George Soros, Oprah Winfrey, Ellen DeGeneres, and Tom Hanks.
It all started only three years ago (in 2017) with anonymous posts on an internet forum by someone who claimed to have a top-level governmental intelligence clearance (level Q). The posts have quickly spread and gained a cult following. The conspiracy has also expanded, as myths and folktales usually do, with subsequent posters expanding the story with flourishing touches. Today, QAnon has a large following, including among governmental officials. President Trump refused to denounce QAnon during his televised Town Hall in October, claiming to know nothing about the movement other than they care about the children.
Why it matters:
Why it would be easy to dismiss QAnon as a fringe group of disturbed individuals, there are three main reasons why you should pay attention:
- QAnon acolytes are dangerous.
Its followers have committed numerous crimes; have harassed and doxxed their perceived enemies. The FBI has cited QAnon as a potential domestic terrorist threat and social networks have begun trying to pull QAnon groups off their platforms. YouTube and Facebook, specifically, have made an aggressive if belated effort to scrub pro-Qanon posts from their respective platforms.
- QAnon are hijacking causes.
If you’ve seen hashtags #SaveTheChildren on social media, and maybe even shared a concerned post or two, — you may not have realized that you were reading QAnon content.The actual hashtag and movement began as a legitimate charity; but some supporters of QAnon had the idea is to create a groudshell of concern by flooding social media with posts about human trafficking, joining Facebook groups.
While sex trafficking is a really important issue, QAnon don’t care about actual victims. Their “Big tent conspiracy theory claims that Trump (a man who has faced numerous sexual assault allegations and was friends with a convicted pedophile rapist Jeffrey Epstein) is facing down a shadowy cabal of Democratic pedophiles. QAnon latched onto the legitimate work done by anti-trafficking activists and distorts the situation. In reality, although abduction and sexual slavery cases make the headlines, many victims are trafficked by relatives, teachers or someone they know; and sex traficking doesn’t usually involve kidnapping or physically forcing minors into sex.
QAnon followers have also attempted to infiltrate other causes, including flooding social networks with false information about COVID-19, vaccinations, BLM protests, and the 2020 election. One of the most sinister things is since the posts often mask their connection to QAnon, they propagate dangerous ideas to regular people under the guise of charity.
- QAnon acolytes are running for office
If you think QAnon followers are content with posting on social media and bringing pro-Trump posters to anti-mask rallies, think again. As many as nearly fifty candidates running for office this November have been identified as at least partially supporting QAnon. Not all of them stand a chance (at least this time around), but some of them are very likely to be elected!
Here are some names you should watch out for in the news and on the ballot!
Marjorie Taylor Greene
Greene is a candidate running for a House seat in Georgia’s 14th Congressional District which she has only recently moved to. She has been closely associated with the QAnon conspiracy. In fact, she has written articles for American Truth Seekers that are pro-QAnon and has posted to social media statements that show belief in certain points of the popular conspiracy.
Greene has adopted some of the beliefs that are now the foundation of “Q’s” cryptic messages, including the baseless theory that Hillary Clinton is running a child sex-trafficking ring and practicing human sacrifice. She has also suggested that former President Barack Obama utilized MS-13 in a plot to kill a Democratic operative.
However, her association with “Q” is not the only thing about Greene that is jarring. Following the 2018 midterm elections which resulted in the victories of many women of color including Rashida Talib and Ilhan Omar, she referred to the election as “an islamic invasion of our government.”
According to her website, she is a constitutional conservative who wants to fight against socialists and their desire to conduct a “hostile takeover of our Healthcare and so much more.” As with many conservatives, she wants to fight to demolish access to abortions, is against gun control laws such as Red Flag gun confiscation, and finish the contrustion of the border wall.
Jo Rae Perkins is running for US Senate for the state of Oregon against Democratic incumbent Jeff Merkley who has held his seat since 2009. The 2020 race is her fourth time running for Congress but her first time winning the primary.
While her open endorsements of the QAnon conspiracy have been limited in recent months, her past praises for ‘Q’ are scathing. In the past, she has stated that she stands with President Trump and ‘Q’ in the same tweet and has urged her followers to “take the oath” and become digital soldiers.
In an Interview with CNN Perkins merely referred to ‘Q’ as a resource of information, but it was not made clear whether or not she believed it was reliable information. However, she did say that she believes that sometimes misinformation is necessary to flesh out the truth.
She has also made it clear that she believes the COVID-19 pandemic and CDC guidelines for mask wearing are unnecessary to say the least. She told CNN that she does not need to be a doctor because she knows how to read, even though top economists have said that a nation-wide mask mandate would help curb economic turmoil as a result of the virus. Perkins even laughed at the mention of Dr. Anthony Fauci, stating that she believes the death toll has been manipulated so that the economic fallout could be blamed on President Trump.
Perkins’ policy beliefs also fall under the same standards as most republicans in that she identifies herself as pro-life and she will fight to protect the 2nd Amendment.
Lauren Boebert is running for a House seat representing Colorado’s 3rd congressional district. Although she has sympathized with the QAnon conspiracy earlier this year, she has since been persistent in trying to back away from the theory, with her campaign spokeswoman Laura Carno stating that her past comments were made before she knew enough about the theory.
In an interview in May she said she was very familiar with QAnon but did not proclaim herself to be a follower. She even went as far to say that she wished the theory were true when referring to the idea that Trump is fighting against the “deep state,” as she says it “means that America is getting stronger and better and people are returning to American values.
So, while her advisors have publicly tried to distance her from QAnon, it seems she does at least partially subscribe to some of its core elements.
Mike Cargile is the republican candidate for California’s 35th Congressional District. Aside from his support for the QAnon conspiracy theory, his social media accounts are littered with bigoted, racist and anti-LGBTQ posts. He is running against democratic incumbent Norma Torres who has held her seat since 2015.
His affiliation with QAnon is blatant, as the theory’s motto, “Where We Go One We Go All.”is abbreviated in his twitter bio. However, his facebook posts seem to be the hotspot for his various offensive memes and rants. He has repeatedly used the N-word, called the children of immigrants “anchor babies” and not American, and posted memes that state that all there is to know about Islamic faith was displayed on 9/11.
Unlike some of the other people on this list, he goes even farther on the COVID-19 pandemic and has referred to it as a “scamdemic” stating that it is:
“NOTHING compared to the diseases and plagues headed this way via the rats and the homeless.”Facebook
Theresa Raborn is running for Congress in the 2nd district of Illinois and ran uncontested in the republican primary. Her affiliation with QAnon stems from tweets in which she encourages her followers to #TakeTheOath and posted the theory’s motto. However, when asked about her posts, she stated she didn’t know enough about the topic and stated that she feels like she has been misinterpreted.
On her website’s coronavirus page she cites Hydroxychloroquine as the drug that Trump has suggested for a while and one that is effective to treat the virus even though this has been contradicted by health experts like Dr. Anthony Fauci.
In an interview with a New York Magazine reporter, Raborn also compared the QAnon conspiracy to a bible verse, stating that many people may interpret verses differently. When asked if the allegations of baby eating seemed extreme, she said she would agree if it weren’t for people like Jeffrey Dahmer.