QAnon , a widely believed right-wing conspiracy theory. QAnon developed in the early years of Donald Trump’s presidency through the anonymous posts of a commentator who initially called himself “Q Clearance Patriot,” later shortened to Q. Q claimed to be an intelligence officer working in the government with access to secret information. Through a series of cryptic online posts, Q asserted that Trump was secretly battling a satanic cabal of pedophiles who fed on the blood of children. Among those supposedly members of this group were Democrats and liberal commentators. According to this theory, President Trump would eventually bring the conspiracy’s members to justice in a bloody reckoning called “The Storm.” These ideas resonated with Trump’s critique of the so-called “deep state,” the entrenched government bureaucracy that he claimed kept him from enacting his programs. In the aftermath of the 2020 presidential election, many QAnon members followed Trump’s assertion that the voting was rigged, and participated in the storming of the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021. When the "Storm" failed to occur, some QAnon followers were disillusioned and dropped out of the movement. While its exact membership is unknown, QAnon-related sites on various social media platforms are estimated to have around 100,000 dedicated followers, with as many as 8 million recorded views of videos promoting the conspiracy. The impact of QAnon on the “real” world has been felt through the election of politicians associated with the movement to the House of Representatives in 2020, including Marjorie Taylor Green from Georgia and Lauren Boebert from Colorado. The movement has also spread to Germany and other countries around the world.

See A. Merlan, Republic of Lies: American Conspiracy Theorists and Their Surprising Rise to Power (2020), M. Rothschild, The Storm is Upon Us: How QAnon Became a Movement, Cult, and Conspiracy Theory of Everything (2021).

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