Election 2020

In Likely Lost Election, QAnon Sees Even More Conspiracies

Trump’s most dedicated supporters are going into a spiral online.

Car decorations reference the QAnon conspiracy theory at a campaign rally for U.S. President Donald Trump
Car decorations reference the QAnon conspiracy theory at a campaign rally for U.S. President Donald Trump in Prescott, Arizona, on Oct. 19. Caitlin O'Hara/Getty Images

U.S. President Donald Trump’s loyal online army of conspiracy theorists is enraptured by the tight results, just like everyone else. But in the world of QAnon, evidence of voter fraud is everywhere.

From discussion of a “magic” batch of Biden votes in Michigan to concerns that Sharpie markers have ruined the votes of Trump supporters in Arizona, QAnon followers in chatrooms, on far-right Twitter clone Gab, and on 8kun (formerly known as 8chan) have glommed onto Trump’s questioning of the results. There is, of course, no evidence of substantial or widespread voter fraud—a spike in votes in Michigan was the result of a clerical error; and many counties and officials have said Sharpies are fine for voting. Andrew Torba, the CEO of Gab, has been sharing a slew of unverified, misconstrued, or outright fake voter fraud claims to his his 400,000-plus followers. Torba promised that a “COUP IS UNDERWAY.”

Even still, there was cautious optimism among Q’s followers that things would ultimately break for the president. And there was some reason to celebrate for the delusional movement, which remains convinced that this election was a make-or-break moment for Trump’s supposed war against the child-trafficking deep state. Marjorie Taylor Greene and Lauren Boebert both won their congressional races, meaning they will be the first QAnon-affiliated candidates heading to Washington.

Greene, who won her Georgia seat by approximately 50 points, had spent years endorsing deranged conspiracy theories, including the Pizzagate delusion that served as a precursor to QAnon, before ultimately embracing QAnon itself. Boebert, who won her race by about five points, appeared on a QAnon-sympathetic podcast and described herself as “very familiar” with the conspiracy. Both women have tried to distance themselves from the conspiracy movement since then, but the Q movement has still viewed it as a victory.

Justin Ling is a journalist based in Toronto.