Followers of the Qanon movement in attendance at a Trump rally

“Q” Has Left The Building – Where Do They Go One And All From Here?

 

  by Richard Cameron      Link to Richard's Facebook Profile Link to Richard's twitter profile  


“Q” Has Left The Building – Where Do They Go One And All From Here?

As a photo emerges from a negative saturated in a darkroom developer tank, placed in a stop bath, fixed, rinsed and dried, so is a picture developing of the diminishing influence of “Q” – the former mysterious source of a widely followed parallel narrative to that of the former, twice impeached, one term, soon to be indicted loser president. What the image does not clearly depict, is to what degree the influence of Q and Qanonism is diminishing. 

The storylines of “Q” – you are amply familiar with – fictions about Democrats operating child trafficking rings, deep state actors aligned against Donald Trump, cannibalism, paedophile networks in Hollywood and other assorted mental pollution.

All of these bizarre, unfounded allegations, beginning in October of 4 years ago, played a leading role in the ferment that culminated in the January 6th attack on the Capitol. 

One post, typical of scores of others, posted on the main message board of Q devotees, proclaimed the day before, “You can go to Washington on Jan 6 and help storm the Capital (sic).  As many Patriots as can be. We will storm the government buildings, kill cops, kill security guards, kill federal employees and agents, and demand a recount.”

But reporters that have been monitoring the 8kun site (formerly 8chan, before it was de-platformed by its ISP), have concluded that “Q” has not issued any new communiques for over 6 months. No new details of insider intel and no updated predictions of events surrounding the central insurgency fable – “The Storm.”

“Q” – Bad To The Last Drop

The last missives from “Q” forecast the imposition of Martial Law by Donald Trump, the mass arrests of high ranking members of the Democratic party and elected officials and the banishment of them and traitorous Republicans to Guantanamo Bay, while Trump remained at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.  And not only that, but Trump was going to “win in a landslide”, perhaps even sweep all 50 states.

“Q” was even AWOL most of the span of time leading up to the insurrection at the Capitol. In fact, no postings had occured from November 3rd onward, until the last “drop” – as the mysterious personage’s image board messages are described in Qanon lingo, was issued on December 8 of last year.

The prolonged absence of Q missives, prompts speculation both outside and inside the Qanon fishbowl. Following an HBO documentary on Qanon in April, “Into The Storm”, and the director Cullen Hoback’s assessment of a Phillippines residing expat, Ron Watkins, being the individual behind “Q” – many observers interpret the radio silence of Q, to be signifying that Watkins has a sense that Qanon has become too radioactive to sustain.

In the aftermath of the national election last November, Watkins tweeted,

“I am resigning as admin of 8kun effective immediately. Extensive battles have been fought tooth and nail during a self-imposed civic duty protecting the final fortifications of online free speech, guardedly navigating these tumultuous times. Today I bring ship to dock. Farewell.”

If in fact, Hoback’s conclusion about Watkins being the mouthpiece for Q  is accurate – that in itself is the likely explanation of why Q’s drops have ceased dropping.  One of the clues among many that have substance to one extent or another, is that “Q” invariably, seemed to follow Ron and Jim Watkins wherever their frequently displaced message boards happened to land.

 

 

In any event, the perception of whoever has been carrying on the charade, may be that after 480 people (so far)  have been arrested for the attack on the Capitol – the long arm of the law may not be as short as they assume, in its capacity to hold them accountable for their role in fomenting it. This is particularly apparent in light of the incoming administration’s Justice Department classifying Qanon the movement, as a domestic terror threat.

Where We Go One, We Go All … except without Q

But now the discussion turns to the post “Q” era. There is a sense among those who have been reporting on the Qanon phenomenon, that two things are taking place synonymously.

One is that the number of adherents is shrinking, which is customary whenever the medium of prophecy attending to a cult figure, is perceived to have predicted a great deal of major events (18 in total) that just don’t pan out no matter how loose the interpretation.

The most stunning contradiction to the failed prognostications is and was, the exodus of Trump and his retinue of parasitical vermin from the White House and the finality of Joseph R. Biden’s inauguration as the 46th President of the United States.

The extent to which the ranks of the stalwart votaries of Qanon is dissipating, is difficult to quantify at this juncture. We’ll discuss more on that in a moment.

