How Trump’s Election Defeat Reshaped QAnon

Former President Trump’s election defeat in November 2020 has thrown the QAnon belief system into disarray. But the extremist cult is still very much alive.
Supporters of President Donald Trump, including one with a QAnon shirt, shout down a CNN news crew before a rally Tuesday, July 31, 2018, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O’Meara)

Supporters of President Donald Trump, including one with a QAnon shirt, shout down a CNN news crew before a rally Tuesday, July 31, 2018, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O’Meara)

Dr. Chamila Liyanage is a Policy and Practitioner Fellow at the Centre for Analysis of the Radical Right (CARR) and a Researcher/Content Developer at Radical-R: Radicalisation Research, UK.

The idea of QAnon, the bewildering buzzword of our time, is undergoing a phase of test and reset. For many, the end of Trump’s presidency means the end of QAnon. However, it is not that simple. Beneath its deceiving fantasies, QAnon hides ample ideological fuel for a long-term metapolitical assault against the cornerstones of democracy.

A metapolitical assault tends to target the culture that nurtures democratic values. Vilifying democracy is part of a broader campaign to decay democratic legitimacy. Against this backdrop, this article analyzes how and why the end of Trump’s presidency will reshape QAnon and its wider belief system, known as the “Great Awakening.”

The influence of QAnon continues, March 4 is another day that gave QAnon followers hope about the possible return of Trump as the President but in vain. A simple look at the “Great Awakening Map”, which lists QAnon as small but a critical part, is sufficient to understand that its influence will not vanish anytime soon.

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An Emergency In “The Plan”

With the election defeat of Donald Trump, after a tightly fought race, to Joe Biden, the so-called “Plan” of QAnon was thrown into an emergency mode. What is “the Plan?” In QAnon believers’ minds, Trump was endowed with a divine task to abolish the ‘Satanic’ deep state through what they called “the Storm”, which explains him revealing the deep state and arresting key people behind it.

Then “the Plan” goes further to culminate what it started: QAnon needs to arrest establishment pedophiles, oust the CIA, end the Fed (Federal Reserve), end human trafficking, which seems to be a reference to immigration, and start tribunals to bring establishment Satanists to justice. The whole operation is said to be supported by the former president, high-ranking military intelligence, the patriots, deep web, anonymous meme wars called “psychological thought bombs,” and ANONS, an acronym for anonymous online activists.

The QAnon sketch in the Great Awakening map precisely lists these steps. Obviously, “the Plan” of QAnon is mostly pragmatic. It also shows signs of its more comprehensive belief system, the “Great Awakening,” which is not within reach of empiricism but wears into beliefs that cannot be verified by sensory experience. The advantage of this beyond empiricism is such that none can prove nor disprove the claims of the “Great Awakening,” which is the master plan of QAnon as it aims to change human vibration to another level of existence, giving humans something called a “spiritual light body”, a fantastic theory out of pure imagination.

In its farther reaches of imagination, QAnon recommends “Tripcodes” or exopolitics books. This genre listed in Amazon with Amazon bestsellers by authors such as Michael Salla, who claims extraterrestrials have been at the heart of human affairs, working closely with key people in global echelons of power.

QAnon also explains its divine plan, claiming the entire operation of abolishing the deep state is guided by Pleiadians, an alleged alien race, who said to guide humanity to a New Age of Light or a Golden Age. However, they must have picked the wrong person for the imaginary task of abolishing Satanists; “the Plan” fell apart, and understandably, former President Trump failed to live up to the imagination of QAnon believers.

How QAnon Followers Reacted To Trump’s loss?

How would this failed plan of abolishing the so-called “deep state” affect QAnon and its master plan, i.e., the “Great Awakening?” Evidence can be seen in deep websites such as 8kun and 4chan. The frustration over the failed “Plan” is evident on these sites. Doubts about the Q (QAnon)’s authenticity, whether Q fooled people all along, and whether Q was a fake operation aimed to hunt down patriots were major recent themes.

The sense of the deep state coming back to power met with the reasoning that these things must happen and are part of “the Plan.” There were also plenty of Q trolling, which tried to discredit QAnon as a hoax. With all these background noises, there are two solid streams of thoughts that may indicate the possible future direction of QAnon, and both seem to be useful for crowd manipulation.

The first thought movement holds onto QAnon motto: “Trust the Plan.” It suggests that believers must trust the plan and keep working to reveal the deep state no matter what happens. The second thought movement seems to retreat and find faith in the master plan of QAnon: the “Great Awakening.” The first movement may continue to spread disinformation about an imaginary existence of a deep state, vilifying and discrediting democracy. The second movement is a behemoth of all sorts of beliefs and fantasies that could accommodate a wide variety of interest groups and can pose a greater threat to liberal democracies.

How could the possible future direction of QAnon and the “Great Awakening” pose a risk to Western liberal democracy? It is only Mr Trump, who is now missing in “the Plan.” It is not a critical threat, considering QAnon followers can regroup to vilify what they see as the deep state back in power. Evidently, conspiracies to discredit democracy will be rampant in the coming years. Surprisingly, it is mainly the liberal democratic establishment branded as a Satanic deep state rather than authoritarian illiberal elements/powers. As this seems highly suspicious, the master plan of “Great Awakening” is adamant on removing the current system it branded Satanic, without which it cannot usher an alleged Golden Age of future humanity.

The Great Awakening Map lists people such as David Icke, among others, as researchers who uncover the alternative reality behind the saga of “Great Awakening”, which has a core aim: an alleged task to ascend human vibration to another level of existence. The Great Awakening predicts an apocalyptic event that would transform earthly life into a higher form of existence, an idea straight out from science fiction but padded with millenarian, and particularly, New Age myths about a supposed New Age of Light. It asserts that the only stumbling block on the path to a higher existence is the evil establishment, which said to keep humans enslaved on earth.

Whatever the meaning of the apocalyptic ideas behind the Great Awakening, do not forget that it is liberal democracy, and its way of life branded evil by believers of the QAnon and Great Awakening cults, offering a new lease of life to authoritarians worldwide.

This article is brought to you by the Centre for Analysis of the Radical Right (CARR). Through their research, CARR intends to lead discussions on the development of radical right extremism around the world.

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