September 29, 2022 | USA TODAY

Salutes & chants: Trump embraces QAnon in the lead up to the 2022 midterm elections

Donald Trump’s embrace of QAnon accounts may be creating an unsettling election environment ahead of the 2022 midterms. The former president has been re-sharing QAnon accounts with posts about him winning the 2020 elections to his millions of followers.

Recently, at a rally in Youngstown, Ohio, for GOP Senate candidate J.D. Vance, Trump supporters held up an index finger in salute to the tune of “Wwg1wga” — an abbreviation for “Where we go one, we go all,” the QAnon slogan.

“QAnon today is a carcass of what it used to be,” Jared Holt, senior research manager at ISD, told USA TODAY.

Jared said the movement “lost excitement and interest after its leader, Q, went silent in December 2020 after the presidential election (although Q reappeared in June).”

However, “the election denialism space has been a huge boon for some of these influencers, plugging them into new audiences,” he explained.

While QAnon conspiracy support may not be what it use to be, many of its sympathisers found common ground under election denialism in the last two years. Trump boosting accounts that push this kind of misinformation could help reinvigorate the core of the conspiracy movement, call into question election results or lead to violence.

In another article for INSIDER, Jared points out that this is as transparent as Trump has ever been regarding his QAnon following and there is no room for plausible deniability at this point. And while this could put his more moderate leaning supporters at risk, Jared thinks that at this stage that’s pretty unlikely to happen.

“I’d like to think that doing those things would be a form of political suicide, but Trump has been a fixture of modern political discourse for more than six years now. It is genuinely difficult for me to imagine that any Trump fan who has plugged their nose this long would be swayed if Trump leaned further into QAnon.”

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