Post-2020, Q believers are once again gearing up to run for office and grow their movement, but with two major strategy changes. One is that Q believers are now getting involved in local elections for school boards and city councils and showing up at board meetings to scream about Q-linked topics. The other is that many of these candidates no longer identify as believers in QAnon — or even acknowledge that a movement with that name ever existed. They’re taking their “secret war” to new recruits looking to strike back against a way of life they feel is eroding — without the public acknowledgement that such a war exists. In doing so, they have the potential to expose new audiences to their violent mythology, without having to explain away the baggage that comes with the term “QAnon.”
Both changes come straight from the top: one from several Q “drops” on the message board 8kun and the other from QAnon hero Michael Flynn. (Flynn trademarked the term “digital soldiers,” which is what many Q believers see themselves as.)
In a September post, “Q” ordered believers to “drop all references re: 'Q' 'Qanon' etc.” to avoid being banned on social media. A month later, Q declared that “there is Q, there are anons, there is no QAnon.” Q posited that the very term “QAnon” was a media creation with no real meaning. It wasn’t true, but it didn’t matter. The term was no longer necessary, because Q’s mythology of an all-powerful deep state that enables child trafficking and election fraud was entering the mainstream conservative discourse.
More recently, in June, Flynn ordered believers at a "Reopen/Reawaken America" event to "not allow school boards to dictate what is happening in our schools." Flynn has also had the quote “local action equals national impact” attributed to him, though only based on a meme on a popular QAnon message board. But again, whether he used that quote or not doesn’t matter here — only the feeling of doing something important matters. Flynn himself has been relentlessly promoting and raising money off QAnon — while simultaneously distancing himself from it.
Spurred on by their leaders, real and imagined, Q believers are showing up at school board gatherings and running for obscure local offices around the country. They’re spouting the same conspiracy theories about sex traffickers, critical race theory and the erasure of conservatives represented by “cancel culture” that have long been at the heart of QAnon. They’re scaring parents while firing up disaffected conservatives. And they’re doing both without publicly associating with or name-dropping Q. Either way, the message is the same: There’s a war going on against your way of life, and the only way to win is if you personally join the fight.
That model, of attempting to gain power at the local level using QAnon mythology while simultaneously discarding the QAnon brand itself, is a sustainable path forward for a movement that had seemed to be teetering on the brink of irrelevance. It forges a new, durable way to actually influence policy without relying on cryptic nonsense found on an extremist message board. And it fits in perfectly with the GOP’s emphasis on pushing culture war issues at the expense of actual governing.
The new Q doesn’t rely on the goodwill of social media giants but on small meetings and text message blasts that stoke fears of conservative culture war bogeymen. It’s putting aside the impossible hope of Donald Trump being “reinstated” as president and focusing on winning real local elections with real impact.
That impact is real. In June, the National Education Association released an op-ed asking “Is QAnon Radicalizing Your School Board?” highlighting board election wins by Q believers in Michigan, Washington, Florida and California. And that was before the more organized attempts to infiltrate school boards with fears of trafficking and critical race theory.
The rebranded Q and its leaders are taking their cues from the Christian right and the tea party, making national issues a Main Street problem. Most people don’t think, as QAnon posits, that Hillary Clinton is a child-trafficking occultist — but many more live in terror of their kids being brainwashed or kidnapped, a fear that Q gurus already exploited in the 2020 “Save the Children” hysteria. Few Republicans think Trump will be “restored” to office, but virtually all believe their way of life is being “canceled” by liberalism’s godless onslaught.
Monday, July 19, 2021
Public opinion polls in the 2020 presidential election suffered from errors of “unusual magnitude,” the highest in 40 years for surveys estimating the national popular vote and in at least 20 years for state-level polls, according to a study conducted by the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR).
The AAPOR task force examined 2,858 polls, including 529 national presidential race polls and 1,572 state-level presidential polls. They found that the surveys overstated the margin between President Biden and former president Donald Trump by 3.9 points in the national popular vote and 4.3 percentage points in state polls.
Polls understated the support for Trump in nearly every state and by an average of 3.3 percentage points overall. Polls in Senate and gubernatorial races suffered from the same problem.
“There was a systematic error that was found in terms of the overstatement for Democratic support across the board,” said Josh Clinton, a Vanderbilt University political science professor who chaired the 19-member task force. “It didn’t matter what type of poll you were doing, whether you’re interviewing by phone or Internet or whatever. And it didn’t matter what type of race, whether President Trump was on the ballot or was not on the ballot.”
The polls did a better job of estimating the average support for Biden, with a few exceptions. In general, support for Biden in the polls was 1 percentage point higher than his actual vote.
