QAnon Conspiracist Republican Senate Nominee from Oregon
Jo Rae Perkins may be a nut, but she won a four-person primary.
WaPo (“Believer in QAnon conspiracy theory wins Republican Senate nomination in Oregon“):
Oregon Republicans on Tuesday elected a Senate nominee who believes in QAnon, the baseless conspiracy theory that has taken root among some far-right supporters of President Trump.
Jo Rae Perkins bested three other candidates to win the GOP nomination to face Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) in November.
In a now-deleted video posted to her Twitter account Tuesday night, Perkins said she supports the conspiracy theory, which revolves around “Q,” an anonymous Internet user claiming to be a government agent with top security clearance.
“Where we go one, we go all,” Perkins said in the video, reciting a QAnon slogan. “I stand with President Trump. I stand with Q and the team. Thank you Anons, and thank you patriots. And together, we can save our republic.”
In a statement Wednesday night, Perkins backtracked slightly from her comments, saying that she does not fully embrace QAnon.
“To be very clear, I do not believe everything from Q/Anon and would never describe myself as a follower, but I also do not believe in infringing upon any outlet’s right to discuss news or topics,” Perkins said.
She added: “My slogan, For One Oregon, has nothing to do with conspiracy theories or media bias, but rather, has long been my commitment to being a civil servant for all of Oregon, not just some as has been the case under Jeff Merkley’s tenure.”
Merkley is heavily favored to win in November, but Perkins’s primary victory nonetheless presents a dilemma for Republicans in Washington.
Sen. Todd C. Young (R-Ind.), chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, said he would need to learn more about Perkins but that the organization generally gives its backing to GOP candidates.
For those only tangentially familiar with Q/Anon, a YahooNews explainer:
QAnon is a theory built around belief in an international conspiracy of high-ranking government officials to kidnap, abuse, torture and kill children — the delusion under which an armed North Carolina man attempted a rescue mission at a Washington pizzeria in 2016, the baseless Pizzagate conspiracy seen as a precursor to QAnon. President Trump, in the Q worldview, is working behind the scenes to expose and disrupt this conspiracy but has been thwarted by “deep-state” bureaucrats and global elites. The narrative is fed by cryptic posts on internet message boards from the anonymous “Q,” who followers believe to be a high-ranking intelligence official, or possibly even Trump himself. Popular YouTube and social media pages promulgate and analyze Q’s vague messages, turning the obsession into something of a game for many followers.
Trump has retweeted accounts that promote QAnon, and his rallies have had plenty of attendees sporting Q-related apparel and signs. Last year, Yahoo News reported that an FBI document had identified QAnon as one of the “conspiracy theory-driven domestic extremists” that were potential terrorist threats.
“The FBI assesses these conspiracy theories very likely will emerge, spread, and evolve in the modern information marketplace, occasionally driving both groups and individual extremists to carry out criminal or violent acts,” the document states. It also goes on to say the FBI believes conspiracy-theory-driven extremists are likely to increase during the 2020 presidential election cycle.
As to Perkins, the same story tells us,
Perkins is the former Republican chairwoman in Linn County, located just south of the capital city, Salem, and had run in prior Republican primaries in 2014 (U.S. Senate), 2016 and 2018 (the state’s Fourth Congressional District). She was originally running for the House seat again in 2020 but withdrew to enter the Senate race. As of the latest results, Perkins had earned just short of 50 percent of the vote in the four-candidate race. The runner-up was former naval officer Paul Romero, who reached 30 percent.
The lede to the WaPo piece makes it sound like the tweets and video were her coming out party on the Q stuff. But not so much:
Perkins has made her support of QAnon a central plank of her campaign, telling Right Wing Watch in a January interview, “It’s a very highly calculated risk that I’m taking. Most people play it a lot safer than I do. It’s either pure genius or pure insanity. It’s one of the two. The voters are going to have to be the ones that make that decision.”
“I think that there’s probably a lot of us out there, but I just happen to be bold enough to say, ‘Hey, I’m following Q because I want to know, because if the Q team is real, I want to know about it,'” Perkins added in the same interview, in which she compared believing in Q to believing in Jesus Christ, as a matter of faith that transcends proof.
“Q is most likely military intelligence,” suggested Perkins in the interview, “and they’ve been out there watching what’s been going on with our country for decades and they are partnered with President Trump to stop the corruption and to save our republic.”
I’m honestly not sure what to make of this. To say I don’t follow Oregon politics closely is an understatement but it’s certainly a deep blue state. One imagines it’s difficult to get quality candidates to run as sacrificial lambs in the Republican primary.
