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QAnon Takes Capitol Hill?

The online cult phenom is now winning elections in the pursuit of a conspiracy caucus.

KEYSTONE, SOUTH DAKOTA - JULY 01: A Donald Trump supporter holding a QAnon flag visits Mount Rushmore National Monument on July 01, 2020 in Keystone, South Dakota. President Donald Trump is expected to visit the monument and speak before the start of a fireworks display on July 3. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Proponents of the QAnon conspiracy theory believe that a secret informant Q (some believers claim is JFK Jr.—who they claim faked his death in the late 90s) has exposed the “global cabal” of satanic sex-trafficking, world-domineering, and the rogue-intelligence deep-state agencies that are going after Donald Trump.

Q supporters believe that every president outside of Donald Trump is a puppet, put in place by the global elite cabal that focuses on enriching themselves and continuing an international Satanic child-murdering sex-cult. The Deep State, adherents allege, control virtually everything from the Catholic church to the major pharmaceutical companies. 

Basically, QAnon—as seen in the vast maps created by its believers—coalesces nearly every conspiracy theory into one. The FBI has responded by labeling the conspiracy group a domestic terrorism threat in 2019. The FBI memo states,”The FBI assesses these conspiracy theories very likely will emerge, spread, and evolve in the modern information marketplace, occasionally driving both groups and individual extremists to carry out criminal or violent acts.”

The released memo also describes a plot by a QAnon supporter to “blow up a satanic temple monument” in the Illinois Capitol rotunda in order to “make Americans aware of Pizzagate and the New World Order, who were dismantling society.” Among other QAnon related arrests are Anthony Camello’s QAnon motivated murder, Jessica Prim’s alleged threat to kill Joe Biden, and Matthew Wright for terrorism—blocking the Hoover Dam while armed and demanding the DOJ to release an “OIG report” on Hillary Clinton’s emails.

While viewed as a fringe conspiracy, Q has gained legitimate traction among the mainstream on the right—Fox News’ Jesse Watters stated on his program to Eric Trump, “Q can do some crazy stuff, with the pizza stuff, and the Wayfair stuff, but they’ve also uncovered a lot of great stuff when it comes to Epstein and it comes to the deep state.” Former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn tweeted himself and his family reciting the QAnon oath, “Where we go one, we go all!”

Now QAnon belief has become legitimized as Congressional candidates openly support the conspiracy theory. These aren’t just fringe long-shot candidates—a few are likely to hold office in the U.S. House of Representatives after this upcoming election. According to the Media Matters QAnon tracker, “Nineteen candidates — 18 Republicans and one independent — have already secured a spot on the ballot in November by competing in primary elections or by fulfilling other requirements needed to get on the ballot.”

Marjorie Taylor Greene won the GOP primary in a northern Georgia district that all but guarantees a Republican victory. Greene, throughout the primary, attracted controversy among high-ranking House Republicans due to her inflammatory comments, like saying  the results of the  of the 2018 midterm elections marked “an Islamic invasion of our government.”

Greene is also a devoted believer in the QAnon conspiracy. In 2017 she stated that Q was both a “patriot” and that Donald Trump presents “a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to take this global cabal of Satan-worshipping pedophiles out.” Donald Trump praised her win with a tweet, calling her a “future Republican star.”

Greene is not the first QAnon believer to win a Republican primary in a district that leans Republican. Lauren Boebert did so in her surprise victory earlier this year. Boebert, who unseated Rep. Scott Tipton in the Republican primary, appeared on several different QAnon online shows throughout her campaign. Boebert claimed that QAnon, “is only motivating and encouraging and bringing people together, stronger, and if this is real, then it can be really great for our country.”

Behind the insanity of QAnon is something that needs to be further examined. More than a political phenomena, it is pseudo-religious in its language, seemingly appealing to a populism in pursuit of a common-man morality against the cabal of big business and big government. Believers claim that a ‘great awakening’ is coming, at which time supporters of Q will be vindicated.

Adrienne Lafrance in The Atlantic wrote regarding QAnon’s connection to apocalyptic thinking:

“In his classic 1957 book, The Pursuit of the Millennium, the historian Norman Cohn examined the emergence of apocalyptic thinking over many centuries. He found one common condition: This way of thinking consistently emerged in regions where rapid social and economic change was taking place—and at periods of time when displays of spectacular wealth were highly visible but unavailable to most people.”

Trust in our leaders and institutions are at an all time low. Millions of Americans already caught on the wrong side of the income equality gap have lost jobs and are struggling to put food on their tables due to the Covid-19 pandemic. It’s no wonder the QAnon theory, among others, continues to grow apace and enact a political will.

All of this represents an America that is undergoing a decline in faith—seeking to find answers and meaning in an outlandish, insane, vast conspiracy. The GOP should be weary of a QAnon ‘caucus,’ but recognize the desire by everyday Americans to be heard in a changing world that is otherwise leaving them behind.

about the author

Alberto Bufalino is a student at Wake Forest University in North Carolina and TAC's summer editorial intern.

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