It's good that Republicans are attacking Jackson. QAnon is happy about it Democrats are seeing a signal, and they want to know what it is.
In the wake of the case of Ketanji Brown Jackson, Republicans were critical of the judge's sentencing decisions. This sparked new debate about the party's policy on Qanon.
As soon as Sen. Josh Hawley tweeted that Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, the Biden administration's Supreme Court nominee, had given sentences below the minimum recommended by federal guidelines for possessing images of child sexual abuse, people who believe in the QAnon conspiracy theory took to the Internet to voice their displeasure.
Zak Paine, a supporter of the QAnon conspiracy, said in a video the next day that Democrats had been "elevating pedophiles and people who can change the laws about punishment for pedophiles." He didn't provide any proof.
During her third appearance before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, Republicans kept saying that she was soft on people who were charged with having illegal images.
Everyone who is a judge is making it easier for people to abuse kids, Lindsey Graham, a Republican senator from South Carolina who was picking up on the line of attack.
In the conservative National Review, a former federal prosecutor called the allegations "meritless to the point of demagoguery." The National Review is a conservative magazine. The sentences did not come up during Judge Jackson's confirmation hearing last year to a federal appeals court, and other judicial nominees have not been asked about similar sentencing decisions.
The Republican Party's stance on QAnon has been the subject of a new debate after the line of attack was used. In a statement this week, a White House spokesman said that Hawley was "embarrassing QAnon signaling smear." When the Biden administration used the idea of QAnon to get Democrats excited, conservatives said that was wrong. They said that the administration didn't talk about the real issues.
"Left Calls QAnon." The right-wing website Breitbart ran a headline that said, "Ketanji Brown Jackson's soft record on child sex offenders was exposed by Josh Hawley." This was widely shared in QAnon circles this week.
A spokesman for Senator Hawley wouldn't say why he did what he did.
People who follow the conspiracy theory didn't seem to pay much attention to Judge Jackson's sentencing record before Senator Hawley tweeted about it. Her judicial career had touched the roots of the conspiracy theory: an earlier internet myth called Pizzagate.
An old theory said that Satan-worshiping Democrats were taking children from a DC restaurant's basement and selling them to other people. A believer with an assault rifle stormed in and fired his weapon in 2017. Judge Jackson, who was a district court judge at the time, sentenced him to four years in prison because his actions had "wrecked his mental health."
Later, an anonymous person who used the pseudonym Q wrote more about the myth that a group of top Democrats were abusing children. The QAnon conspiracy theory was born a few months after that. One person named Q said that President Trump was fighting the cabal in a secret war. Q said that Trump had hired a top official who was close to him.
QAnon supporters used catchphrases like "protecting the children" to identify each other, and their bizarre fantasy, which was first encouraged by far-right news outlets, then spread through a group of social media influencers, seemed to be a big hit with Trump supporters. Prosecutors say that many people who were involved in the attack on the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, thought that QAnon was true. At least two Republican lawmakers who were elected in 2020 made statements in support of QAnon.
It turns out that Ron Watkins, a former website administrator who is widely thought to have written the anonymous Q posts, is one of those now saying the same thing. Mr. Watkins, who has said that he did not send the Q messages, is running for the Republican nomination for an Arizona congressional seat. This week, he qualified for the ballot, which means that he will be on the ballot.
In a post on social media on Wednesday, Mr. Watkins said that "Judge Jackson is a pedophile's enabler." It's also bad for any senator who votes to let her get the job.
QAnon's Telegram channels became more and more angry on Wednesday. "She has done unthinkable things to people with her judgeship," one person said. As long as she is confirmed, the people who were harmed by her will still be victims and will be stuck in the misery that has been given to them. Some people talked about getting hurt.
Polls show that QAnon supporters have stayed a big part of the Republican Party even after President Trump left office, which was against Q's predictions. Some 60% of Trump supporters had heard of QAnon, and 3 out of 10 of them thought it was good.
Poll: But Democrats were far more likely to say they had heard a lot about Qanon and also overwhelmingly rejected it. Other polls taken after the attack on the Capitol showed far more people were angry. Democrats, on the other hand, could benefit politically from linking the name "QAnon" to Republicans who question a Supreme Court nominee, polls show. Individual Republicans, on the other hand, could benefit by signaling to QAnon supporters without explicitly naming the movement.
The associate professor at Montclair State University who has studied QAnon said that "you wouldn't talk about the extreme things, but you would talk about how people in power are letting traffickers get away with it," he said. In this case, "That is a secret handshake for the Q crowd."
Other conservative commentators have said that accusations that politicians or judges are soft on crime or soft on sex crime have long resonated with voters, even if they don't have a connection to QAnon.
Some other people on the right have also said that Democrats are using their own dog whistles, like when they nominated a Supreme Court justice who is a practicing Catholic to an appeals court. Democrats Dianne Feinstein, from California, told the judge that "the dogma lives loudly in you." Many conservatives say they heard an appeal to anti-Catholic or religious bigotry hidden in plain sight.
He says that party elders know that the Senate math makes it very likely that the person will be confirmed, so they don't want to waste time with mudslinging that could turn off moderate voters. In this case, he says, he used the name "QAnon" to make the point.
"But I learned the hard way that there are always people in the caucus, especially those who might be thinking about running for president, who want to throw some red meat to the base." "They just can't help it."