QAnon observers have raised concerns that supporters still clinging to the conspiracy theory following the end of the Trump presidency may be adopting even more extremist beliefs.
A new, unfounded theory circulating on QAnon social media channels has led some followers to claim that Trump will be sworn in as the 19th president of the United States on March 4, 2021.
It sounds ridiculous, but experts are warning that this latest theory has roots in a more established, and more extreme conspiracy theory movement, suggesting that Q followers are beginning to merge their views with even more dangerous ideologies.
The latest theory appears to originate from a separate conspiracy known as the ‘sovereign citizen’ movement. Sovereign citizen followers believe the United States was secretly turned into a corporation in 1871, and that in 1933 US citizens were ‘sold’ to a group of foreign investors. As such, sovereign citizens do not recognise United States laws or currency, and refuse to recognise any federal authority.
The FBI designates sovereign citizen extremists as ‘comprising a domestic terrorist movement,’ and has recorded a number of incidents of sovereign citizen believers attacking, and in some cases killing, law enforcement officials over the past two decades.
Now, it seems the sometime-violent group’s ideology may be spreading to QAnon supporters. VICE reports that over the weekend, QAnon followers on platforms like Gab and Telegram began sharing new theories based on the sovereign citizen movement, claiming that they proved Trump would be sworn in on March 4, as the 19th President of the original United States, rather than the so-called ‘corporation’ created in 1871.
It’s worth repeating again that there is absolutely no evidence to support this false conspiracy theory, but that’s not stopped it gaining traction in far-right circles and beyond.
Speaking to VICE, conspiracy theory researcher Travis View said:
There was some crossover between QAnon and the sovereign citizen movement before, but I’ve seen sovereign citizen ideas about the United States being a ‘corporation’ become more popular within QAnon and beyond in January…
It’s concerning because it means QAnon is borrowing ideas from more-established extremism movements.
Following the inauguration of President Joe Biden last week, January 20, many wondered what future existed for the QAnon movement, which drew support following the election campaign by convincing followers a secret plan existed that would ensure Trump would remain in office. And while the past week has seen a number of QAnon followers turn on the movement, this latest theory suggests plenty of people aren’t giving up on it just yet.
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