QAnon: The ultimate conspiracy theory
A bizarre pro-Trump conspiracy theory “is starting to break into the mainstream,” said Jane Coaston in Vox.com. In recent weeks, followers of QAnon have been front and center at President Trump’s rallies, carrying signs and wearing T-shirts and hats emblazoned with slogans like “We are Q” and “Where we go one, we go all.” The movement is obsessed with interpreting cryptic messages posted online by “Q,” an anonymous internet user who claims to be a high-level government official or group of officials. QAnon devotees believe that the Russia investigation is an elaborate hoax, and that President Trump is actually working with special counsel Robert Mueller to expose and imprison an international pedophile ring that includes Hillary Clinton, President Obama, George Soros, and other Democrats. But above all, QAnon posits this: “Everything, absolutely everything, is going just as Donald Trump intended it.”
“Is it any wonder that Trump’s Republican Party is particularly fertile ground for this kind of thing?” asked Paul Waldman in The Washington Post. For decades now, right-wing hucksters like Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity have trained conservatives to “believe that everything is a conspiracy”—“a conspiracy against them.” Trump rose to power by exploiting this weakness, spouting nonsense about how President Obama was actually born in Kenya and Ted Cruz’s father helped assassinate JFK. People are susceptible to conspiracy theories “when they’re feeling powerless and anxious,” said Gabrielle Bruney in Esquire.com. Despite Republican control of government, the president’s base of white, evangelical Christians still see themselves as losing their grip on the country amid rapid cultural and demographic change. QAnon, “like the Trump presidency itself,” is a backlash to that change.
The liberal media love to give QAnon attention, said Peter Hasson in DailyCaller.com, even though “it’s unclear how many people actually believe it.” Why? Because it makes Trump supporters look crazy. Sorry, said Jordan Weissmann in Slate.com, but whether QAnon believers number in the thousands or hundreds of thousands, it’s disturbing they are eagerly awaiting the day that Trump locks up his political opposition. And it only takes one conspiracy nut to do something stupid. In June, an armed QAnon adherent blocked off the Hoover Dam to demand the release of documents that would unmask the liberal pedophile cabal. QAnon may be ridiculous, but it’s not harmless. ■