The QAnon wing of the Republican Party continues to grow and there are now at least 19 Q-backing GOP candidates competing for House and Senate seats in the 2022 midterms. Based on new polling, one in five Americans believe at least one of the main three QAnon conspiracy theories. One of these theories is that the US government, media, and financial institutions “are controlled by a group of Satan-worshipping pedophiles who run a global child sex trafficking operation.” (Fifteen percent of Americans hold that viewpoint.) Twenty percent agree with the statement: “there is a storm coming soon that will sweep away the elites in power and restore the rightful leaders.” And 15% agree that “because things have gotten so far off track, true American patriots may have to resort to violence in order to save our country.” If these QAnon messages are infiltrating a chunk of the right-wing base, it makes perfect sense that it would attract a new wave of candidates who want to represent them in the House and Senate.
In 2020, a total of 97 QAnon-supporting or QAnon-aligned candidates ran for Congress, according to Media Matters. Two candidates out of those 97 went on to win their races: Marjorie Taylor Greene and Lauren Boebert. With 18 months remaining before the midterm elections, the total number of QAnon-supporting candidates could easily surpass the 2020 showing. Perhaps some or many of them will actually win. The 2022 midterms will be yet another referendum on Trump and Trumpism but it will also be a test as to whether this Q wing can go on to gain legitimacy within the Republican Party. It’s possible that placating to these fringe candidates will alienate the centrists in the party and make it harder for the GOP to win back the House and Senate in 2022. However, these centrist types could also just accept it as they did with Trump. These next couple of years will be crucial in shaping the long term prospects of the Republican Party.
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