Who is Q?
For the last three years, watchers of the QAnon conspiracy theory, which claims a military intelligence team has been leaking clues about an upcoming purge of the deep state, have been asking this question. They’ve tried to figure out who is really behind the initial posts of “Q Clearance Patriot” on the /pol/ forum of 4chan—who then continued them on 8chan, and who continued to post them once 8chan went down and was replaced by the virtually identical 8kun. The idea of unmasking Q has driven much of the discourse about the cultish movement that’s grown around the Q “drops,” with many of the clues pointing toward, though not confirming, Q being linked to 8kun owner Jim Watkins.
But two funny things happened this week on the way to “the Great Awakening.” One: Jim Watkins’ son Ron, the administrator for 8kun, abruptly announced on Twitter at 5:30am ET on Nov. 3 that he was leaving his job effective immediately. The second is that about seven hours earlier, Q made their last drop before the 2020 election—a stock photo of an American flag, a link to a clip of music from the 1992 movie The Last of the Mohicans, and a quote from the Gettysburg Address—the patriotism trifecta. This was an election Q spent months claiming would be a “red wave” that swept aside President Donald Trump’s enemies, only for Trump to lose to Joe Biden—a candidate Q claimed was in the pocket of multiple countries, decrepit to the point of being hidden, and the beneficiary of multiple types of election fraud.
Since the twin blows of Trump losing the election and Ron Watkins announcing his resignation, Q hasn’t posted. So the question on the minds of Q watchers now isn’t so much “who is Q?” but “where is Q?” And will he or she or they ever come back and start posting again?
To be clear, there’s no definitive evidence that Ron Watkins has any link to Q’s drops other than recently running the board where they were made. And there’s no clear evidence that either of these events, Q’s silence and Watkins’ resignation from 8kun, are related. For his part, Watkins told Vice that he left 8kun to pursue mastery of woodworking, a craft he had recently “fallen in love with.”
But with a movement built upon the infallibility of Trump, it wouldn’t be surprising to see people flee as his demise approaches.
Still, you can take the admin off the conspiracy theory board, but you can’t take the conspiracy theories out of the admin. Watkins later tweeted that the influx of journalists contacting him about his resignation was “some kind of coordinated, and/or orchestrated, effort” that will lead to articles released all at once to “distract from whatever bad news they might be predicting internally.”
Might that “bad news” be a sudden and catastrophic reversal of the 2020 election, exposing systemic voter fraud and vaulting Donald Trump to a second term? That’s what Q believers are now convincing themselves of—that Donald Trump actually won, and his victory will be revealed only through mass exposure of the crushing fraud the deep state perpetrated. And it’s certainly one scenario Q laid out, claiming in Drop #4551: “How do you support mail-in ballot election fraud [“election was not rigged all polls showed Biden had double digit lead v POTUS” – example]? while railing multiple times against mail-in ballots and floating the idea that China would print counterfeit ballots to put Biden, who was in their pocket, over the top.
But that’s only one scenario Q floated. Because that’s how Q works. They never predict just one thing one way, they predict a number of things in a number of ways. That way, if one happens to approach the truth, they can come back later and say they were right all along. Q also posited that Biden would be replaced on the Democratic ticket, calling his shuffling aside a “change of batter,” which is not actually a term used in baseball. Q also claimed that Biden either would drop out of the debates or be provided with an earpiece to get the answers to the questions. And Q claimed that Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) would use the 25th Amendment to get Trump removed from office (which is not how it works) due to being “incapacitated” from COVID-19. Q even claimed as far back as December 2018 that the 2020 election would be “safeguarded” based on a push for national voter ID. This is Q’s style—post a series of predictions with little detail behind them, then take time off to see if anything actually happens. In these cases, nothing did.
In fact, Q routinely goes silent for long periods of time, especially when major events are unfolding. Though the COVID-19 pandemic began moving through the U.S. in early March, it took Q until March 23 to mention what they (and President Trump) called the “China virus.” Q was fairly quiet during Trump’s impeachment, and after the failure of Republicans in the 2018 midterms, Q went almost silent for nearly two weeks. Q’s fervent believers aren’t even clamoring for Q—many think they have everything they need from what Q already gave them, and that everything is proceeding according to their hopelessly complex plan.
Ultimately, Q’s current silence may not mean anything, and may or may not last. Q has been quieter for much longer periods of time, only to come back with a flurry of new drops as if they never left. The only real wrinkles here are Ron Watkins’ resignation and the election itself. Perhaps Watkins was the one making the posts. Or maybe Q is trying to figure out exactly how to run their scam once Trump’s loss has sunk in for Q believers.
Whatever the case, it’s never a good idea to count this movement out. It’s survived countless disconfirmations, failures, disappointments, and the “tarring” of its members by the media as bloodthirsty lunatics. Q may be quiet right now, but that doesn’t mean Q won’t be right back at it tomorrow. And the movement’s followers will be right there waiting.