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How conspiracy theories invaded politics. (Op-Ed)

From flat-earthers, to lizard people, to 5G causing cancer and mind control, to Democrats sexually assaulting and cannibalizing children underneath pizza shops, conspiracy theories have dominated American politics. What was once a small group of private, odd beliefs has now become fairly mainstream. People genuinely believe that there are microchips in COVID-19 vaccines, UFOs have been covered up, that the September 11th attack was an inside job, and that the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting was a hoax. QAnon is the most popular conspiracy theory and political movement in the United States, a far-right group that has taken the internet by storm. It is unknown who Q is, hence the name QAnon, or if it is only one person. Experts have called QAnon a cult, and it is clear that they idolize Donald Trump as some sort of God or martyr figure.

Followers of QAnon believe that Trump is secretly fighting a “cabal of pedophiles.” They believe that Jewish people control the government, entertainment industry, and banks – an antisemitic trope and stereotype that was perpetuated during Hitler’s dictatorship over Germany. They have a fixation on Jewish financier George Soros, as well as Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. What do these three people have in common? They are all minorities. They are Jewish, female, and black, respectively. QAnon believers are white supremacists who uphold “traditional family values” and believe that anyone who is not a white, Christian, straight, cisgender male is inferior.

QAnon began in 2017 on the website 4chan, a hateful, anonymous internet forum rife with hate, bigotry, and racism. As the movement gained popularity, followers began going to Trump rallies and proudly proclaiming their conspiracy theories. QAnon’s conspiracy theories have also been shared by Russian and Chinese state-backed media, social media troll accounts, and the far-right Falun Gong cult-associated Epoch Media Group. What started as Q typing furiously on his keyboard on the scummiest part of the surface web became a massive part of American politics. Bots were used to interact with QAnon posts on Facebook, Instagram, and X, formerly known as Twitter, which boosted their engagement and were algorithmically shown to more users.

The conspiracy theories are all created to cause outrage against anyone who opposes Donald Trump. The claims are so farfetched and undeniably false that it is difficult to believe that anyone actually takes them seriously. The true number of QAnon believers is unknown, but it is a rather large group. With no evidence, their theories are blindly accepted as the truth. They often use numerology to concoct “secret codes” that Democrats use to speak with one another and directly to the public. Self-publishers on Amazon have written books explaining the theories and sharing “evidence” that borders on schizophrenic pseudoscience.

In the age of digital misinformation, it is harder and harder for the average person to determine what is fact and what is false. Unfortunately, Trump’s zealous fans have fallen into the hands of a cult that perpetuates these horrid, bizarre theories. People will believe what they want to believe, and American politics will never be the same.


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