As the 2022 U.S. primary elections inch closer, a shift in the role of political conspiracies is being seen throughout the country. Candidates who have openly supported the QAnon movement aren’t necessarily polling well in their respective races. However, candidates who push QAnon-popularized narratives, such as election fraud, seem to be relatively well received.
In Arizona, Republican candidate for Congress Ron Watkins is one of those cases that isn’t performing well. ISD Senior Research Manager and QAnon expert, Jared Holt, spoke to the New York Times about how promoting extremist views doesn’t equate to a successful campaign.
Specifically in the case of Watkins, it proved difficult to stand out in a race full of conspiratorially aligned candidates. “Every once in a while, somebody on the conspiracy-brain right wing gets a bunch of attention online and they think that means they’re popular,” Jared said. “So they try to run for office or have an in-person event somewhere, and it’s just a miserable crash and burn.”
Commenting on the aftermath of the initial QAnon boom: “The broader culture war picked up some of the more conspiratorial tendencies that come with QAnon. There was, to some degree, a merger,” he said.