The QAnon Weirdos Are Rapidly Seizing The Republican Party

Even if Trump loses, the GOP and, by extension, the rest of us, will be stuck with these kooks.

(Photo by Rick Loomis/Getty Images.)

by Bob Cesca

WASHINGTON, DC -- The Republican Party is in serious trouble. And by extension so is everyone else.

I’m not saying we’re somehow affiliated with the crisis the GOP faces, nor am I saying we’re primarily responsible for it. I’m just saying that we all keep getting hit with the blood-spatter from the quackery happening on the other side of the aisle, and win or lose, it’s going to get worse before it gets better.

We’re all aware of the origin story of the Republican political crisis by now, so I won’t belabor how exactly we arrived at this point. Suffice it to say, the Republicans and chiefly Fox News founder Roger Ailes at some point as far back as 50 years ago decided there was an untapped voting demographic ripe for the picking: the poorly educated, kneejerk white male racist vote. And since then, the Republicans have been fielding more and more candidates in gerrymandered districts who specifically appeal to that voting bloc. 

While the party cultivated a new breed of doofuses to shoehorn into various posts, Ailes, the media Pied Piper of the movement, provided the grievances and propaganda to get the word out. This eventually led to substandard weirdos like Louie Gohmert, Sarah Palin, Steve King, and of course Donald Trump.

Trump turned out to be the ultimate form of the destructor, as they say in Ghostbusters. In addition to all of the other immensely damaging Trump things culminating in America’s first fascist tyranny, the current president has become a gateway through which the Q collective is emerging, as if from another plane of existence, and there’s no immediate way the party establishment will be able to cull them from their midst. Indeed, the Republican Party is on the verge of being taken over by the looniest of the loonies -- a group of conspiracy theorists who make Alex Jones look like Walter Cronkite. 

And the Q people love Donald Trump. A second term for Trump would metastasize Q and the QAnon theories throughout the party. But even if Trump loses, the GOP and, by extension, the rest of us, will be stuck with these kooks.

In case you’re not familiar with QAnon, it’s a deeply anti-Semitic, far-right set of conspiracy theories, launched by a 4chan user called “Q.” These mentally unstable internet users are clearly incapable of processing information the way Normals do. They lack the ability to separate obvious fiction from reality, and that’s just the beginning. 

Remember Pizzagate? That was Q. The Q disciples believe in the existence of the “deep state” -- an alleged secret underground collective of pedophilic federal bureaucrats controlling the entire nation, and that it’s systematically undermining both Trump and the Q adherents. One of their other signature “theories” -- actually, they’re less like theories more like hallucinogen-induced nightmares -- involves Hollywood celebrities kidnapping children and harvesting their blood for the “adrenochrome,” a derivative of adrenaline. They’re also disciples of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, another anti-Semitic heap of gibberish used to justify the vilification of Jewish people. 

The latter theory, the Elders of Zion thing, was the topic of a retweet by a woman who was scheduled to speak at the Republican convention until the heat was too much for the party and her spot was filled by a different official.

Anyway, you get the idea. 

A new poll by The Daily Kos and Civiqs reveals the pervasiveness of the crisis. According to the pollster, the “deep state elites” theory is regarded as “mostly true” by 33 percent of Republicans. That might seem far from scary. But wait. Only 13 percent believe it’s not true at all. In other words, 33 percent are certain of it, while as many as 87 percent of Republicans believe it to some degree or another. That’s the scary part. Christopher Ingraham, the resident numbers cruncher for The Washington Post, called the poll results “extremely, extremely grim.”

That’s an understatement.

Imagine carrying on debates over policy or the role of government with a party on the other side of every issue that believes pedophiles in Hollywood are drinking blood extract from kidnapped children. How can democracy function with half of the political debate gone Full Red Hat, and also Full Q Creepazoid on top of it. That’s a two-headed hydra of madness, and there’s no way a political system can endure half of it being run by escaped psychopaths.

Worse, it calcifies the need for Fox News Channel. Bear with me on this. If we’re successful in our effort to marginalize or even eliminate Fox News Channel, what then? By the way, Fox News will never go away, but it’s possible for it to adjust its format given enough pressure. But if Fox News were to disappear, say, sometime next year, where will all of its viewers go? There will be a massive flood of former Fox News viewers migrating to the OAN network, which is the television front for QAnon conspiracy. So, then, rather than dealing with friends and family who watch Fox News, we’ll have friends and family who are being bombarded every day by programming that’s far worse than anything the Murdochs are putting out.

Roger Ailes created a monster, and now we’re all stuck with it, partly because the alternative is considerably more terrifying. And even with Fox News remaining popular among Republican viewers, some hardcore Red Hats have already migrated to OAN, further amplifying the presence of Q followers inside the party.

The best we can hope for is this: if Trump goes away, they might follow him back into the margins of the debate rather than expanding into a major faction inside the party. Also, these de-centralized groups tend to collapse under the lack of leadership. And, of course, there’s always the possibility that the Republicans will get so utterly clobbered for aligning with anti-Semitic freaks, they’ll cut bait -- but that’ll only happen electorally. As soon as Q begins to erode both votes and financing for Republican candidates, my guess is that’ll be the end of the alliance. There’s also the possibility that a new Republican Party will form from the seeds of the Never Trumper movement, leaving the old GOP, and QAnon with it, to wither and die politically. One way or another, they need to be eradicated before they gain a foothold in the mainstream, otherwise the national insanity that’s consuming us now will only grow more toxic.

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