According to Q, Donald Trump is engaged in a war against a conspiracy of deep-state agents and their celebrity allies. These foes of Trump are said to be involved in Satanism, pedophilia, child trafficking and efforts to extend their life through diabolic means. The members of QAnon believe that Trump will crush his foes in the Storm, which is the QAnon mini apocalypse.
Members of QAnon were among those who stormed the capitol. Given their belief that he won the election and still must bring the storm, this behavior makes sense: they see themselves as heroes fighting on the side of their righteous messiah. This perception of Trump, a vile and soulless husk of a grifter, is perhaps the most wrong of their mistaken beliefs. As I discussed in an earlier essay, QAnon has a key similarity to Millerism. The Millerites believed that Jesus would return to earth in 1843-1844 and this lead, obviously, to the Great Disappointment. Some Millerites gave up their belief in the prediction, while others insisted that it had come true and developed accounts to explain what they thought had happened. While Millerism is otherwise very different from QAnon, it and similar apocalyptic belief systems can be used as analogies to consider what might happen with QAnon.
It is likely that Trump’s failed attempt to overthrow the election and his impotence in the face of Biden legitimately taking office has demoralized some QAnon members—they have experienced the QDisappointment and it has broken their faith. But people with the sort of belief forming mechanisms that allow a person to embrace QAnon can clearly reject clear and evident facts in favor of a deranged and unfounded fiction. As such, it is likely that many of them are up to the task of interpreting or ignoring the facts to fit their fiction. They can, for example, tell themselves that Trump has made a strategic move to lull his enemies into complacency: once the Democrats and their celebrity allies believe they are in control, Trump and his army will strike again. And this time, one must QAssume, they will succeed. Ted Cruz and the QAnon members of the House are also helping to feed this belief, although Trump has fallen silent because of his exile from social media. But the silence of their messiah might drown out these words of the lesser heroes of QAnon and this could weaken the resolve of the faithful—or they might find a new hobby or cult to occupy their time.
When the Storm does not arrive soon, the remaining faithful will need to modify their beliefs once again. Perhaps Trump plans to bring the Storm in 2024 when he runs for president again. Some might decide that they need to take matters into their own hands and engage in domestic terrorism on behalf of Trump while others might decide that Trump was a false messiah—there are certainly people who would love to become the new messiah of Q. Still others might take the view that one of Trump’s children is the true Trump messiah and create a Q Anon splinter faction around one or more of them. QAnon might, like other cults, evolve into a religion—we might see a respected Church of Q in a thousand years, with tales of the miracles of St. Rudy and the prophecy that Trump will return for his Second Term—and then the Storm will strike the wicked. Or, one can hope, QAnon will fade away into obscurity and receive brief mention only in textbooks and documentaries about cults.