The American Enterprise Institute, a conservative research group, conducted a survey that reveals a few surprises …
- 27% of white evangelicals and 29% of Republicans believe that QAnon is real
More on that in a moment. First a quick primer.
Quick QAnon Primer
For those familiar with it all, just skip this bit.
Briefly, QAnon is basically a far-right conspiracy claim that there is a worldwide cabal of Satan-worshiping pedophiles who rule. Trump is regarded as a messiah, God’s chosen man, to scupper their plans.
True believers have terms such as The Storm and The Great Awakening to describe things that they believe are just about to happen. “The Storm” is an anticipated event in which thousands of people, the supposed members of the cabal, will be arrested, possibly sent to Guantanamo Bay prison or face military tribunals, and the U.S. military will brutally take over the country. The result will be the supposed salvation of the Republic and a utopia on earth.
There are several very consistent attributes …
- The actual evidence for any of this is exactly zero
- Anything predicted never happens.
- If you ask a true believer for evidence, none will ever be presented. You will face deflection and will be told to “Do your research” (Tip: It’s their claim, so it is their responsibility to cite evidence. Burden of proof is with them)
For lots more details you will find that the Wikipedia page covers it all rather well.
Moving on, let’s see what is new in the Q-verse.
As mentioned within the opening, the new survey reveals that 27% of white evangelicals and 29% of Republicans believe that QAnon is real. It also reveals that QAnon has infiltrated other faiths as well…
- 15% of white mainline Protestants, 18% of white Catholics, 12% of non-Christians, 11% of Hispanic Catholics and 7% of Black Protestants
What is clear is that for some reason white evangelicals appear to be deeply susceptible to embracing QAnon. Of note is that they don’t simply embrace the QAnon fantasy, but also deeply embrace (49% of them) the robustly debunked claim that antifa orchestrated the Capitol insurrection.
What is fascinating about white evangelicals is that they don’t fit the profile of your average conspiracy theorist. What does however make them unique as a group is that a lot of their family members (81%) or friends (82%) voted for Trump in the 2020 election — more than any other religious group.
Why are they like this?
“People who do strongly believe in these things are not more disconnected — they are more politically segregated,” Cox said.
The resulting social echo chamber, he argued, allows conspiracy theories to spread unchecked.AEI’s Survey Center on American Life director Daniel Cox
Hemant Mehta adds some additional insights into why it is like this for white evangelicals …
…a poisonous echo chamber where bad ideas take off, and unverified beliefs provide the foundation for the ecosystem, and where people are praised for just having faith in nonsense is just a perfect place for political lies to thrive. QAnon assumes the best of Trump, the worst of Democrats and/or Hollywood, and allows True Believers to think they’re fighting some righteous battle. It’s no wonder that the people who constant start culture war fights over innocuous things are more than willing to accept QAnon batshittery.
These are the same people who think there’s a push to stop people from saying “Merry Christmas,” that they’re constantly being persecuted, that evolution is a hoax, and that comprehensive sex education is somehow bad for children. They don’t have the critical thinking skills necessary to accept reality in any form. If anything, they’re praised in church for running away from those realities.
To illustrate his point, the survey also reveals their embrace of other conspiracy theories …
- Close to two-thirds (62%) believe there was widespread voter fraud in the 2020 election — despite numerous experts and courts at all levels refuting such claims
- Roughly the same percentage (63%) believe President Joe Biden’s victory was “not legitimate.”
- A majority (55%) also said they believed it was mostly or completely accurate to say “a group of unelected government officials in Washington, D.C., referred to as the ‘Deep State’ (has) been working to undermine the Trump administration.”
What becomes clear is the splintering that is becoming apparent. There are normal Republicans, and then there is this distinctly separate group of religious white evangelical and quite delusional Republican.
Most elected Republican officials know it is all nonsense, but they also know that if they step out of line then it will impact them at the ballot box, and also impact their funding or party support.
Other Polls: It really is only a tiny fraction that actually believe it
As you might anticipate, the vast majority of the public reject the absurd QAnon claims, overall only a tiny fraction believe it.