The second trend the Qanon chronicler’s are observing, is that without a totemic head, Qanon is fragmenting into a more of a collective that self invents the narrative in the absence of a singular soothsayer. One manifestation of this is the emergence of a new fiction – the “Domino Theory.” 

In short, it revolves around the notion that once Trump has been found by the clown brigade, “Cyber Ninjas” vote counters, to have in fact, won the state of Arizona by virtue of fraudulent votes being disqualified  –  similar efforts will ensue in a majority of the other battleground states that Trump was soundly thumped in, holding their own crap show recounts, with the ultimate result being that Trump will be declared the winner of last fall’s election. Can’t happen, won’t happen, but that matters little to people who have sealed themselves inside an illusion bubble.

 

 

The Second Coming Of Cheetos Christ, Stupid Czar 

“Q” is entirely out of the transmission grid that brought this laughably fantasy to life.  Before this, it was circulated among Qanonites that Trump would be sworn into his second term on March 4th. Then when that day obviously came and went, the can was kicked down the road another 16 days.

Now, noise is about August being the magic sauce, with some hedging their bet and estimating September as more likely.

 

 

Trump himself is reportedly buying into the concept. Of course, sensible people know it is impossible and they also know that while Trump will lend the verbal support that only that sewer of a mouth of his can – he will not lift a finger or go anywhere near the chaos that such an action would precipitate.

He led the mob on January 6 to believe he would accompany them to Capitol Hill and instead of “fighting like Hell”, he then got in his limosine and retreated in the opposite direction, to the safe confines of the White House.

Trumpanistas unfurl a banner in support of twice impeached, deplatformed U.S. President Donald Trump during the fourth inning of Game Two of a doubleheader between the Toronto Blue Jays and the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium on May 27, 2021 in the Bronx borough of New York City.
Trumpanistas unfurl a banner in support of twice impeached, deplatformed U.S. President Donald Trump during the fourth inning of Game Two of a doubleheader between the Toronto Blue Jays and the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium on May 27, 2021 in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

Here’s the serious and sobering note in this entire, inconcievable theatrical farce – people who identify as Republicans, in the majority, not only believe the election was stolen but also that Trump, though sidelined, is still the rightful victor of the election.  As Rolling Stone online, summarizes:

A full 29 percent of Republicans think Donald Trump has a real shot at being “reinstated” as president by the end of 2021, according to a new Morning Consult/Politico pollA full 17 percent of GOP respondents said it’s “very likely” that Trump, who lost the electoral college to Joe Biden by a 306-232 margin, will once again be president. Another 12 percent said it’s “somewhat likely” that Trump will get back in the oval office this year.

If all of this simply amounted to mass delusion and foolishness and nothing more, it could be dismissed as embarassing to the nation, but of little consequence otherwise. On the contrary, the FBI has released a memo warning of the possibility that yet another violent, disruptive event similar to the insurrection attempt of this past January, could yet again ensue.

Due in part to the unfulfilled predictions of Q and others leading the movement, the FBI threat assessment titled, “Adherence to QAnon Conspiracy Theory by Some Domestic Violent Extremists” warns that some QAnon adherents “likely will begin to believe” they have an “obligation” to transform themselves from “serving as ‘digital soldiers’ towards engaging in real world violence” against Democrats and “other political opposition.”

In the seductive embrace of sedition …

The assessment is supported by reports that came out of the messaging being promoted at the Qanon “QCon” conference, aka (“For God & and Country Patriot Roundup”) held on Memorial Day weekend in Dallas.

Former, if ephemeral, Trump White House National Security Advisor, Michael Flynn, notoriously endorsed a violent coup attempt similar to the one staged by the military in Myanmar, or as the person who posed the question if a coup was feasible, termed it, “Minimar.”   

Will Sommer, Daily Beast podcaster, observes:       

“This is not just a couple of QAnon people babbling to themselves. This is a movement…this deranged thinking about the cabal, and the pedophile cannibals somehow has gone on beyond Q and transmuted itself into being a regular line of thought.”

It’s important to acknowledge that in the broad context of Trumpism, there is no fractionalization within it when it comes to the aspirational objectives of reversing the gains people of color have made in our society and for replacing a system of laws with the arbitrary rule of fascists and autocrats, similar to what is the norm in places like Russia, China, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Iran and Myanmar.

