How Big a Deal Is QAnon, Anyway?

Brian Cahn/ZUMA

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I was mulling over QAnon recently, wondering just how many people actually take the crackpot conspiracy theory seriously and approve of it. So I went looking for polls and found two, both conducted during the first half of September. They agree that only about half of Americans have even heard about QAnon, but they differ wildly in their assessment of how many fans it has:

  • NBC News says that 3 percent of respondents are “very or somewhat positive” towards QAnon.
  • Pew Research says that 9.4 percent of respondents think QAnon is “very or somewhat good for the country.”

That’s a big difference. If it’s really 9.4 percent, we have a serious problem. That’s a tenth of the population believing the country is under attack by a deep-state child sex trafficking ring. But if it’s 3 percent—well, that’s just business as usual. You can probably find 3 percent of Americans to support just about any wackadoodle conspiracy theory.

It seems like it might be important to get a firmer grip on this, especially since President Trump has recently praised QAnon and at least two Republican candidates for Congress have endorsed it, even as the FBI has identified it as a domestic terrorism threat. If QAnon is truly going mainstream, as Ali Breland wrote for us recently, it deserves some serious attention. On the other hand, if it’s still a fringe theory that’s just having its 15 minutes in the sun, maybe it’s not worth worrying about so much.

But which is it?

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Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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