The Rise of QAnon

Cult Conspiracy Theory Group Infiltrates American Politics

The Republican Party has put forth numerous candidates who support QAnon, a mysterious internet-based group and creator of many outrageously false conspiracy theories such as  “Pizzagate,” which claims Hillary Clinton and various other important Democrats ran a child-sex ring at a pizza restaurant in Washington, DC. Three years ago, the movement was started by an anonymous user named Q on an online message board called 4chan, a site that frequently features extremist and bigoted content. The group has grown to have a large indeterminate number of followers (the now-removed QAnon Facebook group had 200,000 members) who call themselves “believers,” some of whom are running for election in the United States Senate and House of Representatives this November. 

QAnon’s main conspiracy theory claims that world governments are working together with famous Hollywood celebrities and politicians to run a global child sex-trafficking system. Followers also believe there is a “deep state,” a conspiracy theory alleging that there is a secret, corrupt group of people puppeteering everything carried out in the Federal Government and is attempting to overthrow President Donald Trump.  QAnon and its supporters believe that Satan-worshipping and cannibalistic pedophiles rule the world, and that Donald Trump is the only way to stop them. They have also developed a slogan, “question everything,” which demonstrates supporters’ clear denial of facts.

 Supporters often follow whatever their “leader” Q — who often posts on various secret message boards — believes or says because he claims to have security clearance in the Federal Government. Numerous followers have recently alleged that 5G cellular networks are responsible for the spread of COVID-19. Earlier in 2020, various believers asserted that Oprah Winfrey had been arrested for sex-trafficking. In another example, at the beginning of the pandemic, a tweet alleging that Tom Hanks was arrested for pedophilia received over 2,100 retweets. The QAnon conspiracy theory claims that Hanks was becoming a Greek citizen to flee those false pedophilia charges. But no matter how outrageously false and radical this cult can get, it has infiltrated the government’s highest offices.

  Of the Republican candidates running for Congress, Marjorie Taylor Greene gained a lot of attention due to her many racist comments. A QAnon believer, Greene recently won a primary in Georgia house district #14. She has called Q a patriot, saying he is “worth listening to and paying attention to.” She often mentions her hatred for the supposed aforementioned “deep state.” Being in a solidly Republican-controlled district, Ms. Greene will undoubtedly become a member of the US House of Representatives (the Democrat running against her just dropped out of the race). 

Additionally, in Colorado’s 3rd congressional district, Republican Lauren Boebert won her district’s primary, defeating a five-term incumbent. She is well-known for her pro-gun activism and the ownership of Shooters Grill, a restaurant that encourages customers and waitresses to carry guns openly. More recently, she has also become famous for her comments on QAnon, saying she is “very familiar” with it, and “hope[s] that [they] are real because it only means that America is getting stronger and better.” She, too, will likely be elected to the US House of Representatives.

Along with Greene and Boebert, many other Republicans running for Congress have also shown support for QAnon. Jo Rae Perkins won the Republican primary for the US Senate in Oregon. She has said that she “stand[s] with Q and the team” because they will “save our republic.”  Republican Mark Cargile won his primary in California and has posted “WWG1WGA,” which stands for “where we go one, we go all.” This phrase has become a sort of rallying cry for the QAnon movement. Republican Theresa Raborn won her primary in Illinois and has tweeted the aforementioned “rallying cry.” Finally, Republican Erin Cruz, who won her primary in California, has said that QAnon “believers” have “legitimate concerns.”

The ideologies that this group is perpetuating are being integrated into the Republican party. The most powerful and important Republican in the United States has possibly even shown approval for this movement. President Trump has described QAnon supporters as patriotic. When a reporter asked him about his view on QAnon and what he thinks of the fact that many supporters believe he is “secretly saving the world from this satanic cult of pedophiles and cannibals,” he responded with comments that may have seemed, as The Washington Post reports, “like a winking confirmation” to QAnon supporters. Saying, “I hadn’t heard that,” he said, “but is that supposed to be a bad thing? If I can help save the world from problems, I’m willing to do it, I’m willing to put myself out there. And we are actually, we are saving the world from a radical left philosophy that will destroy this country.” 

The terrifying part about all of this is that this dangerously absurd and blatantly false conspiracy theory will (and has already) become a part of our national politics. These conspiracy theories, which used to remain in the dark depths of the internet, have reached the surface of American politics.