‘We have a plan’: QAnon supporters watch official state election races | QAnon
QAnon, the extremist conspiratorial movement whose supporters believe Donald Trump is waging war on the ‘deep state’, appears to have launched a national effort to take control of the US electoral process in critical battleground states ahead of the election. 2024 US presidential election.
In recent months, concern has grown over the coordinated efforts of at least 15 candidates – committed to Trump’s “fat lie” that the 2020 election was stolen from him – who are now running to serve as election officials in key swing states.
At least eight of the Secretary of State candidates have formed an alliance in which they share tactics and tips for success, details of which were revealed by the Guardian last month.
If any of the candidates were elected, they would be in a unique position to distort or even overturn the election results in favor of Trump or another preferred presidential candidate in a way that could profoundly impact or even determine the outcome. national.
All of the big lying candidates vying for control of state-level election counts are running as Republicans. It now appears that QAnon has played a vital role in steering far-right candidates into the Secretary of State races in what appears to be a calculated national assault on American democracy.
“This is how QAnon could trigger a constitutional crisis,” said Alex Kaplan, senior researcher at watchdog Media Matters for America, who is a keen observer of the conspiracy theory. “QAnon is linked to an effort to recruit and elect candidates to positions directly controlling electoral administrations, and given their ties to democracy, this is of great concern.”
QAnon emerged in 2017 when an unknown character, “Q”, began posting on the 4chan message board that Trump, then in the White House, was secretly preparing to take down a cabal of Satan-worshipping child traffickers. The conspiracy has become more overtly political in recent months, helping to spread baseless claims that the 2020 election was rigged for Joe Biden.
He was also involved in the January 6 insurrection at the United States Capitol. The FBI arrested more than 20 QAnon followers for acts of violence that day. Last June, the agency published a threat assessment which warned that other conspiracy supporters might begin to “accept the legitimacy of violent action”.
The links between QAnon and the coordinated push to control the election count have been exposed by one of the top lying candidates himself. Jim Marchant, a former Republican lawmaker running to become Nevada’s chief election officer, revealed the connection at “Patriot Double Down,” a QAnon-related convention held in Las Vegas in October.
Marchant told the convention that the idea that he should run for secretary of state was not his. It was given to him by a prominent QAnon influencer named Juan O Savin.
The name is a phonetic game on the number 1-0-7. Q is the 17th letter of the alphabet.
Marchant told the audience of QAnon claims to have been approached by Savin the day after the November 3 presidential election. Savin came to see him in a suite he had rented at the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas accompanied by “other allies of President Trump” and told him that instead of running for Congress, what he was planning , Marchant is expected to run for the top election administrator position in Nevada.
“I said ‘Absolutely,'” Marchant said in recorded video of his speech at the convention.
“I knew right away that they understood that we had to take over the offices of the Secretary of State across the country. Not only did they ask me to introduce myself, but they asked me to put together a coalition other like-minded candidates for Secretary of State I got to work, Juan O Savin helped me and we formed a coalition.
In an interview with the Guardian last month, Marchant confirmed that he had put together an alliance of at least eight far-right secretaries of state candidates in states that could determine the outcome of the presidential election in 2024. They include Arizona, Georgia, and Michigan — states that were critical in the 2020 presidential election and all now have big, lying candidates running for secretary of state positions that were endorsed by Trump.
The Guardian contacted Marchant about the QAnon connection, but he did not respond.
Marchant’s revelation of the formative role played by Juan O Savin in the alliance of Secretary of State candidates, which was first reported by the daily beast and by Kaplan for Media questions, was in turn corroborated by Savin himself. Kaplan has monitored several recent instances where the QAnon influencer has spoken of supporting the alliance.
In January he said a QAnon shows that “we have a project we’re doing to help candidates across the country that we started here in Nevada that has done pretty well, with a number of endorsements from Trump.”
In May he said in a video chat that he had recently called a meeting of about 50 people to consider “how we are going to get to a legal election this time around and get to the right result. How we are going to coordinate between the different states to achieve the right result.
In the most recent comment, Sunday, He spoke about the “Secretary of State case,” boasting that “across the country, we are gaining strength quickly to get back into this game effectively. A lot of these offices that they thought they had that wouldn’t matter, we’re going to knock them down. »
QAnon watchers say Savin has been rising rapidly in conspiracy theory in recent months. “He was once a fringe figure, but he’s become much more important,” said Al Jones, founder of the Q Origins Project, a group of analysts tracking the QAnon movement.
Savin made a rare open public appearance at the Patriot Double Down convention. Normally, however, he hides his identity. He is often interviewed by QAnon followers as he drives, showing only his hands on the wheel or his cowboy boots.
He boasts of having high-level contacts in US intelligence, when in fact he is believed to be a private insurance investigator living in the Seattle area. He claims to be friends with actor Roseanne Barr, and in one of the wildest aspects of his influence, many QAnon followers believe it to be John F Kennedy Jr.
Savin’s recent efforts have focused on spreading lies about mass fraud in the 2020 election. He has also amplified doomsday conspiracy theories, including that President Biden’s public appearances are broadcast with the use of a green screen to disguise his disabilities.
Travis View, one of QAnon’s top watchers and host of the QAnon Anonymous Podcast, told the Guardian that it would be “ruinous for democracy if people involved in QAnon rose to positions of power where they had real influence in determining the outcome or the legitimacy of the election. QAnon is such an anti-reality way of thinking that it is totally incompatible with the conventions that uphold democracy.
Several people close to Trump are known to have deep ties to the QAnon movement. Michael Flynn, a former national security adviser to Trump, spoke at a previous QAnon conference in Dallas and also reportedly pushed a strategy of running for local office among QAnon supporters.
Sidney Powell, who advocated for the nullification of the 2020 election result and who Trump at one point verbally agreed to appoint as a special adviser on voter fraud, also has ties to QAnon. Before Trump was removed from Twitter, he broadcast comments from QAnon subscribers.