Bill Berkowitz writes at Daily Kos, TRUMPAnon: Is Trump’s Embrace of QAnon the ‘Last Act of a Desperate Man’?:

In what some are calling the “last act of a desperate man,” former president Donald Trump is ramping up his embrace of QAnon followers. American followers of QAnon believe that Democrats are part of a global child-sex-trafficking ring and that Trump will ultimately rise up and defeat them. Before the 2020 election Trump, as was his wont, denied knowing much about QAnon, other than he understood that many QAnon followers liked him.



In recent weeks, facing a slew of legal troubles, Trump posted a picture of himself with a QAnon lapel pin and the slogan “The Storm is Coming,” and reposted messages from Q on his social media app, Truth Social. In Youngstown, Ohio, the climax of Trump’s rally featured “Where We Go One We Go All,” or WWG1WGA — the QAnon motto and anthem, prompting the crowd to respond with a Nazi-like salute.

This past weekend Trump fully embraced the “Trumpanon” persona. It is a hostile takeover of QAnon the same way he did a hostile takeover of the Republican Party. He just takes whatever he wants like a three year old with no impulse control to satisfy his every insatiable urge.

As Juliette Kayyem, a former assistant secretary for homeland security under President Barack Obama, and the faculty chair of the homeland-security program at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, recently wrote in The Atlantic, “Trump, who had previously maintained at least a little distance from QAnon, is only signing on now because he’s flailing,” (Trump Endorsed QAnon Because He’s Stuck).

Frank Figliuzzi, a former FBI assistant director, told Nicole Wallace host of the MSNBC’s “Deadline: White House,” that Trump is “in trouble on so many legal fronts, even criminal fronts now, that this is, kind of, the almost last act of a desperate man” (Former FBI assistant director says Trump is getting ‘increasingly cornered’ and that his embrace of QAnon is the ‘last act of a desperate man’).

Figliuzzi continued: “What is extremely dangerous based on past histories of cults, is that as they come near the end, as the leader is threatened, they get more and more dangerous. And they do something cult experts call ‘forcing the end.’…When cult leaders feel imminently threatened, or, they are removed, their followers may try to bring about the outcome they had hoped for. In this case, that attempt at ‘forcing the ending’ could be forcible removal of legitimately elected opponents, including a president, election related violence, and/or violence against perceived enemies including, as Trump has mentioned, the FBI, the media, the DOJ, and others.”

A few years ago, many people worried that friends and relatives were being caught up in QAnon conspiracy rabbit hole. As Adrienne LaFrance described in her June 2020 article in The Atlantic, titled “The Prophecies of Q: American conspiracy theories are entering a dangerous new phase,” QAnon followers were anonymously amongst the body politic (THE PROPHECIES OF Q).

If you were an adherent, no one would be able to tell. You would look like any other American. You could be a mother, picking leftovers off your toddler’s plate. You could be the young man in headphones across the street. You could be a bookkeeper, a dentist, a grandmother icing cupcakes in her kitchen. You may well have an affiliation with an evangelical church. But you are hard to identify just from the way you look—which is good, because someday soon dark forces may try to track you down. You understand this sounds crazy, but you don’t care. You know that a small group of manipulators, operating in the shadows, pull the planet’s strings. You know that they are powerful enough to abuse children without fear of retribution. You know that the mainstream media are their handmaidens, in partnership with Hillary Clinton and the secretive denizens of the deep state. You know that only Donald Trump stands between you and a damned and ravaged world. You see plague and pestilence sweeping the planet, and understand that they are part of the plan. You know that a clash between good and evil cannot be avoided, and you yearn for the Great Awakening that is coming. And so you must be on guard at all times. You must shield your ears from the scorn of the ignorant. You must find those who are like you. And you must be prepared to fight.

The disappearance of its anonymous founder Q, and in the aftermath of the 2020 election, it seemed like QAnon was going the way of many doomsday cults; fading in the light of reality.

However, Trump’s attempt at a political revival has once again ignited QAnon’s followers. According to NBC News’ Ben Goggin, QAnon partisans have become adept at posting QAnon related material on TikTok, while avoiding getting removed from the site. “QAnon conspiracy theory videos with thinly veiled hashtags are bringing in millions of views on TikTok ahead of the 2022 midterm elections,” Goggin wrote (QAnon videos are getting millions of views on TikTok as Trump embraces conspiracy theory).

According to Goggin, “In July 2020, TikTok attempted to address the growth of QAnon hashtags on their platform by banning a selection of them. In October 2020, the company said it was expanding the ban to all videos on the platform that advance ideas from the conspiracy theory movement.

“In the run-up to the 2022 midterm elections, TikTok said that it will [again] be combating misinformation on its platform. In a blog post published Aug. 17, Eric Han, TikTok’s U.S. head of safety, wrote, ‘TikTok has a longstanding policy to not allow paid political advertising, and our Community Guidelines prohibit content including election misinformation, harassment — including that directed towards election workers — hateful behavior, and violent extremism.’”

Many liberal commentaries are viewing Trump’s recent active embrace of QAnon as the ploy of a man who is trying to increase his following and cling to relevance in the face of unfavorable polls (a one and a half year low of a 34 percent approval rating) and a barrage of legal threats. At the same time, no one should underestimate the potential for Trump-spawned QAnon violence. The Atlantic’s Kayyem finds a possible grain of hope: “I don’t know how the decay of our democracy ends. And I do not want to minimize the danger inherent in Trump’s adoption of QAnon. Yet his decision is encouraging in at least one way: By throwing in his lot with a bizarre cult, he is also inadvertently showing the limits of his appeal.”

The “Trumpanon” death cult is an end-times apocalyptic cult. There is an equal chance that Trump tells his cult followers to drink the Kool-aid and join him in the afterlife, like cult leader Jim Jones.