Trump Didn’t Become President Again, But QAnon Followers Still Have Faith
When Joe Biden was elected president, followers of the QAnon conspiracy theory became convinced that Donald Trump would rise again.
The former president departed the White House on January 20, but believers predicted he would return to the oval office with an inauguration on March 4, with some convinced he would be ‘sworn in as the true leader of the New Republic’, with John F. Kennedy Jr. as his ‘second in command.’
The theory held so much weight that federal law enforcement agencies in the US prepared for potential acts of violence from QAnon followers and right-wing extremists, having learned from the insurrection that took place at the Capitol on January 6.
Unfortunately for those who were convinced by the theory, March 4 has been and gone, and Donald Trump did not retake the presidency. For many people, you might imagine that if everything you’ve believed in for months was pulled out from under your feet, you’d start to lose faith.
However, rather than giving up on the conspiracy and on Trump, it seems QAnon followers have simply moved the goalposts for the former president’s apparent re-inauguration.
In an effort to get an insight into the kinds of theories believers have been spreading regarding March 4, UNILAD spoke to a number of people whose family members have fallen into the QAnon rabbit hole. To protect their loved ones, all respondents names have been changed.
One respondent, Jane, told UNILAD that it was her mother who became convinced by QAnon, and that she doesn’t think she’ll lose faith in the conspiracy even with Trump’s failure to take back the White House. Jane’s mum was ‘stoking’ March 4 for a while, but the day before the inauguration was supposed to take place she began to proclaim ‘that “it” is coming and no one knows when’.
I think she’ll continue to fall down the rabbit hole of conspiracy theories and hold on to ‘hope’ that Trump will save the world. At this time I’m not sure if there’ll be a significant event anytime soon that’ll make her doubt her beliefs and I’m not sure if I can stick around much longer to save our relationship.
The mental gymnastics she performs to link anything and everything together is just becoming too much.
Another respondent, Sam, has seen their mother-in-law jump ‘from conspiracy to conspiracy’ in the last year. She claimed that when Biden was inaugurated, Trump would shut off the world’s power. The family sat with their mother-in-law all night, and of course nothing happened. Still, she remained a follower of the conspiracy.
She expressed her belief that Trump would be back in office by March 4, but based on what happened when her blackout prediction did not come true, Sam believes she will ‘simply forget what she said but still believe that at some point it will happen’.
Rather than abandon their beliefs, QAnon followers appear to have simply altered their predictions to later this month, with Sam having heard that March 21 is ‘the next date’. Online, supporters have been reported as saying that Trump will be inaugurated again on March 20.
Sam commented: ‘It’s not something they will ever accept, they will simply change it to suit their agendas. You can provide all the information to disprove their theory but they are all ignorant. Always.’
Chris, whose sister is involved with QAnon, told UNILAD she got wrapped up in the theory shortly after the coronavirus pandemic began. As she was out of work and ‘probably bored at home’, Chris believes she was an ‘easy victim for a cult’.
As rumours and plans for the January 6 attack on the Capitol began to spread online, Chris’s sister became convinced that ‘[Mike] Pence and the military were going to arrest Biden and co and hold command until Trump was sworn back in’.
Of course, that did not happen, but the Chris’s sister did not give up hope. When it came to March 4, she thought Trump and JFK Jr. would take control of the country.
She truly believes that top military leaders are on ‘team Trump’ and will arrest all the corrupt government officials because they’re all paedophiles who drink the blood of children… She believes there are children being held captive in the tunnels under the White House and Trump will set them free.
He’s allegedly going to take down the evil cabal that runs the world, starting [March 4].
Though the extreme predictions did not come true, Chris said that he doubts his sister will lose faith in the theory. He noted that Trump was originally supposed to ‘take down the evil cabal’ on January 6, and when that didn’t happen his sister was was ‘crying her eyes out’.
Chris hoped that would make her realise ‘how insane all of this is’, but evidently it was not enough to make her give up on her beliefs.
Sarah, whose sister became convinced by QAnon after her friends got her into it, said the conspiracy has ‘taken over’ her sister’s life, prompting her to drop out of college classes and become ‘super paranoid’.
She expected her sister to react with ‘denial and anger’ when the inauguration didn’t happen, but stressed that even when presented with evidence disproving the QAnon theories, she refuses to stop believing in it.
On the runup to March 4, QAnon followers appeared to try and cover their backs by claiming the date had been spread as misinformation. In a screenshot shared on Twitter, one believer wrote in a forum that the March 4 stories were being ‘peddled’ so that QAnon followers would spread ‘probably nonsense theories that make the whole movement look dumb’.
The dates referenced for the apparent uprising of Trump are not picked out of the blue, with March 4 being chosen as it was previously the standing presidential Inauguration Day prior to the 20th Amendment’s passage in 1933, which changed the date to January.
March 20, on the other hand, marks the 167th anniversary of the Republican Party’s founding.
It must be said that some former QAnon supporters seemingly managed to tear themselves away from the theory after Trump left office, with some turning to support groups to help leave the conspiracy behind. However, in spite of the numerous shortcomings of the movement, it seems that failed predictions aren’t enough to make everyone lose hope.
There will no doubt always be another date that supporters can look ahead to, another event just waiting to happen, that will fan the flames and ensure QAnon does not lose its grip on its followers.
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