It follows, then, that people don’t take voting in the Republican primary all that seriously. So it’s possible that this is more a lark than a reflection of true Republican sentiment in the Beaver State.
Jo Rae Perkins may be a nut, but she won a four-person primary.
As of the latest results, Perkins had earned just short of 50 percent of the vote in the four-candidate race.
And you’re not sure what to make of it? You think “it’s possible that this is more a lark than a reflection of true Republican sentiment in the Beaver State” ? C’mon James, you know exactly what it means, tho for some reason or other you are reluctant to say/write the words. Today’s GOP is around the bend batshit crazy.
After all, isn’t that why you left it?
And here I am going to borrow Jim Wright’s Emergency Not All
@OzarkHillbilly: Edit function locked up:
eta As in. “not all Republicans,” just the ones still in the party.
I believe JFK Jr. plays a seminal part in the QAnon universe as well, does he not? The theory being that he faked his own death 21 years ago and has come out of hiding (or whatever) in order to assist Trump in the latter’s quest to eliminate cannibalistic child molesters.
And all in all she is an above average Republican candidate in this cycle. At least she seems to believe in something….
The Atlantic: the Prophecies of Q
I have a long-standing theory that it’s the death of God that drives all this. If He isn’t up there pulling the strings then it must be shadowy forces here below. Such belief restores meaning to life. Striving to unmask gives purpose, but actually unmasking can only result in disappointment.
There’s no doubt that the lunatic fringe is less of a fringe than it once was. But do I think 50% of Oregon Republicans are batshit crazy QAnon supporters? Nope.
I spend essentially no time on Fox News, Breitbart, and the like and none at all on the variously numbered chan sites. So I’m only tangentially aware of the whole Q thing, mostly because of the pizzagate shooting incident some time back. But I’m doubtful that it’s now the mainstream view of even diehard Trumpists. I’ve seen zero mention of it on my Facebook feed, for instance, and there are a lot of people who repeat Fox News and Tyler Durden talking points in it.
According to polls in Feb & March, most Americans have never heard of QAnon. For what it’s worth.
@James Joyner: FWIW, at various times I’ve spent a lot of time with people outside of my box and I agree with you. Most people don’t have views on almost all of the things we passionately debate here. They hear some things, hear some other things, kinda remember something like that. They are just not that invested and don’t see that their getting to the bottom of these things is necessary or important.
I’m pretty sure that a QAnon believer is crazy in more than one specific way. And GOP primary voters still picked her.
Maybe the voters didn’t recognize what she was saying, but they must have liked it nonetheless.
What about almost 50% of Oregon Republican primary voters?
Because there is this evidence that says they are willing to vote for a “batshit crazy QAnon supporter” as their preferred candidate…
When people tell you who they are, believe them.
What does it mean? It means people would rather accept elaborate, unproveable BS then admit Trump (and possibly they) are a waste of air. Even their own “logic” renders him a monster; they believe he’s after a bunch of child-traffickers and slavers as part of his MAGA. He’s supposed to be arresting people like Hillary and Obama and freeing the children (the Central Park “hospital” was supposed to be a rescue). Well, they claim secret arrests are happening and children are being rescued…… but not released. Notice no one is claiming the rescued children are being released back to their families or out into the public. The kids are theoretically still being held somewhere, this time by “friendlies” though. They aren’t even claiming the abuse has stopped – only that the “evil” people aren’t able to abuse them anymore.
So that means to them Trump’s more interested in arresting their enemies then giving children freedom and they’re OK with kids in cages so long as it’s Donald doing it, not someone else. Tracks pretty closely with the official GOP sentiment, doesn’t it? No wonder they embrace it – it’s Cult45 but even more extra. QAnon is like someone taking Mormon mythology and spinning it in to Battlestar Galactica backstory – repackage something odd in even more outlandish and bizarre trappings to help hide the flaws, then mutate it further with “twists” to keep their interest.
Q’s going to turn out to be the world’s first experiment in crowd-sourced self-trolling. It’s also helping prove just how many of our fellow American are a few fries short of a Happy Meal.
I’ll give you this James, but if 50% of Republicans aren’t batshit crazy QAnon supporters, what are they? Ignorant of this person they voted for? Just too lazy to figure it out? Remember “I am not a witch” Christine O’Donnell? Remember Sharron “2nd Amendment solutions” Angle? Devin Nunes? Louie Gohmert? Steve “cantaloupe calves” King? Michelle Bachman?
