In recent months, supporters of the conspiracy theory group QAnon have slowly edged their way from the fringes of the internet all the way into mainstream politics.
And now, they’re winning primaries.
Political newcomer Marjorie Taylor Greene is the latest congressional hopeful to have beliefs rooted in the troubling conspiracy.
Greene, who is favored to win the seat in Georgia’s 14th congressional district, is already objectively problematic in the predictable alt-right ways. She has a long history of making incendiary comments, at one time suggesting that “anyone that is a Muslim” does not have a place in US politics, and that the 2019 congressional newcomers (the most racially diverse group ever elected to the House) were an “Islamic invasion of our government.” She has also called African-Americans “slaves to the Democratic party” and said that white males were the most mistreated group in America today.
As if that wasn’t troubling enough, Greene is also openly a QAnon supporter.
QAnon is a convoluted, completely baseless conspiracy theory group that has slowly gained traction since it first appeared in the depths of 4chan in 2017. It is based on zero — zero — fact and suggests that there is a shadow government secretly controlling US politics, entertainment, and media and that there is a secret “deep state” effort working to overthrow Donald Trump.
Greene has publicly supported “Q”, the anonymous poster who claims to have access to this “classified information,” saying that “Q is a patriot… He is someone that very much loves his country and is on the same page as us, and he is very pro-Trump. He appears to have connections at the highest levels.”
She’s also perpetuated conspiracy theories around the events of 9/11, referring to the hijacked Flight 77 that flew 64 people to their deaths and killed 125 more upon impact as the “so-called plane,” alleging that there wasn’t “any evidence” that a plane crashed into the Pentagon. (To be crystal clear, there is literal video evidence that this crash happened.)
Yet, despite this deeply damaging rhetoric, Greene has been called “a future Republican star” by Donald Trump. She garnered a whopping 57% of the vote when she won the House primary in Georgia. And, since the district reliably slants Republican, this victory practically ensures that she’ll secure the seat in the general election.
Greene isn’t a fluke or an anomaly. Instead, she’s merely another voice in a troubling trend of conspiracy theorists turning into politicians.
In May, Jo Rae Perkins won the Oregon GOP Primary race for US Senate, securing her spot on the general election ballot in November. Perkins is an unabashed Q supporter, even thanking Q in her victory speech, noting that she stands “with Q and the team.”
Lauren Boebert, who won the GOP primary for Colorado’s 3rd congressional district, expressed “hope” that QAnon is real, “because it only means America is getting stronger and better.”
And Mike Cargile, who is running for California’s 35th congressional district, stated that it would be “irresponsible and indefensible NOT to seek out the truth” on current events, feeling so devoted to the QAnon agenda that he even put the conspiracy group’s hashtag, #WWG1WGA, short for “when we go one, we go all,” in his Twitter bio.
It’s easy to feel alarmed when politicians appearing on your ballot are not only horribly bigoted but also appear to have zero grasp on reality and basic facts. But, in the smallest of silver linings, some Republicans are speaking out against Greene and the other QAnon’ers. After initially expressing support for Greene, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy called Greene’s statements “appalling.” House Minority Whip Steve Scalise agreed, stating that “the comments made by Ms. Greene are disgusting and don’t reflect the values of equality and decency that make our country great.”
Even so, Greene’s reprehensible behavior has yet to receive any sort of criticism from Trump. Instead, Trump took to Twitter to congratulate her on her primary victory, writing,
“Marjorie is strong on everything and never gives up – a real WINNER!”
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Michelle Vincent is a project manager and freelance writer. She enjoys traveling, is worried she won’t love her future children as much as she loves her dogs, and is actively recruiting podcast recommendations.