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Right Wing Watch: The Week’s Weirdest Moments on the Extreme Right: QAnon Dangers, Trump Superfan MMA Fighter, Steve Bannon’s Campaign Reappearance

Oct. 29, 2020

Right Wing Watch: The Week’s Weirdest Moments on the Extreme Right: QAnon Dangers, Trump Superfan MMA Fighter, Steve Bannon’s Campaign Reappearance



Former White House adviser Steve Bannon, out on bail following his indictment on wire fraud charges, made a virtual appearance earlier this month at the Rod of Iron Freedom Festival​ in Pennsylvania. The Rod of Iron rally ​was organized by two sons of the late Sun Myung Moon, a messianic Korean religious leader who founded and bankrolled the right-wing Washington Times newspaper. Bannon delivered a message seemingly meant to incite the several thousand attendees:

“What the left intends to do — and you’re seeing it in Pennsylvania right now — [is] use the courts, use social media, use the mainstream to make sure Trump is not declared the winner that night,” Bannon told the crowd. He said falsely that “uncertifiable” mail-in ballots would be used to “steal the presidency” away from the president. “Look we’re going to win this thing,” he said. “Pennsylvania is the key that picks the lock for a second Trump term.”


Rod of Iron Ministries offers training to “equip 2nd Amendment Christians with the tools and training that enable Patriots to grow closer to God while defending America’s founding principles.” The two brothers happen to own a gun manufacturer.

Fight club

Former UFC fighter Tito Ortiz is basing his bid for elected office in Huntington Beach, Calif., on who he knows. Ortiz’s relationship with the incumbent president dates back to 2001, when the UFC held two consecutive events at the Trump Taj Mahal casino. At the time, the UFC had been relegated to small venues in states like Mississippi after then-Arizona senator John McCain referred to MMA as “human cockfighting.” The comment tarnished the UFC’s reputation and its ability to promote events across the United States. Trump took a chance on the UFC and allowed the promoters to host shows at his casino.

Ortiz was one of the biggest stars the UFC had at the time. He headlined one of the shows at the Trump Taj Mahal and won his fight in 30 seconds. Since then, he has been pictured with Trump on numerous occasions over the years and even appeared as a contestant on “Celebrity Apprentice,” hosted by Trump.

A native of Huntington Beach, Ortiz was roused to enter politics following a wave of Black Lives Matter protests that took place in the town in May and June 2020, which he attended with a group of locals under the guise of “maintaining the peace.” Taking inspiration from Trump—a fellow businessman who lacked any political qualifications prior to running for office—Ortiz decided to run for Huntington Beach City Council. “I’ll give a lot of credit to Donald Trump because he’s not a politician. He’s a businessman who had a business strategy to make America great,” Ortiz told ABC7.


A recent poll from Yahoo News/You Gov finds that half of the incumbent president’s supporters among registered voters believe in the patently absurd QAnon conspiracy theory. It’s rather convoluted, but the basics are these: The theorists claim that the president is secretly battling a hidden cabal of Satanic Democrats and Hollywood figures who are ostensibly running a pedophile ring, and that a moment is coming when there will be mass arrests and executions of those smeared as members of the phantasmagoric cabal.

The fallout from QAnon is likely to be felt during the 2020 election and long afterward. A series of bogus claims dumped into an internet cesspool has started a movement that will soon have representation in the U.S. Congress.

Whether Trump wins or loses, our political system now must contend with the fact that a considerable number of people in the country who believe that a Satanic cabal of pedophiles is running the government and a GOP that chooses more often than not to look the other way as this corrosive movement takes root in its base.

Right Wing Watch is a Project of People for the American Way.


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