Followers of the QAnon conspiracy theory are struggling to cope amid the inauguration of President Joe Biden.
In forums and chat rooms across the internet, supporters of QAnon, who believed that former President Donald Trump would overturn the election and secure a second term, were forced to come to terms with the total failure of their conspiracy.
Since the beginning of the Trump administration, conspiracy theorists were convinced that a military intelligence officer known as “Q” was dropping secrets online about the now-former president’s battle against a cabal of child-eating pedophiles. Despite every prediction failing, followers of Q found ways to interpret those failures as evidence of the conspiracy’s legitimacy.
And while goalposts regarding “mass-arrests” and “executions” of the president’s enemies were moved countless times during the past several years, the inauguration of Biden for many was the final line in the sand.
Although many believed Biden would be arrested by the military, the largely uneventful inauguration sent shockwaves through the Q community.
“I just want to throw up,” one Q supporter said on Telegram.
Some of the conspiracy’s more prominent promoters are attempting to move the timeline further forward, arguing that Biden’s victory was part of Trump’s secret plan all along. But given that the conspiracy has painted Biden as the ultimate evil, few Q supporters are buying the new line.
“Absolutely no one is buying into this rebranding and shifting of the goal posts,” researcher Aric Toler noted. “Today was supposed to be The Great Awakening, not The Great Re-Election Campaign.”
The seriousness of the conspiracy became apparent to many earlier this month when supporters of Trump, adorned in QAnon merchandise, stormed the Capitol in an attempt to stop Congress from certifying the election.
The incident led to the deaths of five people and dozens of arrests. The insurrectionists believed they were justified in attacking the Capitol after being fed debunked claims about election fraud by Trump as well as other prominent conspiracy theorists.
“We’ve been had, it’s over,” another conspiracy theorist said online.
But not all QAnon believers needed to wait for the inauguration to come to grips with reality. One woman has since gone viral after admitting on video that she had likely been duped to the outlandish conspiracy.
“So, who else is felling just a little silly?” the woman asks. “Just a little, like, went too far down the rabbit hole and now I’m back out again and if nothing happens on the 20th, how many of you are going to feel stupid as hell?”
Undoubtedly, some QAnon believers will continue to push forward. Many more will be forced to look inward and question their beliefs. With so many disillusioned, experts in extremism believe it could be the perfect moment to help those who fell victim to conspiracies of the Trump era.
Meanwhile, Ron Watkins, the former 8kun administrator said he accepts Biden as president, signaling a further blow to the movement.