The list is endless. Batshit crazy doesn’t begin to cover it.
Gotta serve somebody.
YHWH, CEOs, the market. All of them capricious, all powerful, and never completely knowable. Service to them is said to be the key to freedom.
@James Joyner: And let’s not forget trump, who now owns the GOP.
@OzarkHillbilly: “Batshit crazy doesn’t begin to cover it.”
Some of them are probably crazy. Where does that leave the other ones who voted for this psychopath? I’d love to find an alternative to evil, but I can’t come up with anything.
@wr: My thinking is, evil or not they are batshit crazy. They are standing knee deep in a pool of gasoline, and they vote for the arsonist thinking somehow, someway, they won’t get burned.
You don’t need a majority to have influence.
A few years back, around the time when momentum for recognizing same-sex marriage was building up, there was a study much commented on tot he effect that a tipping point begins around the time 10% of people in a given group or population get behind an idea or policy.
This is not when things change, but when things begin to change. Aslo one must be weary of social science studies, as replication seems like a distant ideal rather than regular practice. But it makes sense.
10% seems like small minority, but that’s around the point where you begin to run into people who espouse an idea or back a policy. In turn this gives such ideas or policies a sense of being more popular than they are, and more people are open to them. And it builds up from there.
Now, if around 10% of Republicans believe such idiot, malicious nonsense, then the Republican party is well and truly done for, at least as a rational actor.
@James Joyner: I think of how many people I used to respect in blue state Washington who not only support Trump, but proudly proclaim how godly and righteous he is. Since there is nothing in Trump’s public behavior that can remotely be called godly or righteous, I wonder how many of them believe that behind the scenes he is fighting to rescue kids kidnapped by pedophiles and cannibals. They might believe the general outlines of the Q story, even if they haven’t gone down the rabbit hole.
@Teve: Great article, but it is long. For anyone not willing to devote an hour to it, here are what I considered the highlights:
Per Oregon Secretary of State web site, 165,857 Oregon registered Republicans voted for candidate Perkins.
“I stand with President Trump. I stand with Q and the team…”
“To be very clear, I do not believe everything from Q/Anon and would never describe myself as a follower,..”
Does she or doesn’t she?
Only a Beaver knows for sure!
@Kit: “No good movie is ever too long, and no bad movie is ever too short.”
Is Jo Rae Perkins any worse than Trump on the batshit crazy scale? He was the most prominent birther.
Oregon is not much different from the 2016 EC map–rural areas are further Right than the cities are Left.
It’s worth pointing out Oregon’s history as a state established as Whites only.
I suspect that hardcore racism is typically something that gets passed down generation to generation within families and social groups. People like Stephen Miller–disowned by his family because of his views–are relatively rare.
Also, recall the state lawmaker who went into hiding to deny the legislature a quorum, and threatened violence if state LEO attempted to bring him back.
It may be deep blue in terms of statewide races, but the red areas may as well be Mississippi.
I just couldn’t resist.
@Kurtz: Yes, it seems like every state follows that pattern. Here in New Mexico, it’s basically the same. The rural parts, especially in the southern part of the state, are apparently very wing-nutty. We’re being treated to constant political ads on TV that proclaim their love for Trump and The Wall. One R is even attacking another for being anti-Trump at some point. It’s all very gross.
I remember that. 10% is the visibility penetration point, where exposure and representation start show some results. There’s a reason we still use the word decimation because when 1 out of 10 men die in front of you, it leaves an impression even if 90% walk away alive.
Let’s say you’re at a party of 50 people and 5 of them start telling you the sky is orange. You will naturally wonder WTF and assume they’re either referring to a pretty sunset or are on something. But the idea “sky = orange” made it into your brain and was valid enough for you to try and figure out why they said what they said. Even if it gets immediately dismissed as nonsense, you’ve heard it, thought about and can now speak on it should someone else ask WTF Jack in the back is rambling on about. “Sky=orange” gets spread as “can you believe that guy?” but the idea now has currency. It’s jumped to the mainstream and once there, it’s a problem.
MAGAts, covidiots and their ilk aren’t going to magically disappear or become sane again once Trump is gone. The malicious nonsense they’ve festered like fake news is going to linger for generations and they’re going to have to deal with a base that’s gotten a taste of Florida Man as POTUS…. and found they love it. The GOP as a party cannot shove them back in the trailers or demand they speak in coded language again. The alt-right *IS* the right and always has been; they’ve just been good at offering plausible deniability for folks who liked the cover story/ policies and were willing to tolerate the BS that went with it.
