This is the real story of QAnon—what it is, what it means, and where it goes. And be warned—none of it is pretty.
On October 5th, 2017, President Trump made a cryptic extemporaneous remark in the State Dining Room. He called this gathering of top-ranking military officials, "the calm before the storm," and refused to elaborate as journalist and politicos inquired further. But on the infamous message boards of 4chan, elaboration began all on its own.
In the days that followed, an anonymous poster spun a yarn inspired by Trump's remarks that rivalled Tom Clancy and satisfied the deepest desires of MAGA-America. Did any of it come to pass? No. Did that stop people from clinging to every word they were reading, expanding its mythology and promoting the theory for years? No.
How did this happen, who are these followers, and how do adherents reconcile their worldview with the America they see around them? Mike Rothschild, a journalist specializing in conspiracy theories, explains all--taking readers from the earliest posts on 4Chan to its embrace by right-wing media, and the game that Donald Trump has played with its followers.
As rabid adherents to the theory show no sign of calming—with Baby Boomers especially susceptible to its messaging—families are being torn apart and politicians are starting to openly espouse the ideology in their campaigns. It's time to figure out what QAnon is, because QAnon explains everything you need to know about American politics and global fear after Trump.