More than two dozen candidates for Congress in the November 3rd elections have endorsed or given credence to QAnon or promoted QAnon content online, the non-profit watchdog group Media Matters says. Two are independents; the rest are Republicans. At least one of them is expected to be elected to the House of Representatives next week, and a second has a good chance. The FBI has listed QAnon as a domestic terrorism threat. The unfounded conspiracy theory, which began in 2017 with anonymous web postings from “Q,” posits that President Donald Trump is secretly fighting a global cabal of child-sex predators that includes prominent Democrats, Hollywood elites, and “deep state” allies. Messages pushed online by its adherents aim to vilify and criminalize political rivals with unfounded allegations. The ADL civil rights group called it “an amalgam of both novel and well-established theories, with marked undertones of antisemitism and xenophobia.”
The two QAnon-affiliated candidates who are expected to have a chance at winning Congressional seats this year are Marjorie Taylor Greene and Lauren Boebert. Right-wing small business owner Marjorie Taylor Greene, who declared in a 2017 video that “Q is a patriot,” is expected to win a House seat in rural northwest Georgia after her opponent dropped out. Gun-rights activist Lauren Boebert, who told a conservative podcast last spring that she hopes Q “is real,” has a good chance of winning her Republican-leaning district of western Colorado. Both women are political neophytes who declare they want to go to Congress to “stop socialism.” After they won Republican primary elections in the summer, both sought to distance themselves from their previous statements about QAnon. President Donald Trump invited both to attend his Republican National Convention speech at the White House in August.
After amplifying conspiracy theorists, social media platforms lately have been trying to crack down on QAnon’s sprawl. But a recent poll by Morning Consult said 38% of Republicans believe that at least parts of the QAnon conspiracy are true. A supporter of an early form of the conspiracy, predating President Donald Trump’s election, in 2016 opened fire at a Washington pizzeria that early proponents of the conspiracy claimed was the site of a child sex trafficking ring. President Trump has refused to renounce QAnon and even praised it as patriotic. He has frequently retweeted QAnon-linked content.
Despite the growing support for the anon conspiracy theory amongst Republicans, some Republicans have publicly denounced the conspiracy theory. “We simply cannot continue to be a party that accepts conspiracy theories and lives in crazy echo chambers,” said Brendan Buck, who worked for two former House Republican speakers, Paul Ryan and John Boehner. “There is no place for QAnon in the Republican party,” House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy told Fox News in August, becoming the highest-ranking Republican to condemn QAnon publicly.