A person holding a QAnon sign that says 'We are Q'

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With Q silent, who will become the new leader of the QAnon movement?

With Biden’s inauguration getting closer and closer, Q believers are hanging on by a thread.

Dec 30, 2020, 4:03 pm*

Tech

 

Mike Rothschild

The supposed military intelligence team that claims to post as “Q” and sparked the QAnon conspiracy theory movement has had long periods of silence before.

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Q went three weeks without making a “drop,” or posting a message, on 8chan in October 2018; posted on just five days through May and June 2019; and was silent for three months as Q’s home of 8chan struggled to reconstitute itself as 8kun. So it’s not inherently unusual for Q to have only made four drops in the last two months—but these last two months have not been usual.

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They've seen President Donald Trump decisively lose the 2020 election to Joe Biden, only to engage in a running fantasy about throwing out the results through a steady stream of lawsuits and conspiracy theories. And while Q has contributed virtually nothing to the conversation, a slew of Q-connected names—some familiar and some unknown—seem to be doing everything they can to spread the fiction that Biden’s win will be wiped away through a combination of Electoral College chicanery and unconstitutional military action.

Q’s promoters have been so vocal in promoting theories that Trump secretly won a landslide that, arguably, the Q movement has never been closer to the president. 

Two of the biggest names in Trump’s losing quest to sue his way into a second term, lawyers Sidney Powell and Lin Wood, routinely tweet the conspiracy theory’s catchphrases and mythology. And former 8kun administrator Ron Watkins, who has remade himself as an expert in voting machines, has been retweeted by the president and was interviewed by OAN.

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Increasingly, these posts have taken a form that should be familiar to Q watchers: Rhetorical questions that seem simple but are really meant to make you “think,” memes, totally unproven claims about being an insider with secret knowledge, and conspiracy theories.

As Q’s silence continues, and Q believers anxiously ask “Where is Q?”, there are several figures who seem like they really want to answer “right here.”

While so far most of them have been confined to building their own brand or trolling, it’s not a stretch to think that someone skilled at imitating Q and able to access Q’s tripcode on 8kun could start posting as Q.

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The most apparent heir to the throne of Q might be Ron Watkins, who has already been linked to Q by virtue of his father, Jim, owning 8kun. Ron, who has consistently denied having anything to do with Q, tweeted that he’d left his position at 8kun the same day as the election, and said he was devoting himself to pursue woodworking.

But Ron did not immediately pick up a lathe and go to work turning a log into a table. Instead, he has tweeted so much about what he saw as the various methods of fraud used to steal the election from Trump that he was even included in Sidney Powell’s “Kraken” lawsuit as an expert in voting technology. Multiple state filings pointed out he is not, and the “Kraken” suit was thrown out.

While Q’s drops had a fairly small audience and many were too inscrutable to catch on with non-followers, Ron is engaging with fans, tweeting polls asking “Who would support a limited martial law?” (nearly 90,000 respondents said they did), and tweeting endless pictures of U.S. and state government personnel posing with various Chinese officials—intimating that the “Chinese Communist Party” is behind everything that’s going on.

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Some of Ron’s recent tweets are absolutely indistinguishable from Q drops. There’s a tweet pointing out the “delta” between two U.S. officials tweeting a statement and Trump having a meeting.

There are terse, apocalyptic statements.

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There’s unabashed Trump worship with cryptic calls for civil war or insurrection.

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When asked for comment by the Daily Dot, Ron Watkins replied: “Sorry, I don’t know enough about Q's writing style to comment on that.”

While it’s a popular (and unconfirmed) belief that Watkins is directly connected to the Q drops, he’s not the only Q guru who has embraced a posting style eerily familiar to “our intelligence friend.”

Dave “Praying Medic” Hayes is the prolific Q promoter who has managed to keep his account from being suspended when so many others have gone down to Twitter’s ban hammer.

While completely embracing election conspiracy theories and the belief that a magical lawsuit or executive order will nullify Biden’s win, Hayes has also been busy posting cryptic Q-like lists of questions.

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Or what looks a lot like a call for violent rebellion if Vice President Mike Pence doesn’t throw out the election results when the Senate meets in early January to count electoral college votes:

Hayes didn’t respond to a request for comment from Daily Dot.

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Another type of Q-like post is also taking off among people desperate for Trump to hit an invisible button and destroy all his enemies.

Just as Q was preceded by a series of anonymous “insider” accounts on 4chan, Q’s silence has brought forth anons with lofty claims about being attached to the Biden team or inside the White House or military.

One of these was posted on 4chan on Nov. 25 and claimed to be an insider with the Biden campaign tasked with “monitoring and reporting” on information going around the web.

And “Biden Insider Anon” had a message: Biden and his team knew the “Kraken” lawsuit was a “bombshell” and “really, really bad” for the president-elect.

“There is some really meaningful witness testimony, including a couple of whistleblowers (DNC ops that worked on this campaign) that actually admit to being complicit with vote switching and ballot stuffing,” they wrote in the long anonymous post.

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The reactions on 4chan and other Trump-friendly spaces were decidedly mixed, with many posters demanding proof or shooting down the idea that anyone connected to Biden would reveal anything like this.

Or as one anon put it on TheDonald.win, “as much as I would love for this to be true, random dudes on 4chan are not a very good source.”

And Q world was briefly sent into a panic by a Dec. 20 8kun post by a “helper” who has “daily briefings with POTUS.”

“What I'm about to disclose is the most important post you'll read before the inauguration. Q will not post here again, at least not for a while. The operation is ongoing but must run silent at this point. Once we wind down you will not hear from Q again. Don't let this worry or upset you.
We are in perhaps the most critical juncture of American history. POTUS is fully aware of the gravity of this time period. We have prepared from before 2015 for this exact moment. I am not asking for faith in us. Q should have already used logic, reason, and multiple proofs to establish our credibility.”

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The “helper” went on to say that patriots should stay in their homes and not attempt to interfere with “the operation,” but assured readers that the deep state has lost, the end is near, and, conveniently, “you will receive no further messages on this channel from us until the operation is over.”

Fortunately, any panic over Q never posting again was alleviated by an anon who figured out that the post didn’t come from a “helper” with access to POTUS, but a troll and QAnon skeptic who goes by the name Freddy Benson having a little fun with the anons.

With Biden’s inauguration getting closer and closer, Q believers are hanging on by a thread. They’ve seen dozens of lawsuits thrown out, every state’s election results certified, the Electoral College award Biden 306 electoral votes, and no sign that the military or courts are going to help Trump overturn an election he has no power to overturn.

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With Q silent, a void opens up—a void that can be filled by anyone who says things anons want to hear. How long will it be before someone realizes that they can direct the Q movement toward organized violence? What if someone hacked Q’s tripcode on 8kun, which is easy to do, and posted a Q-esque call for believers to take up arms?

In a roundabout way, Q has a responsibility for preventing such an action—and as far as anyone can tell, it’s a responsibility they aren’t interested in. 

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*First Published: Dec 30, 2020, 6:26 am