An AAPOR task force conducted a similar examination after the 2016 election. Then, national polls generally accurately predicted the size of Hillary Clinton’s popular vote victory over Trump, but state polls proved more problematic, causing many analysts at the time to predict wrongly that Clinton also would win an electoral college majority.
In the new study, task force members were able to rule out a series of reasons that might have caused the 2020 polls to show a bigger margin for Biden over Trump than the actual results. That included some of the problems that affected polling in 2016, such as the failure in that year to account for levels of education in the samples of voters.
But the task force members were not able to reach definitive conclusions on exactly what caused the problems in the most recent election polls and therefore how to correct their methodology ahead of the next elections. “Identifying conclusively why polls overstated the Democratic-Republican margin relative to the certified vote appears to be impossible with the available data,” the report states.
Polling in senatorial and gubernatorial races showed a similar pattern, overstating the margin for Democratic candidates versus their Republican opponents. When state-level presidential polls were removed from the sample, the error level was even higher. For example, polling pointed to possible Democratic gains in House races. Instead, Republicans gained seats.
National presidential polls were accurate in one respect, which was in pointing to the popular vote winner. Of 66 such polls taken in the last two weeks of the campaign, all showed Biden ahead of Trump. “The performance of senatorial polls was notably worse,” the report notes, with just 66 percent correctly identifying the winning candidate.
The United States recorded 79,310 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, according to Johns Hopkins University.
The number is the highest in the world, exceeding recorded totals from Indonesia (54,000), the United Kingdom (51,949), and Brazil (45,591), and doubling that of India (38,079).
The spiking case number matches the level hit in October 2020, a record at the time, though it would not remain so for long. Despite the effectiveness of multiple vaccines against the virus, vaccine hesitancy is fueling “a pandemic of the unvaccinated,” according to CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky.
The vast majority of all patients currently hospitalized with COVID-19 are unvaccinated, according to the CDC.
Florida will no longer update its COVID-19 dashboard or release daily updates about COVID-19 cases and deaths.
Now the Florida Department of Health will provide reports about coronavirus cases and vaccines on a weekly basis each Friday, according to the Tallahassee Democrat.
There’s no longer a need to create daily reports, Christina Pushaw, press secretary for Gov. Ron DeSantis, told The News Service of Florida on Friday.
“COVID-19 cases have significantly decreased over the past year as we have a less than 5% positivity rate, and our state is returning to normal, with vaccines widely available throughout Florida,” she wrote in an email.
The latest weekly report, issued on Friday, showed 11,900 new COVID-19 cases and 35 new deaths during the past week. The case positivity rate is 3.6%.
In addition, 10 million Floridians have now received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose, which covers about 53% of the population. More than 8.2 million residents are considered fully vaccinated.
Florida’s COVID-19 state of emergency remains in effect until June 26. DeSantis has said that he doesn’t plan to extend it further, The News Service of Florida reported.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit in Atlanta late Saturday stayed a judge’s order that would’ve declared the CDC’s COVID-19 regulations for the cruise ship industry as mere recommendations, not rules.This latest reversal comes as Florida has become a flashpoint in a resurgence of COVID-19 cases. Cases in Florida doubled over the past week, with the Department of Health reporting 45,604 new cases. The positivity rate also climbed to over 11%.
The judge’s order had been expected to go into effect Sunday.
U.S. Federal District Judge Steven Merryday’s decision, now on hold, meant that by July 18 cruise ships would no longer have to enforce COVID-19 safety protocols for its passengers or employees, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s precautions would’ve been nothing more than recommendations for any cruise line to follow, or not follow, as they see fit.
The panel’s 2-1 ruling marked a win for the CDC.
In its request for the stay of the injunction, the CDC said that by keeping its safety protocols for cruises in place, it was not shutting the cruise industry down but rather providing a framework for them to continue operating safely during the pandemic.
The CDC has battled the state of Florida over the department’s regulations for cruise ships for the past few months. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis originally filed the lawsuit against the CDC in April.
The CDC issued a conditional sail order last October to work on keeping cases down on ships and from the virus spreading in local communities. The order set forth a four-phased approach that would let ships start sailing again, ranging from testing of crew members, testing requirements for passengers and restricted voyage lengths among other things.
The state of Florida previously sued the CDC over its regulations for the cruise ship industry, arguing that the rules were hurting Florida’s unemployment rate and the state’s ability to do business.
On Friday, the White House said that the state, which accounts for 6.5% of the country’s population, was responsible for 20% of the country’s new infections, the latter figure more than three times greater than the former.