20 January 2021 was a big day for many people in the United States. For Democrats, it was the end of a long hard-fought campaign to oust Donald Trump from office, and for Trump it was time to reflect on the last four years and lick his wounds.
On the fringes though it was also a massive day for conspiracy theorists who have brought into the QAnon craze, a belief that there is a mysterious figure in the US government that is attempting to expose a deep state plot (led by an international cabal of Satanic paedophiles) to undermine Trump and his presidency. Many of those who stormed the Capitol building two weeks ago were wearing pieces of Q merchandise.
In the days running up to Biden’s inauguration, followers of QAnon were reportedly very active on messaging apps such as Telegram and The Great Awakening, a forum named after the event that they thought was going to happen on Wednesday.
Many appeared to think that federal authorities were going to suddenly arrest Biden and other top Democrats or that Trump was finally going to expose the conspiracy. Some even thought the mysterious Q figure him/herself was going to be unveiled to the world, as if it was all just a plot twist in some low-budget movie.
Ben Collins of NBC writes, “Some QAnon followers spent weeks preparing for a nationwide blackout starting at noon on Inauguration Day, warning friends and family in text chains and Facebook messages to buy CB radios and stock up on food. They believed Trump would announce martial law through the Emergency Alert System before carrying out mass arrests.”
Some even appeared to believe that Trump was hinting at the existence of Q as he had 17 US flags behind him during his farewell speech. Q is the 17th letter of the alphabet. There was said to be a theory that Julian Assange was somehow involved too but that soon fell apart after Trump failed to pardon him.
Another QAnon deadline passes. Trump was supposed to at least refer to his grand takeover of the US in that speech.… https://t.co/z5bRgooZgQ
However, as Biden was sworn in it became apparent that their ‘Great Awakening’ wasn’t going to materialise at all and maybe just maybe, they had been conned. Screenshots from QAnon forums show that they did not take Biden’s confirmation as president very well at all.
"Q was a LARP the entire f---ing time."
"There is no plan.'
"It's over and nothing makes sense... absolutely nothin… https://t.co/vFbD0WSqMe
Ros Watkins, who used to run the QAnon forum 8kun and is believed by some to be the elusive ‘Q,’ even appeared to give up on the conspiracy. Using the pseudonym ‘CodeMonkeyz’ he wrote on Telegram, “We gave it out all. Now we need to keep our chins up and go back to our lives as best we are able.”
However, some remained undeterred and appeared to be keeping the faith in the conspiracy. Collins added that moderators on the QAnon forums were banning people who posted negative comments and had given up on the belief.
Moderators on the biggest QAnon forum now banning people who don't keep the faith after Inauguration. They're havin… https://t.co/LhCsbwPLKh
Travis View, who has a podcast which debunks QAnon, told NBC: “QAnon influencers who have built large audiences over the past three years continue to encourage their audiences to 'trust the plan'. Many rank-and-file QAnon followers are expressing anger and disillusion."
Mike Rothschild, an author who covers conspiracy theories told Forbes, “So far, Q believers seem to be in shock over Joe Biden actually being sworn in and becoming president. This type of failure was something that most of them never allowed to penetrate their minds, so to see it happening- and them rendered powerless to stop it - is truly jarring.”
Bizarrely some have completely flipped the theory on its head and are now claiming that Biden might have been part of QAnon all along. Not sure how well that will go down.
Another QAnon influencer has embraced the theory that Biden has been part of QAnon all along. https://t.co/lMpepMTrnl