Conspiracy theories have brought Trump to power and contributed to the radicalization of the U.S. Republicans. And they keep spreading.
Four years ago, 28-year-old Edgar Welch stormed armed at the Comet Ping Pong bar, five kilometers from the US Capitol. He wanted to dig a supposed child trafficking ring around Hillary Clinton there. This insane conspiracy narrative underpinned Donald Trump’s election campaign.
There was no back room in the pizzeria where children were tortured. But a person who calls himself Q or QAnon has since spread the conspiracy theory that a liberal elite around Clinton and Bill Gates kidnap children in order to keep themselves young with their blood. This Tuesday, a crowd of Trump supporters, Nazis and QAnon supporters stormed the Capitol. It was not a coup or a broad uprising. The US is also not on the verge of the second civil war. Rather, a planned militant attack was broadcast live, embedded in a rage stimulated via social networks and chat groups. An attack on a pizzeria has turned into a dangerous movement that will not only survive President Trump, but will continue to grow, driven by algorithms. That’s why the storm on the Capitol is so scary.
At least since the end of the Bush era, the Republican Party has been radicalizing itself at high speed. With almost every internal party primary, an even more hallucinatory or even more extreme candidate slips into the front row. Even after Tuesday’s attack, not all Republicans in Congress were ready to ratify Joe Biden’s Democratic election.
At the same time, the algorithm stimulates radicalization in the network largely undisturbed. QAnon has spread around the world, and supporters also take part in corona demonstrations in Germany. These people believe that the hated elite want to usurp world domination – and see in Donald Trump the savior who brings about the apocalypse and thus the cleansing of the world.
On the live images one could see that in the past four years Trumpists and conspiracy supporters have moved towards one another, strengthened one another and interwoven their conspiracy theories. A QAnon supporter has been in Congress for the Republicans since the November election.
In view of the events, wrote Senator Kelly Loeffler, who had just lost in Georgia, on Tuesday evening, she could no longer block the confirmation of Joe Biden with a clear conscience. She drew the line. This demarcation is not only necessary for Republicans, it is urgent. The algorithm does not wait.