Every weekday evening, our editors guide you through the biggest stories of the day, help you discover new ideas, and surprise you with moments of delight. Subscribe to get this delivered to your inbox.
Last night, President Donald Trump was given the opportunity to denounce QAnon outright. He didn’t.
As my colleague Russell Berman writes, that news is shocking but not surprising. Perhaps even more shocking is the conspiracy theory’s place in the national political conversation: Although it’s hard to measure how many people believe in Q, at least one adherent is “virtually assured” to win a seat to Congress in just a few weeks.
The pro-Trump conspiracy theory, which holds in part that global elites are secretly abusing children, isn’t going away. Here are three things to consider as you think about QAnon’s rise to prominence:
QAnon could emerge as a new American religion, our executive editor Adrienne LaFrance posited in our June cover story. At its core, she argues, the group is a rejection of Enlightenment values.
Followers of the group leverage the Instagram aesthetic to spread their message. “We’re used to conspiracy theories appearing on the internet’s strange and ugly spaces, laid out with blurry photos and eyesore annotations,” Kaitlyn Tiffany reports. “But those visual cues are missing this time.”
Reddit did manage to squash its presence. But that isn’t necessarily hopeful news, Kaitlyn writes: The platform’s “approach may have kept QAnon out of one corner of the internet, but QAnon still spread into the real world.”
Embrace your wandering mind. “What matters—in a lecture, and an education—is, after all, thinking itself,” the writer Lily Meyer muses.