Almost two years into the Trump Administration the MAGA “language” has been an invitation for some of those “nice people” on the other side to say out in the open, that which might have only been said in private. Trump’s solid 35% clearly includes some strange bedfellows. Earlier this week, a Nazi Flag openly flew in a public park. Incidents of hate crimes, or those characterized as being inspired by racial or religious hate tripled the day after the 2016 election.
While hate crimes typically increase immediately after an election, the number tends to flatten shortly after. 2016 yielded a more disturbing trend, with reports of these incidents spiking for approximately ten days after the election. Social media sites such as Instagram and Facebook have allowed neo-Nazi and white supremacist groups to openly sell their hate-inspired merchandise, most likely due to an inability to weed out and identify these extremist groups. The groups typically fly under the radarn by using symbols that deviate slightly from known extremist symbols.
Trump’s rally this week showed the somewhat vague group known as QAnon. While this may have been new to most of us watching the recap of the rally on cable news, a quick search on Amazon yielded thousands of results. Clearly, QAnon is not a new concept to everyone. The origin of the right-wing conspiracy group is the message site 4Chan. It is based on a member, named Q, who claims to be a member of military intelligence, but whose identity cannot be determined even within the group, and who has taken on almost superhero qualities. The support for Trump is clear within that group, and seemingly all other right-wing fringe groups.
The danger, aside from Donald Trump thinking that there are good people “on both sides,” is when and if these groups move from words to actions. We do not know if they will turn out on any election day, but their true danger may be the game-like environment existing in some of these groups. Q is known for leaving clues or “breadcrumbs” on their social sites. One such situation occurred when Michael Avenatti tweeted and called police to investigate a man outside of his office, after the anti-Trump lawyer’s office location appeared in an online post.