The assorted white supremacists, militant Christians, and Q Anon adherents joined together in prayer in the just-evacuated U.S. Senate, after violently seizing the Capitol to disrupt the sealing of Donald Trump’s defeat. Political nihilists, aching to dismantle democracy for a new America cast in their image were praying not just to Jesus, but for the demise of our representative system of government.
Donald Trump’s presidency and its bloody conclusion was a picture of a democracy in peril. Broad swaths of the American electorate have rejected the democratic process, believing that elections and democratic governance are largely incompatible with their interests. Instead, more than 74 million Americans embraced an archetypal strongman leader who stood against democratic norms, pluralist culture, and truth itself. Many of these supporters cheered Trump’s efforts to overturn an election he decisively lost. Among these voters are ardent white nationalists, fanatical fundamentalist Christians, and men and women that feel themselves so culturally and economically excluded from the American democratic project that they would gladly see it burn.