Back in July, five-term congressman Scott Tipton was defeated in a Republican primary by Lauren Boebert, a relatively unheard of 33-year-old who could become one of the most controversial members of Congress ever.
Boebert's win over Tipton, who was endorsed by Donald Trump, was unprecedented for several reasons. Tipton was widely believed to be the front-runner in Colorado's 3rd Congressional District and had held his seat since 2011 and supported many topics that would appeal to conservative voters. In addition, Boebert, who is a strong Second Amendment activist and owns a restaurant where the staff members carry guns, is a believer in the QAnon deep state conspiracy theory.
Taking to Twitter after Boebert's upset win, Trump congratulated her 'on a really great win' which must have been hard for the president as he had previously thrown all his weight behind Tipton, hailing him as 'a great supporter of the MAGA Agenda'.
The 'Bizarro AOC' is now seriously in the running, and she has a very real chance of becoming a congresswoman, with recent polls putting her barely one percentage point behind her opponent.
This could have potentially huge ramifications for the conspiracy theory community, which has had a real effect on local government in the United States.
The conspiracy originated from the darkest corners of the internet about three years ago but has become such a prominent belief that various members of the Trump administration, including the president himself, have inadvertently shared messages for Q conspiracy theorists or pictured with people wearing Q merchandise. Eric Trump even shared a Q image on Instagram to promote his father's rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma in the summer before deleting it.
The prominent belief of the conspiracy is that there is a 'deep state' movement, involving politicians and celebrities against Donald Trump and those that support him. Travis View, who reports on conspiracy theories for the Washington Post defined the conspiracy during a 2019 interview with Salon as:
There is a worldwide cabal of Satan-worshiping pedophiles who rule the world, essentially, and they control everything. They control politicians, and they control the media. They control Hollywood, and they cover up their existence, essentially. And they would have continued ruling the world, were it not for the election of President Donald Trump.
Now, Donald Trump in this conspiracy theory knows all about this evil cabal's wrongdoing. But one of the reasons that Donald Trump was elected was to put an end to them, basically. And now we would be ignorant of this behind-the-scenes battle of Donald Trump and the U.S. military — that everyone backs him and the evil cabal — were it not for 'Q.'
And what 'Q' is — is basically a poster on 4chan, who later moved to 8chan, who reveals details about this secret behind-the-scenes battle, and also secrets about what the cabal is doing and also the mass sort of upcoming arrest events through these post.
There is no proof that Q is one particular person or has any links within the US government or the Trump administration, but the belief seems to carry the same amount of truth as the New World Order conspiracy does, which often has anti-Semitic undertones.
QAnon often points to people like Jeffrey Epstein and Harvey Weinstein – sex offenders who had high profile links to government – as being somehow evidence of the conspiracy, but they fail to acknowledge that these are hardly scandals that go undiscovered and are not properly prosecuted.
Regardless, Boebert is a firm believer in this. In June, during her campaign, she appeared on the QAnon podcast Steel Truth and said that she hopes that everything she has heard about Q is real.
Everything I've heard of Q — I hope this is real, because it only means America is getting stronger and better, and people are returning to conservative values, and that's what I am for. And so everything that I have heard of this movement is only motivating and encouraging and bringing people together stronger, and if this is real, then it could be really great for our country.
However, Boebert's campaign manager Sherronna Bishop has tried to distance Boebert from any conspiracy theories. Bishop was quoted by the Associated Press as saying:
We know exactly what we’re about and that’s the Constitution and freedom. We are not into conspiracy theories.
Boebert's belief in Q is possibly the most worrying aspect of her campaign, but her strong advocacy for firearms should also be alarming.
The 33-year-old mother of four runs a restaurant called Shooters Grill in, no word of a lie, Rifle, Colorado. Although the venue looks like any other small American bar, all the staff are armed with loaded firearms, even the servers.
This has attracted infamy and concern for the establishment. In 2014, Boebert was asked by CBS what would happen if a member of staff shot a customer, she replied:
We would go through extreme circumstances before that was our final option.
It should be said that it is legal to carry a gun in most parts of Colorado and that all the servers are trained before they are employed but still...
Shooters Grill attracted further criticism during the coronavirus pandemic when Boebert defied a cease and desist order and reopened on 9 May to provide a dine-in service for her customers. She was then served with a temporary restraining order by county health department. On 14 May she bragged that she will "not back down." She was also quoted by CPR Radio as saying:
I don't see elected officials standing for freedom, but I see a whole lot of them giving it away.
The dangers of Covid-19 'does not justify the economic suicide that is taking place.'
Boebert is now hoping to beat Democrat Diane Mitsch Bush in the election on Tuesday.
She has previously won two primaries for the seat in 2012 and 2018 and only lost to Tipton by 8 per cent of the vote in 2018.
Whether Bush will be able to go the distance this week remains to be seen but given that Tipton lost to Boebert, she might have an even bigger task on her hands than what she has previously dealt with.
The question that voters in that area of Colorado must now ask themselves is should they go with the Democrats, who they haven't back since 2011, or do they elect possibly the strangest member of Congress ever?