Since QAnon became widely known, I’ve batted around different ideas for who may be behind it.
Foreign intelligence service.
Domestic intelligence service.
J. Edgar Hoover.
Wild Bill Donovan
I could believe it was a fictional character or a dead real person, and still not reach the level of delusion it requires to believe in QAnon.
Perkins would have been a fringe nut job back in the day when Republicans believed in facts and truth. These conspiracy theorists don’t hold together too well when exposed to the glare of the media, even the media that leans conservative. The public gets the idea that they are dangerous and would rather vote for a Democrat than a kook.
I tend to agree with you, Oz, but I think JJ has to play it cool because of his professorship at the CSC. I’m willing to give him latitude in his expression, because I’m sure he doesn’t want to start off his classes by answering why he called any of these loons batshyt crazy. Maybe we should start reading between the lines of J’s posts, bearing in mind his professional position.
That’s exactly right, MM. I get exercised over this stuff, but my friends are like, meh. They’re still in the Patrol, though, so they don’t have the time I do (being retired, and all) to parse through this shite. Honestly, I doubt they would if they did have the time.
It follows a pattern you see in other states like Illinois and New York, where if you look at the county-by-county electoral map you see a lot more red than blue, since the state’s area is dominated by sparsely populated counties that are strongly Republican, and it is “solidly blue” entirely due to a few urban centers. Sort of like the Florida Panhandle is essentially South Alabama, the majority of Oregon’s and Washington’s area is essentially West Idaho. In fact, in every election going back to 2000, this is what Oregon east of Wasco County has consistently looked like. (And even Wasco county only went Democrat once during this period, in 2008.) This is what leads to the odd situation where the vast majority of counties in the US are strongly Republican–the basis of the map Trump loves to show in which the country appears visually to be a giant sea of red with tiny dots of blue. It’s just that those dots are where most of the people are located.
While Oregon hasn’t voted Republican in a presidential election since 1984, it was still fairly competitive until 2008. Gore won it by less than half a percent (in part due to Nader), Kerry by just 4.2 points. It’s been in the double digits ever since. Neighboring Washington showed a similar pattern.
I think it must come as a surprise for JJ that half of his former political cohorts are freaking insane /snark
@OzarkHillbilly: Nonsense! This is all because of Trump becoming the face of the GOP against the will of all of the good Republicans out there. When he’s gone, everything will be okay, Dorothy will click her heels and say “there’s no place like home,” and we’ll all wake up back in Kansas surrounded by Auntie Em and all of Dorothy’s other loved ones. The long nightmare will be over. All will be well again.
More seriously, Oregon Republicans have been whack for a looooooooong time, and they aren’t getting any better, either. Still, even I didn’t expect this.
In the past, I might have agreed with you, but in the present time, half of Oregon Republicans being QAnon whack jobs may be about right. It’s part of why Oregon is as blue as it is.
“… just how many of our fellow American are a
few friesburger and a toy short of a Happy Meal.”
@DeD: Good point. I never think in those terms, but then again, I never had tenure and was okay about being somewhat of an “acquired taste” during my teaching career.
@Mister Bluster: She only changed to that tune this morning, since she has to pivot for the general.
One of the things that would keep me from ever becoming a registered Republican, no matter how much they may change over the coming decades, is just how thoroughly I associate the label “Republican” with blatant, insult-my-intelligence, lying. They lie about everything all the time without shame or regret. “We are only concerned about the woman’s health”, “We are only preventing fraud”, “We don’t tolerate racists in the party”, and on and on and on. It literally* gives me a physical sense of disgust.
*Literally literally, not figuratively literally
So what you are saying is that JJ is hiding clues in his posts and tweets and we have to get a huge nationwide group together to endlessly analyze his real intent?
Literally, like the word conservative, needs a good time out for the next generation or so.
@MarkedMan: I’m with you. I shared recently that until the Obama years, I was a left-leaning independent, who occasionally voted for Republicans. That changed in 2008.
I recall one incident, where the president of the Young Republicans Club sent out an email to all the members that included a racist joke about Obama. When two members of the Young Republicans (one an African-American man, the other a woman) protested, they were kicked out (I wonder if they remained Republicans?). The person who sent the joke remained a member in good standing, and kept their leadership position. That was one of many incidences that led me to change my affiliation to Democrat, and no longer trust Republicans.
Another sparkling example of decentralized parties in the US and the problems associated with primaries as nomination processes. The party does not define itself, but is defined by whomever can win the primary.
