The first time I saw a QAnon demonstration in DC, I thought they were nuts. It was a small crowd on Freedom Plaza in 2018. Who would believe that?
Yet, within a couple of years, this fringe philosophy would be endorsed by Donald Trump and lead to the January 6th attack on the Capitol.
Despite the obvious harm the conspiracy theory brought to its adherents, the GOP wouldn’t denounce it, for too many of their voters believed in shadowy Q.
While there may be mainstream Republicans, the Qanon caucus steers the party. They selected the Speaker of the House and can vote him out at any time. The fringe now controls the GOP.
Another demonstration recently came to the nation’s capital. Rage Against the War Machine brought together MAGA cultists, libertarians, Communists and Code Pink to call for the elimination of NATO and the surrender of Ukraine. Speakers included Rand Paul and Tulsi Gabbard.
And lots of Russian and Soviet flags. Shocking to see at the Lincoln Memorial, the red banner of terror under which millions were murdered, blowing in the wind on a sunny day.
And in the crowd, men in the yellow colors of the Proud Boys and “patriots” with t-shirts calling for January 6th prisoners to be released. Mingling with them, crackpots of various ilks, from cryptocurrency fanatics to those that believe that government controls the weather.
I listened to a MAGA chud argue with a libertarian. “You’re a fucking lunatic!” he shouted.
You’re all lunatics, I wanted to say.
There were perhaps 2,000 people at the Rage Against the War Machine rally, which sounds like a lot, but is small for a rally at the Lincoln Memorial on a nice, early spring day. The demonstration was swamped by tourists (there’s a huge teen volleyball tournament in town) who went around and through the event, looking confused as they saw the Soviet flags. “Is this a pro-Russia rally?”
After an interminable speech by Ron Paul, the rally marched to the White House, where they waved Russian and American flags while Biden was en route to Ukraine to show solidarity with an oppressed people.
A people who the Rage Against the War Machine crowd wants dead. If Ukraine was forced to surrender to Russia, it would mean genocide.
I have a Bulgarian friend who likes to remind me that what starts over there, comes over here. Dictators copy tactics. And aspiring fascist movements learn from each other.
The “blood and soil” Christian nationalism of Russia will be copied by Republicans. Putin is a natural ally in the struggle against democracy. Expect more than a few Republicans to endorse him.
If you want to know where the GOP is going in 2024, look at Rage Against the War Machine. It’s the next QAnon.