We’ve been following the upstart congressional campaign of Lauren “Yosemite Samantha” Boebert, owner of the Shooters Grill in Rifle who is also known as the “Beto Mom” after clapping back on camera at former Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke on the always-lively subject of taking yer guns, from its humble beginnings, through high-visibility court battles to prematurely reopen her “COVID Cafe,” and on to the present day–where Colorado Public Radio reports that Boebert is now embracing the right-wing conspiracy theory known as “QAnon.”
Boebert placed first in the Colorado GOP district assembly, but she faces an uphill fight against the incumbent. She doesn’t have the support of the party and her fundraising has trailed Tipton’s.
Yet, as her campaign ad points out, she is pro-Trump and pro-gun. In fact, she owns Shooters Grill in Rifle, Colorado, a restaurant known for servers who are armed and open carry.
The upstart candidate claims the true Trump mantle. And just as the president has been known to promote conspiracy theories, Boebert isn’t dismissive of QAnon, a conspiracy theory alleging a “deep state” attack on Trump, and other allegations against Democratic politicians. On a Q-friendly web show, Boebert, based on what she heard about Q, said: “I hope that this is real.” [Pols emphasis]
“It only means America is getting stronger and better, and people are returning to conservative values and that’s what I am for,” she went on to say.
Under different circumstances, we would call this a serious detraction from Boebert’s viability as a challenger to the uninspiring but durable incumbent GOP Rep. Scott Tipton. But as the Washington Post pointed out earlier this month, endorsing the far-fetched “QAnon” narrative of a secret war against global socialist pedophilia rings waged by Trump and not-dead JFK Jr. is not a disqualifier for Republican candidates in 2020. In fact,
In May, Jo Rae Perkins won a Republican Senate primary in Oregon after saying she supports the conspiracy theory. And on Tuesday, Marjorie Taylor Greene made it to an August runoff in a competitive Republican congressional primary in northwest Georgia. Greene is now a pretty sure bet to make it to Congress: She beat her runoff opponent by 20 points in the primary, and the district is a safe Republican one.
Experts on conspiracy theories and political psychology warned about reading too much into these wins. “Two is not a trend,” said Joseph Uscinski at the University of Miami, who has written a book about why people believe in conspiracy theories.
He said there is probably more we can take away from the roughly 50 QAnon supporters who are running for Congress this year. Their campaigns suggest adherents of a fringe theory feel emboldened to come out of the shadows under Trump.
Because Republicans from the President on down have either endorsed this fictional conspiracy theory or at least neglected to debunk it in consideration of the voters it motivates, we’re now in a situation where it’s almost certain that QAnon believers will be serving in Congress in 2021. Presumably, they’ll figure out that QAnon is fiction once they get to Washington. But it’s another sign of how the Republican Party has fallen victim to what was once the irrational fringe.
If Boebert manages to oust Rep. Tipton in next Tuesday’s primary, and then get through the general election in a district that admittedly hasn’t elected a Democrat in a decade, it looks like she would have some QAnon-believing company in Congress. A “QAnon Caucus,” if you will! And while certain murky corners of the internet will feel tremendously validated by all these congressional candidates paying them lip service, psychologically well-adjusted Republicans can’t be happy about this prospect.
They’ll probably keep it to themselves though, lest they join “the pedos” too.