I have considered that there are times where he is trying to be diplomatic, but I respect James enough to assume he is saying exactly what he means, because otherwise, why say it at all? If a subject is too touchy to discuss honestly, maybe one shouldn’t bring it up to begin with?
Besides, there are times when he says things that make me think he’s not just wearing blinders, but a damned blindfold. This is one of those times. As @SKI: said above, “When people tell you who they are, believe them.”
Obviously. Noticing racism is playing the race card. So Divisive.
Yep, I began moving away from Republican affiliation in 2006. That’s when I began to notice the subtle racism turn not-so subtle at townhalldotcom. By the time Obama came on the scene, I was done. Honestly, I was voting for McCain until … well, you know.
I agree, and I do. I think something similar affects @Steven Taylor, and I don’t fault either of them. This blog is not how they pay their bills. Other than me I believe they’re the only people here using real names from positions where retaliation is possible. I think they’re both showing some courage in keeping this place alive, and showing integrity in allowing a free exchange of views here.
As much of a loudmouth as I am, I’d note that until recently I earned most of my income from Harper Collins which is owned by Rupert Murdoch. Do I keep that in mind? Yep. At the same time my wife has a movie coming out with Disney. Am I going to launch into an attack on Disney? No, I am not. We also have dealings with Netflix, and I won’t be dumping on Netflix, either. I would never lie or shade an opinion, but I don’t go out of my way to take shots at people who have my future money in their pockets.
@Michael Reynolds: A while back Vox did an article about liberal celebrities who work within the Fox umbrella, but still publicly attack Fox News.
Can’t really argue with you there. I’ve had my own “C’mon James” moments. I found OTB when Frum closed his blog, and watched James’ political evolution as did everyone else. I had blinders on, too, as a Republican, until THEY started coming out of the woodwork. It was easier for me to renounce the party, since shyt was getting personal, you know? I don’t expect J to completely renounce his core ideals at a snap.
OT: I’ve been away for a bit. What’s the news on Doug?
@DeD: Has not reappeared here but there are reports of his good health. And it’s probably a good moment to wish him wellness and happiness.
Okay, thank you for that update. I most certainly do wish him well, and hope all’s good with him.
Unlike Seth McFarlane and Judd Apatow, I am not in an invulnerable position, and it’s also not my right to screw my wife’s career.
@DeD: I miss Doug, too, I suspect we’d have had a post about the SC not releasing Mueller’s grand jury testimony to the House today if he were around!
I think too lazy to figure it out, together with too apathetic to care, cover it. According to one of the posts in this thread 166,000 Republicans voted for her. Googling gives 750,00 registered Republicans, over half of which didn’t bother to vote in the primary — didn’t care or too lazy would fit that nicely.
Its the perfect way to elect someone who is bat sh*t crazy, or insanely narcistic (ie Trump). Get the minority who care enough to get involved on board, and most of the others will vote for the team without spending even ten minutes reading up on it. In fact, you can make a good argument that politics is intentionally boring for this exact reason — if people got interested they’d start to think before voting, maybe even go as far as to read up on what the candidates say. I doubt many politicians, and especially not Republican ones, would like that.
You see, here’s the deal: I don’t expect James to renounce his core ideals anymore than I think I would. However… I do expect him to renounce the party that no longer represents those ideals.
And he has.
My complaint is that he still makes excuses for certain members of that party, like he does here, saying, “Oh they don’t all believe that stuff.”
I’m only saying, I don’t care if they believe it or not. Come the general election, if they friggin’ VOTE for it? Fuck ’em.
I’m a partisan capital D, but if I come across one who betrays the ideals I believe in, I will hang them high (goodbye and good riddance Steve Stenger).
Remember that 27% Crazification Factor? The informal ‘rule’ in politics that 27% of voters will support crazy candidates or, inexplicable bullsh** ballot propositions.
Well, if you generally accept that ‘rule’ and I do, then it seems to me that currently at least 90% of that 27% falls to Republicans. That means that 24% of ‘Crazification’ goes to the GOP, or about 50 to 60 percent of the Republican vote is ‘out there’ Crazification.
That sounds close, at least if we assume that Oregon is less crazy than a lot of states (no West Coast bias here). In the Oregon primary, about 60% of registered Republicans didn’t vote at all (the lazy or don’t care about politics enough to bother majority), 20% voted for QAnon level crazy, 20% voted for lower levels of crazy (I don’t know anything about the other candidates).
20% of registered R’s voting for bat sh*t crazy is less than the 50-60% you’re talking about, but Oregon is probably only half as crazy as many of the states.