Fringe candidates are nothing new to American politics. Everyone from comedians to rappers will throw their (red) hats into the ring, more for the spectacle and entertainment value than because they feel a deep pull to public service. But now a dangerous conspiracy theory that began on the Dark Web has broken into real politics. There are currently eighteen members of the Republican Party running for a variety of offices who identify as members of QAnon, and some of them have a very good chance of winning their races. Twitter has said it’s cracking down on QAnon accounts on the platform, although they have yet to take any action regarding any of those candidates, many of whom achieved Verified status merely because of their candidacy.
One of the non-Verified QAnon candidates, Katie Williams, is running for school board in Clark County, Nevada. A former Ms. Nevada who gave up her crown when forced to choose between it and her loyalty to Donald Trump, Williams is the mother of a young daughter, yet remains staunchly anti-mask while pushing to reopen the schools. Williams has shared violent imagery and racist opinions from her Twitter account and has claimed there will be a “mass shooting incident” right before Election Day. Despite being in flagrant violation of several Terms of Service, her account remains active.
I made a prediction about a mass shooting a few days ago.
I actually hope it doesn't happen, but I won't apologize for it.
Conservatives and Liberals need to understand that everything we see in the media has a pattern.
— Katie J. Williams (@realkatiejow) August 9, 2020
Another QAnon believer, Councilwoman Michele Fiore, is currently causing a stir with her racist remarks targeted the local NAACP chapter President. Fiore, who had to step down as Mayor Pro-Temp due to other racially inflammatory remarks, has also been widely criticized for her using her anti-mask stance as a publicity stunt. Fiore referred to Roxann McCoy of the Las Vegas NAACP as a “woman of zero integrity.” McCoy responded by writing to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, demanding Fiore be removed as a board member.
Fiore took to the Las Vegas radio airwaves and accused McCoy of having “a criminal mind.” Fiore doubled down by saying, “And she is the president of the NAACP? That does not give me much faith in that organization.”
Despite losing the Mayor Pro-Temp position due to her racist statements, one of Fiore’s biggest supporters is the Mayor of Las Vegas, Carolyn Goodman. Goodman had taken a medical leave of absence during her third and final term as Mayor, which was revealed to be a recovery from cancer surgery.
While not a confirmed believer in the Q conspiracy theories and registered as an Independent, Goodman leans extremely to the right. She recently had a contentious interview with Anderson Cooper regarding the coronavirus and her apparent willingness to let her city be used as a “control group” for removing social distancing measures.