Publication Date



This Article is about the long arc of a Second Redemption. A
new life to the politics of racial grievance surfaced in the wake
of a diversifying polity, a decline of rural power, and a Black
man’s rise to the American presidency. And that reinvigorated
force was the linchpin of Donald Trump’s ascendency to power.
Trump was a part of a broader conservative governing
coalition, which held its center of gravity in rural, white
America. Leading members of that coalition feverishly eroded
democratic norms to entrench minoritarian power. They
justified their pernicious work by claiming to be the true heirs
to the American project and constructed a vision of citizenship
closely tethered to whiteness. To claim their inheritance,
conservative coalition leaders availed themselves of every
opportunity to delegitimize Black engagement in participatory
democracy—from voting rights to self-governance to public
demonstrations. This campaign was singularly focused on
standing athwart the United States’ coming of age as a truly
multiracial democracy.
This virulent strain of antidemocratic ideology fomented a
violent attempted coup on January 6, 2021, at the U.S. Capitol,
where members of Congress objected to the bona fide state
results from the 2020 presidential election. The objectors
proffered that their refusal to acknowledge President-Elect
Joseph Biden’s victory—which was made possible by a
multiracial coalition of voters—was borne out of a
constitutional duty. Their resistance to multiracial democracy
had dire consequences, encouraging a crowd of insurrectionists
to storm the U.S. Capitol with the goal of blocking the Electoral
College’s certification. The patina of constitutional fidelity wore
off, and the basest politics of racial grievance—a Redemption

redux—was all that remained. The New Redeemers’ ideology
was laid bare for all to see now.
The “New Redeemers” is a fitting namesake considering that
the common denominator between their worldview and the
Redeemers of old is that white political power is a good unto
itself. It is a mistake to view the Capitol insurrection or the
repudiation of the 2020 presidential election results as isolated
affairs. Instead, they were outgrowths of a sustained effort that
long predated November 2020. This Article examines the march
toward upending democracy and argues that the insurrection
on January 6 was the encapsulation of a lengthy crusade
against multiracial democracy.