The QAnon conspiracy web hinges on the belief that former President Donald Trump was sent to expose a secret network of satanic cannibal pedophiles secretly controlling the United States government.
The seditious movement was born in 2017, when an anonymous user named "Q" on 4Chan's Politically Incorrect board, claiming to have Q level clearance, posted a message titled "Calm Before the Storm." There, the user claimed to have evidence of the pedophile ring and emphasized their devotion to Trump's mission to expose them.
The quixotic "storm" referred to by QAnon and its followers is the violent moment when Trump will supposedly provide irrefutable proof of lawmakers' evil deeds, resulting in mass arrests and freedom from the "cabal," when all of Trump's lies will be vindicated and when their Democratic enemies will face mass executions.
This fantasy congealed into one of the QAnon movement's most repeated slogans:
"The storm is coming."
Though its beliefs are absurd to most, the mass delusion has expanded from obscure internet chatter to an unignorable faction of the GOP's voters.
These flames have been fanned by Republican elected officials. Infamous far-right Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia expressed support for the belief ahead of her election. Her colleague, Congresswoman Lauren Boebert, suggested there would be mass resignations of elected officials, citing an unnamed source at the Justice Department.
Even then-President Donald Trump, when asked, repeatedly refused to denounce the conspiracy theory, saying they were "people that love our country."
Now, people think House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy may be the latest to join their ranks, citing comments he made on Thursday while railing against the House's recently revived mask mandate.
"If you are vaccinated, if you get the variant, there's .003 percent you'd go to the hospital. There's a greater chance you got hit by lightning. But for some reason, Pelosi thinks a storm is coming."
While some may think it's just a coincidences, QAnon's followers have been trained to see conspiracies in coincidences, scouring thousands of Q's post to see which could possibly align with Trump's recent comments or with day-to-day political developments.
Some thought McCarthy was deliberately baiting QAnon believers.
Last year, McCarthy warned that there was "no place for QAnon in the Republican Party." Months later, after he faced backlash from QAnoners and other Republicans for condemning Trump's role in the deadly failed insurrection against the United States Capitol, McCarthy claimed not to know what QAnon was.
What's more, people pointed out the holes in his logic regarding his dismissal of the virus that's killed over 600 thousand Americans.
Q hasn't posted in months, but followers of the conspiracy theory are beginning to run for local offices and school boards around the country.