QAnon is often described as a conspiracy theory, but in actuality, it's a web of conspiracy theories, from the delusion that 2016 Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton operates a child sex trafficking ring out of a D.C. pizza parlor to the fantasy that John F. Kennedy Jr. is still alive.
But the collective delusion hinges on the bogus idea that a network of satanic, cannibal pedophiles secretly controls the U.S. government and that former President Donald Trump was sent to expose them.
Any mechanisms or movements attempting to stop Trump's nationalist agenda from coming to fruition were deemed compromised by the "Deep State," be they protestors supposedly paid by Democratic donor George Soros or devout Republicans who voiced occasional opposition to Trump.
While the conspiracy web is laughable to most Americans, it's seen increased legitimization within the Republican party, ascending from anonymous posts in the dark corners of the internet to the halls of Congress with the elections of Representatives Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) and Lauren Boebert (R-CO).
QAnon believers gleefully accepted Trump's lies that widespread election fraud orchestrated by Democrats delivered a false victory to President Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential race and they were certain that Trump would be the one inaugurated on January 20th.
The goalposts continued to move as so-called evidence of voter fraud fell flat, as courts denied standing to pro-Trump lawyers' attempts to overturn the election results, and—most gruesomely—on January 6th at the joint congressional session to certify Biden's victory, when pro-Trump extremists stormed the Capitol, resulting in the deaths of at least five people.
The most recent claim by QAnon supporters was that on Inauguration Day, Trump would deliver a message through the emergency broadcast system with irrefutable evidence that he won the election and that his enemies committed unspeakable crimes. There would be mass arrests and Trump would be vindicated.
Biden is now the President of the United States. None of this came to pass.
Screenshots from QAnon message boards of disillusioned supporters have now begun circulating on Twitter.
"Q was a LARP the entire f---ing time." "There is no plan.' "It's over and nothing makes sense... absolutely nothin… https://t.co/vFbD0WSqMe— Ben Collins (@Ben Collins)1611161927.0
QAnon world not reacting great so far https://t.co/e2edwmAIrs— Will Sommer (@Will Sommer)1611161705.0
https://t.co/2hgFjWvBkn— Tim Miller (@Tim Miller)1611167781.0
With none of the so-called plan coming to fruition, other conspiracy theorists are scrambling to move the goalposts yet again.
The QAnon influencer who was moving the goalposts earlier this morning is now claiming Biden has been part of QAnon… https://t.co/eeFm5Oa45o— Alex Kaplan (@Alex Kaplan)1611153479.0
The big QAnon thing today is that Trump is only stepping down because the US government as we know it is over, soon… https://t.co/Gciq9xiTHv— Will Sommer (@Will Sommer)1611154367.0
Their hopes were further dashed when Ron Watkins, a major supporter of the delusion and visible figure in Q mythology, issued a statement on his Telegram page:
"We have a new president sworn in and it is our responsibility as citizens to respect the Constitution. As we enter into the next administration please remember all the friends and happy memories we made together over the past few years."
While QAnon supporters may be mourning, others who saw the damage imposed by the radical conspiracy theory felt vindicated.
Q supporters today after watching Joe Biden become president without being arrested or replaced. #QAnons https://t.co/oZC0S6edmw— Josh Jordan (@Josh Jordan)1611166333.0
I can’t stop laughing https://t.co/f1L8vR2HIR— johnny panic (@johnny panic)1611173832.0
You know they're poorer too having been conned into donating to tRUMP's personal relief fund to the tune of 250 mil… https://t.co/NPbAIMtvFc— expobear (@expobear)1611172975.0
Bless their hearts. https://t.co/UXWj6Tc32P— Ms. Imani Writes Things (@Ms. Imani Writes Things)1611162879.0
The QAnon faithful are having an absolute meltdown right now. https://t.co/XHFphtoMED— Dustin Volz (@Dustin Volz)1611162248.0
I think they’re going through it, fam lol https://t.co/7rmU6EfcEH— heathen king (@heathen king)1611164787.0
Others noted the dissolution of families and friendships left in the wake of conspiracy's rise.
I get the instinct to laugh at this, but the deeply emotional trauma this scam has wrought on family, friendships,… https://t.co/CHEZm08bvk— Ali Watkins (@Ali Watkins)1611167846.0
It’s sad people *really* believed this crap https://t.co/PJWEapeFtI— Sven Sundgaard (@Sven Sundgaard)1611172905.0
Real people, some of whom were arrested at the U.S. Capitol two weeks ago, believed in a completely made-up social… https://t.co/h6jo4KazC5— Tom Winter (@Tom Winter)1611162534.0
It's unclear how the nation will move forward with so many of its citizens entrenched in collective delusion, but Avril Haines, President Biden's Director of National Intelligence nominee, has vowed to conduct an assessment of the conspiracy web's continued threat.