Friday, January 22, 2021


From a January 20 Politico story about the end of Donald Trump's presidency:
His last days were quiet. He insisted he was working. “President Trump will work from early in the morning until late in the evening ... ” his public schedule said each day. But he wasn’t really working. He was disappearing.

He was a man, a leader, a president almost unrecognizable to those who had watched him over the past four years. Diminished. Adrift, Sullen.
I wasn't surprised that sulkiness was the flipside of Trump's arrogance and braggadocio. When things go seriously wrong for him, he considers it a profound injustice. So now he's thinking: How dare the world treat me badly! I'll show the world! I'll go mope in my room!

But I'm surprised that it's gone on for days. Maybe he could have rallied himself after failing to finagle the overturn of the election, and maybe he could have regrouped after being banned from Twitter, but it appears that the combination has his delicate ego flatlining.

(Why doesn't he just blog? He doesn't have to write long posts. Folks like Atrios and Instapundit have been writing mostly tweet-sized blog posts since before there was Twitter. Why couldn't someone set Trump up with a blog, maybe at, and he could just write the same tweets he always wrote and post them there? In the waning days of his presidency, the world would have paid attention; now, his fan base would, at least.)

Which brings me to this Washington Post story about QAnon.
Tiffany, an Oklahoma mother of two who runs an online children’s boutique, had expected more arrests.

A believer in QAnon, ... she said she was “shocked” when Inauguration Day came and went without any of the mass military roundups of Trump’s enemies that Q, the movement’s prophet, had promised all along.

But after a night of processing the day’s events by reading QAnon promoters’ posts, she said she believes that everything is still humming along according to plan — and that Trump’s election loss was all part of Q’s master strategy to expose the evildoers who corrupted the vote.

“Things have just started,” said Tiffany, who spoke on the condition she’d be identified only by her first name for fear of harassment. “They had to ‘commit’ the crime to fully lock the deal.”

... QAnon promoters have in the past day held up an incoherent set of new theories to explain away Trump’s anticlimactic exit from Washington: that the military is in control of the country, not Biden; that Biden and Trump have switched faces; that Biden’s inauguration was illegitimate, and that the real one (for Trump) would take place in March; or that Biden has been in on the QAnon plan all along.

In QAnon-devoted Telegram channels and message boards, some QAnon believers have announced their worries that they now feel conned by a four-year-old hoax: “Power has changed hands and that is the end,” one user on Telegram said. “In the time we needed Trump and Q the most … [they] both shut up and left,” said another on a QAnon-related forum....

Ron Watkins, 8kun’s longtime administrator and a mass promoter of election-fraud conspiracy theories, said in a Telegram message on Wednesday that the White House transition meant it was time for his followers to “go back to our lives as best we are able.” His father and 8kun’s owner, Jim Watkins, later worked to defend Q’s “historical value,” saying on his Gab account that “the culture of our country has changed because of it.”
But we know "the Plan" won't come to fruition. If these people continue to wait for the mass arrests that will never happen and Trump never fully reemerges as a messiah figure, won't more of them drift away?

I'm skeptical of the theory advanced by the Post story that white nationalist groups might pick up QAnoners -- some might go that way, but I don't think stay-at-home moms will want to join a movement that's performatively macho. If Tiffany quits QAnon, she might throw herself full-time into vaccine skepticism or something similar, but I don't think she'll start celebrating Hitler's birthday or get a Fourteen Words tattoo.

And I don't see anyone stepping up to take Trump's place. I see politicians -- Josh Hawley, Lauren Boebert, Marjorie Taylor Greene, Madison Cawthorn -- attempting to be political heroes to the alienated, but no one trying to be the kind of pop-culture superstar Trump always tried to be (a goal at which he succeeded from 2016 to the end of his term). The Republican Party will probably be led in the future by a Hawley or a Boebert, but I wonder whether QAnon can survive if its mythology isn't organized around a celebrity.

Meanwhile, here's what's going on at

It's frozen at a moment when Trump was still president, and when there was still a Trump-Pence ticket. Below it, there are still videos urging supporters to get out and vote. It's the website equivalent of Miss Havisham, the Dickens character who was left at the altar and wore her wedding dress for the rest of her life.

Trump will probably rally himself eventually, but maybe he won't -- maybe he'll never move past this moment. And maybe QAnon will die along with his dreams.

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