Law-enforcement already has the tools it needs to address the ongoing threat

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Photo by David Todd McCarty via Unsplash | Trump supporters at a rally in New Jersey.

After last month’s Capitol riot, President Joe Biden and prominent politicians voiced support for federal legislation that would criminalize acts of domestic terrorism. But civil rights organizations and advocates are concerned that expanding criminal penalties rather than enforcing existing laws may do more harm than good.

Of particular concern is House Resolution 4192, or the “Confronting the Threat of Domestic Terrorism Act,” which aims to penalize acts of domestic terrorism and provides the Attorney General with the discretion to prosecute such crimes. The bill was first introduced by Rep. Adam Schiff (D-MA) in 2019 before dying in committee at the…


But some followers are still trusting “the plan” and pushing new conspiracy theories

QAnon Decoded is a series that monitors how followers of the QAnon movement are filtering major election events through their conspiratorial version of reality. Not sure what QAnon is? Start here.

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Photo by U.S. Embassy Jerusalem via CreativeCommons | President Joe Biden in 2016.

QAnon followers were forced to reckon with reality as they witnessed Joe Biden become the nation’s 46th president on Wednesday after months of engaging with baseless conspiracy theories aimed at delegitimizing the newly elected president’s claim to the office.

For many QAnon followers, inauguration day was put up or shut up day for the movement. In the hours leading up to the inauguration, most QAnon communities remained optimistic that…


Voter fraud conspiracy theories and false hope that Trump could overturn the election inspired supporters to try the unthinkable

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Photo by Harrison Keely via FreeImages | Supporters of outgoing President Donald Trump violently stormed the U.S. Capitol on January 6.

Months of right-wing disinformation came to a predictable end on January 6, when a mob of Trump supporters — incited by the president and his lackeys — stormed the United States Capitol in an apparent attempt to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election. The thwarted insurrection came after months of baseless right-wing voter fraud allegations aimed at sowing doubt in the validity of the election results and undermining the basic structures of American democracy.

Allegations of voter fraud were raised by the president and his allies even before the election took place, but accelerated after his November loss…


Followers reacted to election results with delusional optimism, voter fraud conspiracy theories and civil war rhetoric

QAnon Decoded is a series that monitors how followers of the QAnon movement are filtering major election events through their conspiratorial version of reality. Not sure what QAnon is? Start here.

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Author Photo | On November 8 in Atlanta, GA, Trump supporters protested supposed voter fraud during the 2020 election, a baseless allegation echoed in QAnon circles.

The four-day limbo following Election Day was a stressful and uncertain period for all Americans, but QAnon followers may have had it worse than any of us.


A clear and convincing Trump loss will result in at least some QAnon defectors and could minimize far-right violence

QAnon Decoded is a series that monitors how followers of the QAnon movement are filtering major election events through their conspiratorial version of reality. Not sure what QAnon is? Start here.

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Photo by Element5 Digital via Unsplash

If you ask QAnon supporters, Joe Biden’s campaign is on the brink of collapse. In the final days ahead of the November 3 election, devotees have speculated that Biden will drop out or undergo crushing defeat, hinging their beliefs on a series of misleading conspiracy theories surrounding the former vice president’s son, Hunter Biden.

The impetus for these conspiracies is a flimsy New York Post article published earlier this…


Hunter Biden conspiracy blurs line between GOP and the far-right

QAnon Decoded is a series that monitors how followers of the QAnon movement are filtering major election events through their conspiratorial version of reality. Not sure what QAnon is? Start here.

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Photo by Ehimetalor Akhere Unuabona via Unsplash | QAnon followers at a rally in London.

Right-wing pundits and politicians have echoed QAnon this week, with many spreading an unfounded conspiracy theory that a laptop belonging to Hunter Biden contains child pornography and evidence of illicit contact with minors. Popular figures on the right including Donald Trump Jr., Rudy Giuliani, Lou Dobbs, Dinesh D’Souza and Dan Bongino have shared the theory with millions.

The allegation parallels the common QAnon refrain that Democrats and elites are…


The future of the deranged conspiracy theory doesn’t have to make sense

QAnon Decoded is a series that monitors how followers of the QAnon movement are filtering major election events through their conspiratorial version of reality. Not sure what QAnon is? Start here.

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Photo by Charles Deluvio via Unsplash

If the election were held tomorrow, Donald Trump would lose. It’s more of a mathematical certainty than a controversial statement at this point. As of publication, the RealClearPolitics average has Democratic Nominee Joe Biden 10 points ahead, a major gap for Trump to bridge with only three weeks to go. …


Baseless conspiracy received engagement from hundreds of thousands on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Tik Tok

This is the first article in a series that will monitor how followers of the QAnon movement are filtering major election events through their conspiratorial version of reality.

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Author Screenshot | An image shared by a QAnon follower on Facebook depicting the supposed aftermath of “The Storm.”

For any normal presidential candidate, a life-threatening diagnosis, a widely-panned debate performance and dismal poll numbers in key states would be cause for concern in the weeks leading up to election day. But for followers of the the far right QAnon conspiracy theory, President Donald Trump’s COVID-19 diagnosis instead marks the beginning of the political “storm” that will implicate his “deep state” enemies.

When Trump announced in a tweet Friday that he…

Jared Casto

Law student, writer and photographer. Follow me on Twitter @jaredcasto

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