Here’s what QAnon and the 'election coup scenario' have in common

Here’s what QAnon and the 'election coup scenario' have in common

Conspiracy theories were around long before Donald Trump's presidency: the late conservative and National Review founder William F. Buckley, during the 1950s and 1960s, had zero patience with the outlandish claims of the John Birch Society. But the Trump era has found conspiracy theories becoming especially plentiful, and journalist Dan Brooks compares two Trump-era conspiracy theories in a December 24 op-ed for The Guardian: QAnon and the "coup scenario."

"QAnon is essentially an online conspiracy theory based on interpreting the gnomic posts of an unidentified person or group of people known as Q, who purports to be a high-ranking official in the U.S. government," Brooks explains. "Q's message to the faithful is that this government is secretly controlled by a cabal of satanic pedophiles whom Donald Trump will one day round up and execute, in a mass cleansing called the Storm."

Another major conspiracy theory of 2020, Brooks adds, is "the coup scenario."

Trump supporters, making baseless claims of widespread voter fraud, have filed countless lawsuits in the hope of overturning the results of the 2020 presidential election. But those lawsuits have been running into a brick wall, and President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration is less than a month away.

"The coup scenario has not come to pass, unless you count the series of unsuccessful lawsuits Trump's campaign has filed in an attempt to overturn various state election results — which I do not," Brooks writes. "The president's motives remain inscrutable, but if you are going to risk it all on a bid to overthrow U.S. democracy, you do not put Rudolph Giuliani in charge."

Both theories, according to Brooks, stem from a frustration with democracy.

"Both QAnon and the Trump coup were dark fantasies that came with the same happy ending: a situation in which decent Americans no longer had to argue with the ignorant and evil, because we were finally justified in simply overpowering them," Brooks explains. "That we cannot do so under ordinary conditions is what makes U.S. democracy such a pain in the ass."


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