Many Americans might be surprised to learn that the most influential political force in the country is not President Joe Biden, former President Donald Trump, Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, or Democratic Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.
In fact, it is apparently something no one can prove the existence of – QAnon.
Yet QAnon has installed at least one lawmaker in Congress – and now the Democrats want to toss her out.
Arguably, if the Founding Fathers could see us now, they might have opted to remain British.
In a nutshell, Q is supposedly an anonymous – get it? – top secret government official who posts cryptic “truths” online about the Democratic-leaning “deep state” pedophiles who not only really run the government, but seek to persecute their political opponents.
In a recent NPR segment, Washington Post reporter Craig Timberg admitted his paper and others struggle to define QAnon. It volleys between being a “conspiracy theory” and “extremist ideology,” or perhaps a “cult” or even an “alternative reality game.”
But what’s clear is that Trump is the sun in the QAnon universe.
Timberg characterized the 45th president as “essentially a messiah” for QAnon believers. The New York Times last October described it (him? her?) as a “viral pro-Trump movement” that championed “baseless conspiracy theories.”
That line is laughable.
For one reason, here is the beginning of a piece by Brendan Nyhan, a political science professor at Dartmouth, in that same New York Times about a month after Trump took over as president.
“Even as Democrats decry the false claims streaming regularly from the White House, they appear to have become more vulnerable to unsupported claims and conspiracy theories that flatter their own political prejudices,” Nyhan wrote.
“Losing the presidential election made Democrats more likely to blame secret conspiracies for the state of the world,” he added.
Nyhan pointed out that conspiracy-theory researchers surveyed both Democrats and Republicans on the issue of whether America really was run by a secretive, manipulative, unidentified cabal. Prior to Trump’s election, 27 percent of Democrats believed that; afterward, 32 percent did.
In other words, four years ago, a third of Democrats bought into a QAnon-style theory — and no one batted an eye.
“Just as Republicans disproportionately endorsed prominent misperceptions during the Obama years,” Nyhan noted, “Democrats are now the opposition partisans especially likely to fall victim to dubious claims about the Trump administration.”
The most dubious claim, of course, was that Trump conspired with Russian operatives to win the election – the big lie that Democrats promoted for four years.
Last year, QAnon emerged as such a threat that congressional Democrats advocated a resolution to condemn QAnon and the “conspiracy theories it promotes.”
The language of the resolution said more about Democrats than it did QAnon.
For instance, it blasted QAnon for expanding beyond its usual theories to “questioning the truth about the September 11th terrorist attacks, to believing in alien landings, to denying the safety of vaccines.”
For the record, the 9/11 “truthers” include 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Marianne Williamson, while the nation’s leading anti-vaxxer is Robert F. Kennedy Jr., a Democrat, son of a senator, and nephew of a former president.
Additionally, the resolution said QAnon’s claims “very likely” motivate “domestic extremists … to engage in criminal or violent activity.” Moreover, its beliefs “undermine trust in America’s democratic institutions, encourage rejection of objective reality, and deepen our Nation’s political polarization.”
Of course, the Democrats’ reflexive belief in the Russia-collusion hoax also undermined Trump, encouraged acceptance of objective unreality, and divided the country as well, but none of them denounced that.
The resolution, adopted in October, also seemed to recognize current events. It also criticized “far-left” ideologies that spread “unfounded conspiracy theories and that encourage Americans to destroy public and private property and attack law enforcement officers.” Yet it did not specifically name either Black Lives Matter or Antifa, as it did QAnon.
The resolution passed overwhelmingly in the House with only 18 nays – all Republicans and one independent, Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan, a former Republican.
Opponents said they believed the resolution ran afoul of First Amendment free speech protections.
Yet the resolution also encouraged the FBI and the intelligence community to hone in on QAnon.
And there, Amash saw something else.
“These are conspiracy theorists who believe in a deep state that’s fighting against them,” he tweeted, “Congress’s declaring that the intelligence community and FBI should be sent after them just confirms their fears.”
Following that misplaced logic, the Democrats now seek to fan those fears further.
They want to toss out Georgia Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, a supposed QAnon adherent who won a congressional seat last year, which drew her applause from Trump.
Democrats dug out old tweets in which Greene reportedly called for violence against Democratic leaders, including former President Barack Obama.
Recently, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi referred to Greene as part of the “enemy within” Congress because of those tweets. On Friday, two other Democrats said they will propose a resolution censuring Greene and urging her to resign.
If voted on, it will likely pass, since Democrats control the House. And so, as Amash pointed out, the QAnon people who believe the government wants to silence and harass them are watching it move to silence and harass someone who thinks as they do.
But also on Friday, Greene, in response to all this, announced that she has already raised $1.6 million for her re-election campaign, courtesy of 60,000 donors across all 50 states.
“While big PACs and powerful corporations refuse to donate to Republicans and cave to the vicious cancel culture mob, the people have my back,” she said.
With results like that, Democrats may actually be dumping fertilizer on QAnon, instead of weed-killer.