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QAnon Carries On With New Leaders

Analysts see the movement as becoming stronger as it decentralizes
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 29, 2021 7:30 PM CST
Updated Dec 30, 2021 12:03 AM CST
As Q Fades Away, QAnon Carries On
A demonstrator holds a Q sign outside a rally supporting President Donald Trump in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., in 2018.   (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

(Newser) – It's been more than a year since QAnon received any direction from Q, the otherwise nameless online account whose conspiracy theories the movement was built on. But QAnon appears undeterred, the New York Times reports, evolving rather than fading away like its leader. It's so far survived Q's disappearance, the 2020 presidential election loss, and predictions that didn't come true. New conspiracies and predictions take hold, as evidenced by the trek hundreds made to Dallas in November to see John F. Kennedy Jr. return to life and declare himself a candidate to be former President Trump's running mate in 2024. Many waited for weeks.

The movement hasn't exactly gone underground, but it may have gone deeper into the nation's political and social systems. Media Matters counts more than 40 candidates for national office in 2022 who have publicly backed QAnon, though they may have toned down the rhetoric. Omar Navarro has endorsed the lie about Hollywood moguls being child traffickers, but the California Republican said he no longer posts about QAnon, partly to avoid being kicked off social media. "I'm running a campaign for Congress," he said, "so I need to focus on issues that matter more, like the economy or business other than" QAnon.

QAnon could be emerging more pervasive and influential. It's "leaving behind the iconography of the Trump era and becoming a conspiracy of everything," a conspiracy researcher said. More than ever, said Mike Rothschild, followers are free to choose their own conspiracy theories to spread. That's what worries Jitarth Jadej, who used to be a follower. He sees a more decentralized, professionally produced organization growing, albeit largely out of sight. And he doesn't see it collapsing soon, per Politico. Nor does Logan Strain, another conspiracy researcher. "This is something that we’re just going to have to live with in the general political world in the United States," Strain said, "for at least a generation." (Read more QAnon stories.)

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