Search This Blog

Divided We Stand

Divided We Stand
New book about the 2020 election.

Saturday, August 22, 2020

The QAnon Party

In Defying the Odds, we discuss state and congressional elections as well as the presidential race. Conspiracy theory seems to be seeping into the GOP grassroots.

Matthew Rosenberg and Maggie Haberman at NYT:
Late last month, as the Texas Republican Party was shifting into campaign mode, it unveiled a new slogan, lifting a rallying cry straight from a once-unthinkable source: the internet-driven conspiracy theory known as QAnon.
The new catchphrase, “We Are the Storm,” is an unsubtle cue to a group that the F.B.I. has labeled a potential domestic terrorist threat. It is instantly recognizable among QAnon adherents, signaling what they claim is a coming conflagration between President Trump and what they allege, falsely, is a cabal of Satan-worshiping pedophile Democrats who seek to dominate America and the world.
The slogan can be found all over social media posts by QAnon followers, and now, too, in emails from the Texas Republican Party and on the T-shirts, hats and sweatshirts that it sells. It has even worked its way into the party’s text message system — a recent email from the party urged readers to “Text STORM2020” for updates.
The president, during a White House news conference on Wednesday, described QAnon followers — some of whom have been charged with murder, domestic terrorism and planned kidnapping — as “people that love our country.”

The president has retweeted QAnon followers at least 201 times, according to an analysis by Media Matters. Some of his children have posted social media messages related to the conspiracy theory. A deputy White House chief of staff, Dan Scavino, who has for years combed corners of the internet for memes that the president could promote, has three times in the past year — in November 2019, May and June — posted ticking-clock memes that are used by QAnon believers to signify the coming showdown between the president and his purported enemies.
More unusual is how QAnon adherents often portray Mr. Trump as a god-emperor figure who has been sending them coded messages of support. The QAnon slogan, “We Are the Storm,” grew out of a remark by Mr. Trump, who quipped during a 2017 photo op with generals, “You guys know what this represents? Maybe it’s the calm before the storm.”

QAnon is an extreme version of aversive partisanship:
“There are several people in the party’s infrastructure whom I would not put it past to actually believe this nonsense,” said Elizabeth Bingham, a former vice chair of the Dallas County Republican Party. “They seem giddy with the idea that they can tell as many people as possible that the Democrats aren’t just opposed to the privatization of social security or soft on Syria — that they’re in favor of child sacrifices. That the Democrats are evil.”
The true believers, she said, were being urged on by opportunists who feared primary challenges and losing elected office. “I think that’s worse,” she added.