Legit media outlets are tracking the rise of Q-supporting fascists who are running for office in local, state and congressional elections. It appears to be an alarming trend:
Time Magazine reports on candidates in local elections:
“The long-term impacts are really dangerous,” says Jared Holt, a disinformation researcher at the Atlantic Council. “We’re supposed to have our leaders make decisions based on shared sets of facts. If we decide that for elected officials to believe in an outlandish byzantine conspiracy theory like QAnon is O.K., then the door is effectively left open for that shared sense of understanding to further erode.”
Here are a few fascist-movement politicians the magazine found who are currently in office:
- In Las Vegas, Katie Williams, 30, was elected to the seven-member board of the Clark County school district, which is the fifth largest in the country, with more than 300,000 children. A former Miss Nevada who claims she was stripped of her title in 2019 because of her conservative views, Williams shares the former President’s penchant for provocation. (The pageant says it’s because she broke its “no politics” rule for social media.) On her Twitter account, she has called COVID-19 the “China virus,” belittled transgender athletes and gone viral for taunting prominent Democrats.
- Tito Ortiz is a bombastic former Ultimate Fighting champion and longtime Trump supporter from Huntington Beach, Calif., a city of 200,000 an hour south of Los Angeles. Last year, Ortiz, 46, ran for an open seat on the city council. Like Williams’ politics, his is a mix of Trump-style goading and open support for conspiracies, including QAnon. He campaigned to “Make Huntington Beach safe again,” promising to save the city from Black Lives Matter protesters and antifa. He has refused to wear a mask, calling COVID-19 a “political scam” and a form of “population control by the left.” And he sold QAnon merchandise on his website, advertising shirts emblazoned with wwg1wga–an abbreviation of the same Q slogan Eric Trump posted on social media–which he modeled in beach shots, showing off his muscled physique. (Ortiz’s girlfriend, an Instagram influencer, lost access to her social media accounts for spreading the conspiracy theory through her lifestyle content, a trend that researchers have termed “Pastel QAnon.”)
- A similar controversy has been playing out in Sequim, Wash., where the mayor’s enthusiastic promotion of QAnon has shaken up the sleepy town of 6,600 on the Olympic Peninsula. Last August, Mayor William Armacost urged listeners of the radio program Coffee With the Mayor to seek out a YouTube video about the conspiracy. A local salon owner who has served as mayor since January 2020, Armacost called QAnon a “movement that encourages you to think for yourself” and praised “patriots from all over the world fighting for humanity, truth, freedom and saving children.”
- In San Luis Obispo, Calif. … it was teenagers who rang the alarm bells. In November, a 73-year-old retired teacher named Eve Dobler-Drew won a seat on the San Luis Coastal Unified School District’s board, overseeing 7,500 students. She had previously shared QAnon conspiracy videos, called Melinda Gates “satanic,” claimed that George Soros had paid racial-justice protesters and pushed disinformation about LGBTQ “conversion” therapy.
Izzy Nino de Rivera, the 16-year-old editor of the San Luis Obispo High School paper, who is openly gay, was livid. “I was so mad, and worried about my younger siblings, what they’re going to be learning,” she says. She joined with a friend, Drew Vander Weele, to write an op-ed protesting Dobler-Drew’s election. “We’re giving something like that a platform and saying that this is someone who makes decisions for the community,” Vander Weele says. “How is that O.K.?” (Dobler-Drew did not respond to requests for comment.)
At a school-board meeting held over Zoom, Nino de Rivera made a public call for Dobler-Drew to resign. More than a dozen community members backed the move. “This is not a person who should be influential in making decisions regarding the education of our children,” said Scott Bixby, a school parent.
But the board president urged critics to remember that Dobler-Drew had been duly elected. Since then, the city’s mayor, Heidi Harmon, has been circulating a petition to gauge support for Dobler-Drew’s recall, in which she calls her a “right-wing conspiracy theorist” who failed to disclose her “unhinged worldview” to voters. “We know that [San Luis Obispo] County is better than this,” the petition says.
Media Matters found 19 candidates for Congress “who have previously endorsed or given credence at some level to the conspiracy theory or promoted QAnon content:
- Five are from Florida, two each are from Arizona, Nevada, and Ohio, and there is one each from California, Maryland, New Jersey, Oregon, Texas, Pennsylvania, Georgia, and Colorado.
- Eighteen are Republicans. One is an independent.
- Fifteen previously ran for Congress in 2020. Two previously ran for a state legislative seat in 2020.
- Two, from Colorado and Georgia, are incumbents in Congress. One, from Florida, is an incumbent state legislator.
There are short biographies of the 19 fascist candidates in the Media Matters article Some are even more dangerously unhinged than the two sitting fascists House members, Lauren Boebert and Marjorie Taylor Green.
The Sacramento Bee reported that “at least four Republicans candidates [for Congress] have expressed interest in QAnon ideas. Three have been endorsed by the state party — Nikka Piterman and Alison Hayden, who are challenging Bay Area Democrats for Congress, and Erin Cruz, who is running against an incumbent Riverside Democrat.”
“It comes with a wonderful hope to break out of the matrix, to save the world,” [Alison] Hayden said of the QAnon movement. “This whole Q thing is really about returning the power to the people, the voice to the people. And to me that’s exciting. That’s a whole lot more exciting than all the anger and vitriol against (President Donald Trump).”
In other words, fascism will set you free.