QAnon gains mainstream appeal with tens of millions in GOP funding

According to a new investigation by Grid, there are at least 78 QAnon candidates, backed by tens of millions of GOP dollars (20 million in this cycle, over 30 million since 2018), running for state or federal office — including governorships, secretaries of state, state legislature seats, and federal house and senate seats — in more than 26 states in this upcoming election cycle. Grid concludes, "QAnon appears to be a growing political movement with increasing clout and significant mainstream appeal."

Arizona has the most QAnon-leaning candidates (13), followed by Florida (12), and California (10). QAnon is deeply anti-Semitic, racist, and homophobic, and has been implicated in several violent attacks, including the August 3, 2019, mass shooting at an El Paso Walmart that targeted Latinos, killing 23 individuals and injuring 23 others. It has also been associated with a number of anti-BLM groups — including one in La Mesa, California called "Defend East County" — that arose in Spring and Summer 2020 as a reaction against the nationwide racial uprisings. QAnon was also recently designated a domestic terrorist threat by the FBI. Belief and support of QAnon was also a thread uniting many of the terrorists who stormed the US Capitol on January 6, 2021.

Additionally, QAnon supporters have been instrumental in creating and disseminating the decidedly false assertion that Trump won the election and that Biden stole the election through massive voter fraud. One Arizona candidate running for Congress in Arizona's 2nd Congressional District is Ron Watkins, long rumored to be the actual "Q" of QAnon (this theory is expertly detailed in the HBO documentary Into the Storm). Another QAnon believer running for Congress in Arizona's 1st Congressional District is Josh Barnett, who is running on an anti-immigration, anti-reproductive choice, anti-vax, anti-CRT platform. He also has recently tweeted that if elected he will "Shut down the Federal Dept of Education," calls opponents "soyboys," and calls himself "Ultra Maga." He has also recently expressed his support of Dinesh D'Souza's new "documentary," entitled 2000 Mules, which claims to expose widespread voter fraud that led to the 2020 "stolen Presidential election"—a tired story that has already been debunked time and again. Over the past few weeks, he has repeatedly tweeted about the "documentary" (which has been thoroughly fact-checked and found to be entirely fictional.  On May 2 Barnett tweeted "They leaked Roe v Wade to hide 2000 Mules info":

Barnett is simply repeating the belief popular in QAnon circles that the leaked Supreme Court draft decision that overturns Roe v. Wade is really a deep-state plot to distract us all from the alleged massive voter fraud that robbed Trump of his rightful Presidency. But Barnett could be in Congress soon, and he's using his voice to amplify the same kinds of conspiracy theories that have led to literal death and the further eroding of our democracy. All of this would be absurd and hilarious if it weren't so utterly terrifying.