Thursday was supposed to be a historic day for the QAnon movement, the conspiracy theorists who believe former President Donald Trump is secretly fighting an order of child-trafficking Satanists who controls America.
Many followers believed that March 4th was the day Trump would be reinstalled as the 19th "real" president of the United States, and a fake corporation that had been masquerading as the United States since the 1870s would be dissolved — an idea based on separate conspiracy theories from the "sovereign citizen" movement. D.C. security forces were on high alert, and the House adjourned a day early, fearful that there could be a repeat of the January 6th attack on the Capitol.
But in the end, nothing happened — no second riot materialized. And one possible reason for that, reported The New York Times, is that QAnon social media influencers themselves got cold feet about the conspiracy theories they were pushing.
"As the date drew nearer, something ironic happened: Many of the online influencers who tend to drive the conversation around QAnon started throwing cold water on the March 4 idea, though it had been theirs in the first place," reported Giovanni Russonello. "'In the lead-up, all these influencers realized all these false prophecies are going to look bad and might hurt their profit,' Mia Bloom, the co-author of the forthcoming book 'Pastels and Pedophiles: Inside the Mind of QAnon,' said in an interview."
"They were the ones that floated March 4," added Bloom. "They were also the ones in the last two weeks saying: 'No, no, no, it's a false flag. It's not QAnon that's going to do anything on March 4. It's a false-flag operation by antifa to make us look bad.'"
Although violence was averted, said the report, that doesn't necessarily mean QAnon is dead — on the contrary.
"What's really worrisome about QAnon is that it's basically a choose-your-own-adventure," said Carnegie Endowment for International Peace Rachel Kleinfeld. "It allows people to co-create a conspiracy that gives them a strong sense of positive community and belonging, in a world that's very isolated. And it's a community in which there's an idea, rather like an improv group, to say, 'Yes, and' — not, 'No, but.' If someone throws out an idea, others are encouraged to build on it. That suggests a long life, a durability."
You can read more here.