Conspiracy theories on the rise...was that a "Q"?
MILWAUKEE (AP) — President Donald Trump was more than halfway through his speech at a rally in Milwaukee when one of his hand gestures caught the eye of a supporter standing in the packed arena.
The 51-year-old woman believed the president had traced the shape of the letter “Q” with his fingers as a covert signal to followers of QAnon, a right-wing, pro-Trump conspiracy theory. She turned to the couple on her right and excitedly asked, “Did you see the ‘Q’?”
“He just did it?” asked Diane Jacobson, 63, of Racine, Wisconsin.
“Was that a ‘Q’?” added Jacobson’s husband, Randy, 64...
What started as an online obsession for the far-right fringe has grown beyond its origins in a dark corner of the internet. QAnon has been creeping into the mainstream political arena for more than a year. The trend shows no sign of abating as Trump fires up his reelection campaign operation, attracting a loyal audience of conspiracy theorists and other fringe groups to his raucous rallies.
Trump has retweeted QAnon-promoting accounts. Followers flock to Trump’s rallies wearing clothes and hats with QAnon symbols and slogans. At least 23 current or former congressional candidates in the 2020 election cycle have endorsed or promoted QAnon, according to the liberal watchdog Media Matters for America, which compiled online evidence to support its running tally....
Conspiracy theories are nothing new, but experts fear the powerful engine of social media and a volatile political climate have ramped up the threat of violence. An FBI bulletin in May warned that conspiracy theory-driven extremists have become a domestic terrorism threat. The bulletin specifically mentions QAnon.
It's going to be a rough campaign season and the biggest loser is going to be truth.