For years the followers of the groundless QAnon conspiracy theory have been waiting for the moment when President Donald Trump confirms their convictions and begins to arrest high-ranking members of a satanic paedophile ring.
On the day of reckoning, referred to by the radical movement as “the storm,” Trump would finally play out his role as savior against the “deep state” and cannibalistic child molesters, including leading Democrats and Hollywood figures, after waging a secret war during his term in office.
Now, after his election defeat at the hands of Joe Biden, Trump has just two more months in the White House to “take the storm” and begin to hunt down these Satan-worshipping pedophiles.
Or, just like on all the other days when, according to the QAnon followers, the apparent “storm” has come, nothing will happen.
However, the radical allegations, which have no basis in reality and are linked to the previously debunked Pizzagate conspiracy theory, do not look like they will die with the presidency of Trump.
Despite the leader of QAnon and the expected hero, who will soon no longer be at the head of the country, the movement has grown so much since its beginnings on the fringes of the Internet in late 2017 that experts believe it has already become a prominent feature of Republican ideology and will be used against the Biden administration.
Vegas Tenold, Investigative Researcher at the Anti-Defamation League’s Center on Extremism, adds that the theory could easily go beyond Trump, with QAnon supporters willing to change the narrative as needed: If Trump wins, his secret fight against the “deep state” will continue for four more years. If Biden wins, this would be “for some reason also somehow part of the plan”.
“There’s so much cognitive dissonance here that somehow it doesn’t matter what happened,” Tenold told Washington Newsday.
“Q is mostly about Trump, but even if he denied it, they would still find something to get attached to.
The main claims around the theory are linked to a shadowy figure known only as “Q” who originally left cryptic messages and codes on the controversial messagebaord site 4Chan.
The contributions were considered legitimate because “Q” claimed to have a high-level security clearance within the U.S. government, which supporters believe confirms the claims.
Although the encrypted messages or “drops” would never explicitly contain the allegations of high-level satanic paedophiles, they were interpreted and advertised elsewhere by QAnon supporters.
Even without Trump, Tenold noted that the QAnon has become so adaptable over the years that it could still exist without its commander-in-chief.
“The first claim that Q made in October 2017 was that Hillary Clinton will be arrested tomorrow,” he told Washington Newsday. “Since then, the QAnon has been a series of prophecies and predictions that never came true, and it has not slowed the QAnon down a bit.
Some other theories advanced by QAnon include that the Wayfair furniture company advertised for trafficked children under the guise of selling expensive items, and frequent claims that John F. Kennedy Jr. is still alive and would return to his campaign on behalf of Trump.
“The real world has a tendency not to influence QAnon as much,” Tenold added.
With such a loose collective of supporters, there is not a single substantially consistent idea of what the election result means for the QAnon, although they have their own interpretations.
Perhaps not surprisingly, given that this view is also expressed by the President, many QAnon supporters still claim that Trump actually won the election.
Others are not so sure that Trump’s election defeat is part of any plan, and have even expressed their dismay that they were fooled by the whole thing.
Many have expressed their deep frustration and confusion about why Q has not created a single new post or provided any new information since election day, even though they have long touted November 3 as a key date for the future of their movement.
Supporters have also expressed their displeasure that Q remains silent even after Biden was declared the victor on November 8.
Morning Q update: They still believe that Trump has won. pic.twitter.com/pF9xo5UphW
– Mike Rothschil