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Prophetic Populism and the Violent Rejection of Joe Biden’s Election: Mapping the Theology of the Capitol Insurrection

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  • Matthew Rowley

    (Politics and International Relations University of Leicester, Leicester, UK.)

Abstract

For President Donald Trump’s most committed Christian devotees—those with ears to hear—his rise to power was prophesied, and the 2016 victory was miraculous. Prophets again foretold re-election in 2020. These charismatic Trump supporters tended to come from outside the main denominations, and when the electoral college swung towards Joe Biden, the results were not accepted. In rejecting the election, they became fellow travellers with more overtly militant and conspiratorial groups—sometimes sharing a stage with them. This article describes the discourse of prophetic populism from 2011 to 2021—focusing in particular on the three months from the 2020 election to the storming of Capitol Hill to the inauguration of Joe Biden. Although Trump repeatedly says, ‘Promises Made, Promises Kept’, these prophetic promises did not materialise—leading some to try to force God’s hand. This article explores the reaction to three consecutive disappointments that took their toll on prophetic populism: the declaration of Joe Biden as president-elect in November 2020, the certification of his victory in early January 2021 and the inauguration later that month. It demonstrates the power of a relatively new force in conservative politics, the flexibility of beliefs in divine involvement and the resilience of these beliefs in light of weighty disconfirming evidence. ‘Prophetic Populism and the Violent Rejection of Joe Biden’s Election: Mapping the Theology of the Capitol Insurrection’

Suggested Citation

  • Matthew Rowley, 2021. "Prophetic Populism and the Violent Rejection of Joe Biden’s Election: Mapping the Theology of the Capitol Insurrection," International Journal of Religion, Transnational Press London, UK, vol. 2(2), pages 145-164, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:mig:ijornl:v:2:y:2021:i:2:p:145-164
    DOI: https://doi.org/10.33182/ijor.v2i2.1697
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