In 2018, it was Russia.
In 2020, it was white supremacy.
And for the 2022 election, Democrats revealed this week that they hope to make QAnon their next political canard, according to Politico—even though the original posters of the enigmatic 4chan content now appear to have signed off.
Rather than focus on legislation, Congressional Democrats have left the lawmaking to President Joe Biden‘s executive fiats. But as they await next week’s impeachment hearing in the Senate, some are already shifting to their other top priority: campaigning.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee launched its first round of 2022 ads—a $500,000 TV and digital campaign attempting to link the GOP as a whole to the fringe QAnon conspiracy theory, while also blaming “Q” for the Jan. 6 uprising at the US Capitol in protest of election fraud.
“If Kevin McCarthy wants to take his party to ‘crazy town’ and follow these dangerous ideas, he shouldn’t expect to do well in the next election,” said Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, D-NY, the new DCCC chair. “And it’s important to the country that the Democratic Party continues to be the responsible adult.”
The ad campaign targets several “vulnerable” new Republicans, including those who ousted Democrats in blue districts during the 2020 election to narrow House Democrats’ tenuous majority to a 10-seat advantage, which may dip into the single digits pending the outcomes of five current or expected vacancies.
Despite insisting that QAnon discussion boards were so dangerous as to justify mass suppression in an unprecedented rollback of First Amendment freedoms, that hasn’t stopped desperate Democrats from milking the conspiracy for what it hopes will be its own political advantage.
Fittingly, given the Left’s authoritarian crackdown on dissent, a Google search for information on QAnon yielded a deluge of articles from discredited left-wing hoaxers like Rolling Stone and the Atlantic, but nothing from conservative sources.
In some cases, the Left has literally sought to lead its own conspiracy-minded masses down a rabbit hole of thinking 75-plus million Americans subscribe to the theories about a satanic pedophile ring at the heart of the deep state.
Plenty of QAnon supporters amid chaos at Congress. The rabbit denotes QAnon slogan “follow the white rabbit.” pic.twitter.com/KeVQ3gmkdF
— Will Sommer (@willsommer) January 6, 2021
However, there is no evidence that the movement has taken root in serious discussions of conservative thinking or policy debates beyond the reaches of the dark web.
Some point to tweets by former president Donald Trump and conservative leaders like attorneys Lin Wood and Sidney Powell—as well as freshman Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga.—to suggest a growing mania.
Yet, most of the Left’s reporting on it intentionally conflates legitimate, evidence backed concerns over matters like vote fraud with the more outlandish meme fodder found on any given message board.
While individuals linked to QAnon were on prominent display at the US Capitol demonstration, in some cases those same figures also were present at recent Black Lives Matter rallies.
Likewise, there were known leftist subversives in the crowd at the Capitol, linked to movements like BLM and Antifa, who may have helped instigate the ensuing violence.
Already, in the aftermath of the election, many of those who engaged on the 4chan and 8chan message boards where the QAnon content originated have abandoned it.
In fact, reports indicate that the men believed to be behind it—Jim Watkins and his son, Ron—may have retired following a simple post-election message: “Nothing can stop what is coming. Nothing!”
Nonetheless, Maloney and other partisan leftists hope to use the movement as a way to bolster their baseless claims to be the gatekeepers of intellectualism—all while continuing to advance phony narratives like the debunked 1619 Project and conspiracy theories about “systemic racism” as a means to shore up their own uneducated masses. .
“They can do QAnon, or they can do college-educated voters. They cannot do both,” Maloney said of his GOP counterparts in Congress.