by Sydney Linholm
The Storm is coming—at least, that’s what QAnon supporters believe is happening, and Trump will be the face of that reckoning. QAnon has emerged as a new and popular far-right set of conspiracy theories that are centered around the core belief that the world is run by Satan-worshipping pedophiles, some of which include influential people such as the Obamas, Joe Biden, the Clintons, Ellen DeGeneres, Pope Francis, and more. According to this theory, Donald Trump was recruited to run in 2016 by high-up military generals to serve justice on the members of this group, and imprison them. They also believed that President Trump would refuse to leave office on Inauguration Day, and that he instead would exercise martial law and stage a coup d’etat in order to serve justice upon the Democrats. Additionally, they encourage other popular conspiracies, such as the events surrounding 9/11, the existence of aliens and UFOs, and the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. According to the New York Times, they have also become a stronghold for the false theory that the 2020 Presidential election was stolen from President Trump, and maintain that he is the rightful president.
So what is “The Storm”? This is a reference to a remark that Donald Trump made in 2017, in which he said “You guys know what this represents? Maybe it’s the calm before the storm” as he posed for a photo with military generals. As mentioned before, QAnon supporters believe that President Trump is the heroic figure in the middle of all this, brought to power in order to rain justice down on these alleged Satan-worshipping pedophilic figures. The election was stolen from him, as they say, and he’s planning a triumphant comeback. This kind of rhetoric is dangerous in that it has the ability to fire up Trump’s fanbase once again—and keep him in the political loop.
There are some visible parallels between Trump supporters and QAnon supporters, and one of the most prominent ones is paranoia. Both groups’ supporters seem to capitalize on the paranoid side of American brains in order to convince them that some of these well-respected world leaders have ulterior motives, and use this as a way to gain supporters. Any skepticism that American voters may have is a target for Trump and QAnon’s similar rhetoric, and together they create a culture of fear. Of course, this isn’t news to anyone: Trump has repeatedly been accused of fear-mongering.
This isn’t the first time that influential politicians and far-right groups have capitalized on paranoia. If you were being bold, you could even compare Trumpism and QAnon supporters to Nazism. The Nazis were a far-right group who introduced a culture of fear into their administration, and then capitalized on that fear in order to further their own agenda. For example, during the persecution of Jewish people under the Nazi regime, people living in Germany were too scared to disobey Nazi laws, which allowed them to maintain control over the state. The Nazi party began as a group of radicalized Hitler supporters that saw Hitler as the divine leader of the movement and supported his philosophies.
Having said this, the situation with Trump and QAnon is nowhere near this dire, however it is escalating—some QAnon supporters participated in the storming of the United States’ Capitol on January 6, 2021. While Donald Trump is no longer in office, they refuse to let go of the belief that he is the heroic figure at the centre of this conspiracy, and continue to push their agenda that influential democrats are leading secret, criminal lives. Radicalized Trump supporters, or any far-right sympathizers, agree with this notion or at least are inclined to believe QAnon and Trump’s claims.
QAnon continues to gain supporters, which in turn means that Trumpism isn’t dead. It means that Trump will continue to be a prominent figure among American politics, as he represents both the demographic of people who don’t trust Joe Biden and the people who believe that the election was robbed from him. Both Trump and QAnon, and other far-right sympathizers, use this distrust of political figureheads as a vessel for their own agendas, and with QAnon having lots of overlap with Trump and his supporters ideological beliefs, they will continue to push their cause: which means Trump isn’t going anywhere.