Last month, after Jan 6th, the NBC News poll asked voters whether they had positive, negative, neutral or no views of QAnon. A mere 2% held positive views. The rest were either negative (42%), neutral (11%), or weren’t sure or didn’t know (45%).
To be wholly accurate, there might actually be more that believe it, but also hold a neutral or negative view of it all.
Having said that, what is encouraging is this report via CNN ..
… it truly is a fringe movement. True QAnon believers are a very small percentage of the population. Republicans should have little electoral fear of speaking out against QAnon in particular, even if certain conspiracy theories (such as falsely believing Donald Trump lost reelection only because of fraud) have been prevalent in some circles.
Inevitably of course, those inside QAnon reject that CNN report as “Fake News”.
Meanwhile SNL can’t resist mocking them
Last Saturday they ran this skit.
McKinnon played Stephanie Green, a member of QAnon who was dressed like a wicked witch. “We try to get to the bottom of things,” she said. “It sounds like you’re pretty focused on the eating children part of QAnon,” said Jost …
March 4 and the New Republic
The latest whisper amongst the QAnon cult is the claim that on March 4 Trump will be sworn into office for a second presidential term ….
Apparently the idea started getting more traction after it was reported that Trump’s own Washington D.C. hotel had increased their prices for a room on March 4, according to Forbes.
The one consistent QAnon theme is that all past predictions have fallen flat and failed. This one will as well, and when it does … well yes, you know the drill here, the goal posts will once again be moved.
The Loss of Family to QAnon
CNN has published ‘They’re unrecognizable’: One woman reflects on losing her parents to QAnon“. It is a truly tragic story …
As QAnon has overtaken their lives, Lily’s parents have taken a series of extreme actions. She said they sold their home and moved to a more rural area, bought $7,000 worth of pre-packaged food, and withdrew all the money from their bank accounts, which they now keep under their mattress. “They’re unrecognizable as the people that I grew up with,” Lily said. In the past, her parents would often tell her that they were proud of her, she recalls. She was their “dream daughter” who they loved to brag about to their friends. Now, Lily said her parents see her as “an enemy, a disappointment, a brainwashed student.”
So what happens next with QAnon?
We know from previous experience that what happens when prophesy fails is that believers move the goalposts, modify their beliefs, then double down on the promotion of crazy ideas.
Yes, some will leave, but for others that is not what will happen. Some form of the QAnon conspiracy theory will remain deeply embedded in the nation’s culture by simply morphing to incorporate new developments.
QAnon lunacy in some form or another is most probably here to stay.
Is there any hope for those inside? – Yes there is
Experts say friends and family of QAnon believers shouldn’t argue about doctrine or facts. This will only cause believers to further entrench themselves in the conspiracy theory.
“They shouldn’t argue about the specifics of the messaging, because that only causes the person to become defensive,” said Diane Benscoter, a former member of the Unification Church, a new religious movement more commonly known as the Moonies. She founded Antidote, an organization that offers support to people who have lost loved ones to cults.…
… Benscoter insists that believing in conspiracy theories isn’t sustainable. Eventually, believers will doubt the misinformation and lies they’ve bought into.
“That person that they love is still in there,” Benscoter said. “It’s a lot to ask of a young person to be there for their parents to help them get out of this with their dignity, but that’s really what needs to happen in order to mend the relationship.”
Previous QAnon Postings
Here are a few links to some previous QAnon postings.
- QAnon Watch: No Day of Reckoning- Update Jan 22, 2020
- QAnon Watch – Update Jan 15, 2020 – Trump Impeachment
- QAnon Watch – Update Jan 8, 2020 – Capitol Riot
- QAnon Watch – Update Dec 30, 2020
- QAnon Watch – Updates Dec 18, 2020
- QAnon Watch – Nov 20, 2020 – #QAnon
- Nov 11 – #QAnon updates – What happens inside the cult now?
- QAnon Watch: 2 Oct Update – #QAnon
- Sep 25 – QAnon watch – a brief update
- Jul 23 – Fake News Update: Twitter Bans 7,000 QAnon accounts