The “storm” never came. The mass executions of prominent Democrats didn’t happen. Former President Donald Trump didn’t declare martial law and institute a “New American Republic” via military coup. QAnon was a lie.
Of course, it was always a lie. The QAnon conspiracy theory’s basic claim — that our government is run by a secret cabal of Satanist, cannibalistic pedophiles who have been exposed by an unknown federal official dubbed “Q” and will be defeated by Trump — is false. It is a destructive fantasy, a world-scaled detective game that plays on adherents’ fears and tells them they are heroes, part of an army of secret-agent patriots by whose hand America will be saved. From the outside, it’s ridiculous. From the inside, all-engrossing.
Inauguration Day was supposed to be the climax of the QAnon story. Well, technically it was Election Day, but after that came and went without a Trump victory, and dozens of Trump campaign lawsuits failed, and the Supreme Court declined to hear Trump’s cause, and the storming of the Capitol didn’t “hang Mike Pence,” as some rioters demanded — after all that, Inauguration Day became the certain apogee. At 12 p.m. sharp, the anons said, Trump would take over communications systems nationwide, expose the traitors, and begin his second term. “Trust the plan,” Q believers told each other.
But noon passed without incident. President Biden was duly inaugurated. Trump retired to Florida. And the Q movement fractured.