Source: The Guardian
Written by Timothy Lim

With the 2020 US presidential elections underway, political parties are working round the clock to rally voters and amass turnout at the polls.

One voter demographic, whose unflinching support has been enjoyed by US President Donald Trump since early in his presidency, is a group that is affiliated to the QAnon theory.


Birth of a Cult

28 October 2017 saw the beginning of QAnon’s rise to popularity with an original post on the internet message board, 4Chan, under the pseudonym Q Clearance Patriot.

Q claims to be an insider within the Trump Administration with access to sensitive undisclosed information. There is little to no evidence to show for Q’s identity.


The Message

The QAnon theory continues to thrive in this era of misinformation. At its core is President Trump and his mission to eradicate the “Deep State”, an inner political collusion conspiring against the American People.

Numerous claims of evildoings were alleged, with one popular theory accusing members of this supposed conspiracy of child trafficking. Several political leaders and influential celebrities such as former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and popular television personality Chrissy Teigen have been tied to the conspiracy.

Despite regularly producing inaccurate anecdotes and predictions surrounding the federal government, online support for QAnon stays steady within some conservative circles.


Latest On QAnon

QAnon made headlines as its popularity continues to rise. The COVID-19 pandemic saw more people turning to social media and the internet to pass time. Many find themselves unknowingly drawn into QAnon echo chambers.

Facebook and twitter launched campaigns to ban accounts linked to QAnon across both platforms. The numbers were staggering as some Facebook groups had upwards of 200,000 members. Currently, it is estimated that about 93,000 twitter accounts linked to QAnon are still active.

The Republican nominee for US Congress from the state of Georgia, Ms. Marjorie Taylor Greene, gained some bad press due to her past support of QAnon. She will be contesting for a congress seat this coming November, alongside several other candidates who have publicly shown support for QAnon.

President Trump drew much flak for his handling of the subject. In a white house press briefing, when questioned about its rising internet popularity, the president failed to affirm the FBI’s classification of QAnon as a “domestic terror threat”. President Trump deflected a similar question during a recent town hall. Supporters of QAnon have also been seen wearing shirts and holding placards emblazoned with the letter ‘Q’ at President Trump’s rallies.

President Trump’s recent self-quarantine after testing positive for COVID-19 was thought to be merely a front. QAnon supporters suggested that the president was under protection while an operation to oust the conspiracy was ongoing.

Several other media trends have been noticed, with the mainstream media now reluctantly covering stories about QAnon. The theory is riding on nonprofit anti-child trafficking campaigns to gain publicity. Its influence is also expanding internationally as it finds audiences in Europe and South America.

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