QAnon faces a turning point after the inauguration of President Joe Biden.
The inauguration runs counter to the movement’s baseless conspiracy theory that former President Donald Trump will return for a second term to stand up to the bondage of Satan-loving pedophiles who run the Democratic Party.
Since Trump is no longer in office, some followers have abandoned their beliefs in an attempt to reconcile with family and friends who had alienated themselves on the winding road to an alternate reality originally invented on 4Chan’s bulletin board.
But others have renewed their commitment to the Q, an anonymous poster claiming to be an adviser to Trump and their leader. They tried to rationalize Biden from becoming president in an increasingly scandalous way, claiming that Biden and Trump were working together and even that Trump and Biden had somehow changed bodies. And now they see March 4 as the next important moment for their movement ̵
It is unclear what will happen to QAnon after March 4, without the coup they predicted taking place. The movement could fall into a growing number of followers, who could be recruited by white top and far-right militias that share a common enemy among Democrats and political elites. But it is likely that the movement will not fall apart completely, given that following it in the first place required supporters to repel cognitive dissonance.
“Conspiracies always have a way of explaining what’s going on, because the whole thing is in different versions of reality,” said Amy Jandiorio, a researcher at the League’s Anti-Defamation Center for Extremism.
QAnon students believe March 4 is the day Trump will return for a second term
QAnon followers began talking about March 4 in early mid-January, after some were disappointed that the January 6 uprising in the US Capitol failed to lead to a series of planned military tribunals and executions, which they called ” The storm. “But the latest conspiracy theory did start gaining momentum in February, after Biden took office and as QAnon’s followers looked for ‘different ways to explain their way out of the current reality now that there is a new administration,'” Jandiorio said.
Their rationale for this unproven conviction – and the significance behind the date of March 4 – is, perhaps not surprisingly, confused and based on a series of misinterpretations, conspiracy theories and outright lies. But here’s how the theory works:
QAnon believers claim that the US federal government has secretly become a corporation under a law they believe was passed in 1871, but in fact does not exist, making every president inaugurated and any constitutional amendment passed over the years illegitimate.
But on March 4, the story goes, Trump will return as the 19th president, the first legitimate president since Odysseus S. Grant, with former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo as his vice president. Why March 4? It is the initial opening date of presidents. The day he took office changed on January 20 with the adoption of the 20th Amendment in 1933, the same year that Franklin D. Roosevelt abolished the gold standard.
This is actually relevant to conspiracy theory: QAnon believers claim that at the end of the gold standard, Roosevelt transferred power to a group of shady foreign investors who have since controlled the US government. (Trump tried to return the gold standard while in office.)
“Trump will return on March 4. According to the constitution. Read it. Read a book and get educated, “wrote user Wesley McBride on the Telegram channel for people who migrated from Parler after Amazon Web Services launched the right-wing social media site from its servers.
Of course, no part of their theory is true or even reasonable. All of this is misinformation designed to explain why Biden is currently president – a reality that contradicts their fantasy that Trump is some messianic figure destined to create a new republic, when in fact he is a twice-impressed former president who lost his re-election and -would rather incite a crowd than admit defeat.
Part of the conspiracy theory reflects one of the extremist “sovereign citizen” movement, which is anti-government and anti-taxation and has a history of racism and anti-Semitism. The FBI has identified the movement behind the violence against police officers as a domestic terrorist threat. Similarly, she believes in a conspiracy theory that shady government figures took control of the system established by the country’s founders in 1933 with the end of the gold standard, one of a long line of conspiracy theories designed to “disgrace Jews.” in general, ”As my colleague Zack Boshan writes.
But it does not seem that at this point there is a significant overlap between adherence to the sovereign citizens’ movement and QAnon.
“This seems to be the case for QAnon supporters, who reflect the principles of some sovereign civic beliefs without necessarily sharing the same space,” Jandiorio said.
The conspiracy theory of March 4 is spreading in both mass and alternative right-wing social media platforms. Following the Capitol attack, major sites such as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube forced users who posted conspiracy theories and hate speech to be deplatformed, although in TikTok, a platform that leans toward a younger audience, posts about Trump returning to a second term on March 4 is still growing.
Many QAnon followers have also migrated to largely unmoderated social media platforms such as Gab, MeWe, Telegram, CloutHub, Rumble and Parler, which have recently returned online. However, some consumers have been skeptical of efforts to streamline the way Biden is president.
“[Y]you have to stop believing in these things … The military doesn’t arrest anyone. No one is sent to Guantanamo Bay. No tribunals or hangings. Just keep going, “said user Kevin on the Telegram channel.
There are currently no data on a mass mobilization on March 4, but that may change
At this point, it seems unlikely that the QAnon community will be able to mobilize en masse on March 4.
Prices at the Trump International Hotel in Washington rose to more than $ 1,300 on March 4 (starting at $ 476 just a week later). But people aren’t getting organized to come to DC in the issue expected for the January 6 Stop the Steal rally, for which Trump himself is inviting his followers.
But the QAnon movement still has a week to make plans, and those plans are likely to involve violence. In the past, individual QAnon followers have resorted to violence, including Matthew Wright, who is serving an eight-year sentence for involvement in an armed conflict with Hoover Dam police. Other followers from 2018 are behind two kidnappings, a kidnapping plot, a burglary at the Canadian prime minister’s residence and at least one murder.
“We know that people can be animated and motivated by that sense of loss or sense of community that they see from QAnon giving them in their alternate versions of reality,” Jandiorio said. “Knowing that this is a population of people who are very deeply rooted in a conspiracy, you cannot reduce the potential for violence.”
The capital’s police department told Newsweek that they had not issued permits for planned events on March 4, but law enforcement officials appear to be preparing for possible QAnon activities that day.
A spokesman, Adam Smith, the top Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee, said at a hearing last week that U.S. Capitol police had asked 4,900 National Guard personnel to remain in DC until March 12 because of similar concerns.
A Capitol police spokesman said in a statement that their department “continuously analyzes intelligence and works with local, state and federal law enforcement officials to prepare for any threats that come our way, including March 4.”
While defense officials have so far not identified a specific threat posed by QAnon followers, Smith told Republicans during a committee hearing last week that they need to do more to combat disinformation about the 2020 election results. to prevent future threats.
“I agree that the threat environment is smaller, but if you want to know what drives the threat environment, it would be helpful if every elected official and person in power in that country publicly acknowledges that Joe Biden has been duly elected. president of free and fair elections, “he said. “To the extent that people still move this story, this story is then taken and put into really crazy arguments.”