In terms of that, there is complete intersectionality and ideological convergence between adherents of Qanon and White Nationalists as well as the Militia sphere (Oath Keepers, Boogaloo Boys, Proud Boys, et al).

That is abundantly clear when you examine, for instance, the “manifesto” and online postings of the Christchurch, New Zealand mass killer, Brenton Tarrant, who, on his final posting to 8chan (the Qanon forum that preceded 8kun), told readers that he would soon launch an “attack against the invaders.”

The manifesto, he named ‘The Great Replacement’, was a shout out to his contemporaries in the United States and Europe, who promote the conspiracy theory which holds that indigenous European (white) populations are being replaced by non-European immigrants.

Patrick Crusius, the gunman that shot 23 Walmart shoppers to death in El Paso, Texas in August of 2019 was also a follower of the Q movement and echoed the replacement narrative so in currency among Qanon circles, saying that the slaughter was in “response to the Hispanic invasion of Texas. They are the instigators, not me. I am simply defending my country from cultural and ethnic replacement brought on by an invasion.”

Same story with John Earnest, the assailant in the Chabad of Poway synagogue shooting in San Diego County, two years ago in April. 

The attack on the synagogue similarly implicated 8chan, with the shooter posting to its /pol/ board and providing a link to his manifesto and a failed live stream of the attack. In this manifesto, Tarrant’s Christchurch attack was described as a “catalyst”.

Attorney General Merrick Garland, underlines – 

“In the FBI’s view, the top domestic violent extremist threat comes from racially or ethnically motivated violent extremists, specifically those who advocate for the superiority for the white race.”

To what extent has Qanonism been demoralized by Trump’s enduring and permanent status as a twice impeached, one term loser and the disappearance of the pied piper of the main sub-cult of Trumpism? It’s a difficult analysis for which the data is sparse and interpretive. 

There is no doubt that the volume of references to Qanon and related subject matter, has dropped off of social media platforms precipitously. But that trend is more likely accountable to stepped up enforcement by those platforms of their user regulations than it is a loss of appetite by Qanonites to continue spreading disinformation and discredited conspiracy tropes. 

Qanon affilated militant organizations including the Proud Boys and the Oathkeepers are telling interviewers that their revenues from supporters have diminished dramatically. 

 

“This is the event that underscored for people around Trump and the former president himself the fact that he’s not president anymore.”

New York Times investigative reporter Maggie Haberman, referencing President Biden’s recent European summits with the G-7, the European Union and Russian President Vladimir Putin

 

Qanon is a dirty snowball in space, but still in orbit and still outgassing. 

Has Trump’s ejection from the Oval Office, taken the shine off his Golden Calf perception as an invincible demi-God? Will there be any appreciable numbers of scales falling from the eyes of the true believers?  That usually happens when cult leaders meet up with consequences, but will he be the exception that proves the rule? Still an unanswered question at this point. Clouding the forecast is the fact that behavioral scientists draw a strong correlation in terms of similar characteristics between addictive disorders and participation in cults.

There’s no doubt that most elected officials in the Republican party at all levels, still believe he (Trump) possesses the power to either confer Trumpian royal consecration on them or crush them. How else can their behavior be explained? 

While some may vary in their estimation of the ongoing influence of Qanonism, something is both discernable and disconcerting in the numbers revealed in recent polling. For example, in February 2021, a poll by the American Enterprise Institute found that 29% of Republicans continue to believe the central claim of QAnon, that “Donald Trump has been secretly fighting a group of child sex traffickers that include prominent Democrats and Hollywood elites.”

That suggests that it could be years, perhaps even decades away, before the GOP experiences anything resembling a reform toward sanity.

And while that agonizing and arduous process slowly evolves, the generational rejection of the core perspectives and biases that inform Trumpism / Qanonism, will continue apace, possibly rendering too timid a reinvention of the party, moot, in terms of electoral relevance. The trend lines of demographics don’t favor Republicanism, much less conspicuous nationalism and racial animus. 

Meanwhile however, from a domestic terror risk assessment standpoint – the precise number of remaining Qanon constitutents, is relatively insignificant to the threat. The fuel indicator shows less than a full tank, but there’s more than enough “gas” consisting of delusion, angst and rage, left to get a large number of Qanonites to the scene of a confrontation.

What’s your guess as to where the whole Qanon movement minus “Q” goes from here?  Dust off your crystal ball, scroll down to our comments window and give us your pronostication. 


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