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Photo: Joseph Prezioso / AFP via Getty Images

The online far right is about to face a cold reality it long denied was a possibility: the post-Trump era.

What's happening: Fringe-right internet users are broadly poised to enter the Biden era in one of three states: Denial, disenchantment or determination to use the moment to their advantage.

Catch up quick: Since the election, the idea that Trump would, any day now, reveal evidence of a massive voter fraud conspiracy and somehow nullify the election has grown increasingly mainstream on the right — especially among believers in the QAnon conspiracy theory.

  • That belief led directly to the Capitol siege. Now, a great many people primed for that moment are about to watch Joe Biden take the oath of office.

Here's where the different groups stand:

The true believers: Many people still believe Trump is about to impose martial law, blacking out communications and media networks and seizing control of the airwaves via the emergency broadcast system.

  • Some people are taking to ham radio and other alternative communications networks to ensure they can stay in touch after the promised blackout, notes NBC News.

The disillusioned: Some have turned on Trump, angry that the president has attempted to distance himself from the Capitol riot.

  • The truly furious may be a small sliver of the broader right. Recent polling indicates that Trump's strong support among Republicans remains sturdy even in the wake of the Capitol siege.
  • But those frustrated that Trump didn't find a way to somehow stay in office are a larger group, and one about to grow larger when "The Storm" — QAnon's imagined moment when Trump would launch mass arrests of his political enemies and cement his hold on power — doesn't happen.

The opportunists: The most radical of the far-right fringe see a recruitment bonanza in the large body of people who will be left angry and aimless as Biden takes office.

  • Extremism researchers have watched pro-Trump Telegram channels and other forums become fertile territory for violent extremists like the Boogaloo movement, which wants to incite a second civil war, to pick up fresh followers.
  • There's a well-established radicalization pipeline on the far right that includes its own lingo. "Redpilling," for instance, borrowed from The Matrix, refers to opening people with mainstream views up to far-right perspectives.
  • "Blackpilling" is a step further, referring to induction into a nihilist worldview that holds violence as the only solution for defeating the left.

The bottom line: A spell will not be broken at noon. It's unclear what will happen to the many people who have found their places in pro-Trump internet communities that are still all-in on nullifying the election — and whether the transfer of power will tamp down on online extremism or drive people further into far-right online enclaves.

Go deeper

DHS warns of "heightened threat" because of domestic extremism

Supporters of former President Trump protest inside the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. Photo: Roberto Schmidt/AFP via Getty Images

The Department of Homeland Security on Wednesday issued an advisory warning of a "heightened threat environment" in the U.S. because of "ideologically-motivated violent extremists."

Why it matters: DHS believes the threat of violence will persist for "weeks" following President Biden's inauguration. The extremists include those who opposed the presidential transition, people spurred by "grievances fueled by false narratives" and "anger over COVID-19 restrictions ... and police use of force[.]"

Miriam Kramer, author of Space
8 hours ago - Science

China makes history with successful Mars landing

A model of the Tianwen-1 Mars rover is displayed during an exhibition at the National Museum of China in Beijing. Photo: Wang Zhao/AFP via Getty Images

A Chinese lander carrying a rover successfully touched down on Mars for the first time, state media reports.

Why it matters: This is the first time China has landed a spacecraft on another planet, and it launches the nation into an elite club of only a few space agencies to successfully make it to the Martian surface.

9 hours ago - World

UN: 10,000 Palestinians displaced in Gaza as Israel-Hamas fighting escalates

A Palestinian woman walks after she collects her belongings inside her damaged house following an Israeli air in the northern Gaza Strip. Photo: Ahmed Zakot/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

The United Nations warned Friday that ongoing fighting between Israel and Hamas "has the potential to unleash an uncontainable security and humanitarian crisis," in not only the occupied Palestinian territories and Israel, but "the region as a whole."

The big picture: More than 125 Palestinians, including 31 children have been killed in Gaza since fighting began Monday, per the Palestinian Ministry of Health. Eight people, including two children, have been killed in Israel, Reuters reported, citing Israeli authorities.

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