Over the past few days, a video from former president Donald Trump’s most recent rally in Michigan went viral. The clipwhich now has more than 2.5 million views just on Twitter, features a woman decked out in American flag gear sharing her thoughts about how the 2020 presidential election was stolen from Trump. (It was not.)
“The election, I believe, was stolen, but we know that,” the Trump supporter began. “Space Force has it all. Trump has all the information.”
Her specifics regarding the U.S. Space Force even caught the interviewer with the vehemently pro-Trump outlet, Right Side Broadcasting Network, by surprise.
“The night of the election, [the Space Force] literally watched the election be stolen,” she explained, before going into a slew of other election conspiracy theories that end with the U.S. Space Force overturning the election results and Joe Biden’s presidency.
Exactly what information the Space Force supposedly has is anyone’s guess, but if we look back at the recent history of QAnon (Oh yes, it very much still exists), we can see that its followers are still breathing new life into some aging conspiracy theories, like this now-viral Space Force concept. Meanwhile, Trump himself, who has intimated that he will be running for president once again in 2024, is still spreading the Big Lie about a stolen election, and thus adding fuel to the QAnon fire.
QAnon is, briefly, a right-wing conspiracy theory that claims Trump has been secretly working to takedown a global Satanic cabal of cannibalistic child sex traffickers, who also happen to be his political enemies. By now, many have likely heard about the QAnon-fueled conspiracy theories involving the “real” ballots being secretly watermarked (they were not). Those same QAnon believers also say that the military will eventually take over, institute martial law, and stage tribunals of Trump’s enemies on live TV.
But the Space Force!? If that seems to be coming out of left field, you’re probably blissfully unaware that the Space Force has a large fanbase on the right, thanks to Trump turning the military’s space program into an independent branch of the armed services in 2019. In fact, this particular conspiracy has been floating since shortly after the presidential election in November 2020.
The sources of some of the more specific, niche QAnon beliefs like this one are hard to trace with precision from our vantage point here in 2022. Many videos that were published on YouTube have since been taken down as the platform cracked down on QAnon videos and other content that “targets an individual or group with conspiracy theories that have been used to justify real-world violence.” Same goes for many posts on Twitter and Facebook. One tweet discovered by Mashable recalled how the now-infamous QAnon Shaman was ranting about the Space Force as far back as November 2020 at a right-wing protest In Maricopa CountyArizona.
However, the Space Force theory really started to pick up and spread in early January 2021. In the days after the January 6 storming of the Capitol building, news broke (as in: real true news) that the Space Force would officially be designated as a member of the U.S. intelligence community. This move created a perfect storm for QAnon conspiracy theories.
At the time, a man by the name of Ezra Cohen-Watnick was a senior Trump intelligence official. For years, many QAnon followers believed that Cohen-Watnick was actually Q, the anonymous leader of the QAnon movement who claimed to be a high-ranking official within the Trump administration. While Cohen-Watnick denied these claims, the dovetailing of lore about the mythical Q, and lore about the Space Force gave way to the belief that the two entities were working in tandem to prove the 2020 election was fraudulent, and overturn it.
Then, a week later, Trump made the bizarre decision to move the U.S. Space Command headquarters from Colorado to Alabama.
Conspiracy theorists took this as further evidence that Trump was clearing the way to have the Space Force play a part in overturning Biden’s election before his inauguration on January 20. It should be noted that the U.S. Space Command is unrelated to the Space Force. Months later, in an August 2021 interview, Trump admitted that moving the U.S. Space Command was simply a political decision he made. It should be further noted that in that same interview, Trump also confused the U.S. Space Command with the Space Force.
For more than a year, Trump supporters have shared conspiracy theories claiming that the Space Force used satellites to monitor the 2020 election and capture proof of election fraud in real-time.
Videos about the Space Force and the 2020 election have amassed hundreds of thousands of views on the conservative video platform Rumble. Posts about the Space Force and election fraud on the group messaging service Telegram have received tens of thousands of views as well.
It’s been nearly a year and a half since the 2020 election, and more than a year since Joe Biden was inaugurated as president. Election fraud claims have been debunked. No hard evidence exists demonstrating that the 2020 election was stolen. Yet unfortunately, it seems that election fraud conspiracies like the one about the Space Force may very well go on forever – to infinity and beyond.