Winning candidates often receive a congratulatory message from an incumbent president. It’s one of those pro forma niceties of the Old Washington, and Trump’s staff craves moments that make him look like something other than a ranting, gouty old racist, so tweeting “Congratulations to future Republican Star Marjorie Taylor Greene on a big Congressional primary win in Georgia against a very tough and smart opponent. Marjorie is strong on everything and never gives up - a real WINNER!” probably seemed like a good idea. Hell, Republican victories these days are few and far between.
And Trump’s Republican Party is increasingly full of Marjorie Taylor Greenes—elected officials and candidates who believe in the dangerously absurd QAnon conspiracy theory. The Party of Lincoln is now the party of Q. Thanks Donald!
A party at least aspirationally dedicated to limited government, individual liberty, the rule of law, the Constitution, and personal responsibility has descended on his watch into a fetid slurry of kooks, conspiracists, know-nothings, and racial arsonists. The mechanisms that elected and sustained Trump’s political power are catapulting into prominence and power people who make Larouchies look like sane, solid citizens.
From the moment the QAnon lie entered the social media bloodstream of MAGA-land, it was here to stay. It turned Donald Trump into the hero of the story: competent, brilliant, selfless, and strategic. He was working secretly with JFK Jr. or other mysterious and powerful figures hidden inside the government to defeat the treacherous Deep State. He was saving the children.
When idiots in Trump's service like social media caddy Dan Scavino discovered the one place on the internet that offered unqualified and unbelievably lavish praise of Donald Trump, Q was there to stay. The White House and Trump campaign have played footsie with the QAnon horde for years now. Lt. General Mike Flynn, Trump’s for-a-minute national security adviser who’s been writing batshit essays full of coded Q references, outright pledged his fealty to the Q-tards in a July the Fourth video.
Members of Trump’s campaign circle helped design, foster and create this audience of conspiracy-hungry dolts. Steve Bannon, Roger Stone, alt-right activist Jack Posobiec, Mike Cernovich, and a host of lesser luminaries who brought you Pizzagate, the Deep State, hyperventilating coverage of Antifa, Benghazi, and Hillary’s fucking emails don’t believe a word of it. They’ve simply conditioned a generation of Republicans to accept alternate realities, writ large.
Trump-right trash fires like Breitbart, Gateway Pundit, and OANN exist to create a mental distortion field for clicks and ad revenue. It’s the crowning irony: the people these charlatans are helping submerge into a conspiracy matrix from which few will return are just in this for the qwan. It is the same sin that they accuse the hated Establishment of with such vigor.
While they monetize conspiracy trash from antifa to Soros to Q, Trump’s campaign operationalizes it. They rely on the fact that millions of Americans are now conditioned to instantly reject empirical truth and substitute secret conspiracies, no matter how ludicrous.
In Trump’s world, the political utility of having a closet of conspiracy-crazed boomer rubes is worth the downside. It was once tolerated but is increasingly becoming definitional to the Trumpworld. When Republican congressman Adam Kinzinger called out QAnon on Wednesday, he was promptly attacked by Matt Wolking, the Trump campaign’s spokesbot. This news sent a frisson of delight through the Q world.
The only safe path for Republican elected officials is to tell Trump his ass smells like ambrosia and nod eagerly when frothy, wild-eyed lunatics assert that JFK Jr. survived the crash just to save the chilllllldren.
This is the future Republicans have bought with their dumb alliance with Donald Trump. That's the problem with rolling around in the mud with conspiracy lunatics. The mud sticks. I'll tell you how this cycle is going to go because I witnessed various minor key iterations of it during the Tea Party era. Anyone who worked in Republican campaigns in the 2000s became painfully familiar with a Q-precursor conspiracy theory called “Agenda 21.”
Agenda 21, breathlessly promoted by Glenn Beck and others, took a proposed U.N. program related to global environmental sustainability and projected on to it a set of conspiracies ranging from forced sterilization to the deployment of UN troops in America to set up internment camps for free-thinkers. It was as ludicrous as Q, but less widespread.
The insanity behind these conspiracy theories is entropic. They never become less chaotic or less disorganized, but merely careen from one failed prediction to the next, layer upon layer of irreality contributing to the heat death of truth.
From dark, oddball corners of the internet, we'll see campaign-altering stories bubbling up, the kind of “a-friend-of-a-Facebook friend sent me an article from his brother’s co-worker’s mom and George Soros is totally a lizard alien” with which we’ve become painfully familiar.
Campaigns to come will have primaries based not on ideological differences, but on which esoteric school of mystic conspiracy knowledge the candidates adhere. “I can’t vote for him. He won’t admit Hillary was seen leaving the site of Seth Rich’s murder.”
Fact check: Q isn’t real. There are no mass arrests. I am not in Gitmo with Barack and Hillary. JFK Jr. is dead. Donald Trump isn’t saving children from a global child predation ring. And every iota of horseshit vomited out in the name of Q is the distilled essence of the Platonic ideal of bullshit.
But it doesn’t matter. Conspiracy addiction is a powerful drug, with its addicts chasing the dragon of an ever-shifting jigsaw puzzle of esoteric knowledge denied to those who have yet to open their eyes to the mysteries of Q.
Trump may be gone soon enough—and a big part of his tiny legacy will be infesting the Republican Party that he took advantage of and then tossed aside, like his creditors and his previous wives, with these maniacs and idiots.