Confronting a ‘Second American Revolution’ on the 4th of July

“We are in the process of the second American Revolution, which will remain bloodless — if the left allows it to be,” warned Project 2025 architect and Heritage Foundation President Kevin Roberts.
Members of the Proud Boys, dressed for combat, join Trump supporters in the "Million MAGA March" on Washington, D.C., December 2021. (Shutterstock)

We are in dangerous waters on this Independence Day. 

While we obsess over the horse race and the latest polls, rubbernecking at the tragic disintegration of an accomplished, public-spirited president, the plot to overthrow American democracy and replace it with a violent, repressive, despotic regime is well underway. 

“We are in the process of the second American Revolution, which will remain bloodless — if the left allows it to be,” Kevin Roberts, the president of the rightwing Heritage Foundation, ominously declared Tuesday on “The War Room,” Steve Bannon’s radio show. 

“Right on. Thank you, brother,” responded Dave Brat, the former Tea Party Republican congressman from Virginia, who was filling in as guest host. (Bannon, a longtime ally of Donald Trump, was unavailable because he’s serving prison time for contempt of Congress after refusing to testify about his role in the attempted coup on Jan. 6, 2021.)

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The idea that an army of right-wing groups is waging a war to overthrow U.S. democracy and smash the “Deep State” has moved from fantasies spun out in the comments sections of neo-Nazi blogs to a published plan created by a well funded conservative think tank. The Heritage Foundation’s Project 2025 declares its intention “to assemble an army of aligned, vetted, trained, and prepared conservatives to go to work on Day One to deconstruct the Administrative State.”

Among its goals is the elimination of career civil service jobs in the federal government and their replacement with ideologues appointed by a newly empowered conservative president. 

It’s no surprise, then, that on Bannon’s show, Roberts praised the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision eliminating the Chevron doctrine, gutting 40 years of deference to experts, including scientists at the Environmental Protection Agency and other agencies. Now corporations can forum-shop for friendly judges who have the discretion to replace scientific expertise with their own off-the-cuff opinions.

The Chevron decision is “momentous,” Roberts said, second only to the Dobbs decision among the most important Supreme Court victories “of my lifetime,” because “it is going to return the power to the people. It is going to devolve power from Washington D.C., not just to the states, but to individual Americans.”

Or, as Justice Elena Kagan wrote in her dissent: “In one fell swoop, the majority today gives itself exclusive power over every open issue — no matter how expertise-driven or policy-laden — involving the meaning of regulatory law. As if it did not have enough on its plate, the majority turns itself into the country’s administrative czar.”

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The “radical left” including talking heads on MSNBC, are “apoplectic right now,” Roberts said gleefully, “because our side is winning.”

The goals of his “second American Revolution” include a federal campaign to end abortion, including reversing FDA approval for the widely used abortion drug mifepristone; going after “woke culture warriors” in government, including by deleting the terms sexual orientation, gender identity, diversity, equity and inclusion “out of every federal rule, agency regulation, contract, grant, regulation, and piece of legislation that exists”; and reversing what Brat, in his interview, called the “supposed separation of church and state.” 

“The main problem facing the United States as it enters this really pivotal period, is that we have a decline in religiosity,” Roberts declared.

The Supreme Court ruling on immunity for presidents who commit criminal acts in office is “vital,” Roberts added, quoting Alexander Hamilton on “the importance of a vigorous executive.”

But the decision swept away the foundational American principle that no one is above the law. 

In Madison, voting rights advocates from the groups Law Forward, Wisconsin Democracy Campaign and the Service Employees International Union gathered in front of the federal courthouse wearing banana costumes and black robes to protest the ruling by Trump’s handpicked justices.

“I thought we lived in a democracy. I thought we lived in a republic, but apparently we live in a banana republic,” said Nick Ramos, executive director of the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign. 

“Here in America, we hold sacred the core values of democracy, that our leaders, whether elected or appointed, must respect our will and govern in our interest, not seize power, commit crimes and rule over us,” said Jeff Mandell of Law Forward. 

READ: Trump Loyalists Preview Strategies to Upend 2024 Election

The solution emphasized by all of the speakers at the small gathering outside the courthouse was to energize voters to turn out in the 2024 presidential election. 

The winner of that contest might replace two of the most right-wing justices on the Court.

Ramos also took inspiration from the victory for democracy in Wisconsin citizens’ long fight to get fair legislative maps. “We’ve lived in the most gerrymandered state in the entire country. And up until recently, we’ve haven’t had maps that have been representative of us,” he said, adding that it’s important to make sure people “understand what’s at stake, and understand how they can participate in our democracy so that they can be able to take advantage of these maps.”

Mandell emphasized the importance of holding the coup plotters who tried to overturn the results of the 2020 election accountable, “including those who designed and implemented the fake electoral scheme that began in Wisconsin and metastasized across the country.” (Law Forward helped file the first civil lawsuit against false electors in the country.)  Ultimately, he added, “When the MAGA movement denies us the justice we deserve, the people must act as the ultimate jury.”

“Government of the People, by the People, for the People shall, as Lincoln feared, perish from this earth if we as Americans do not prioritize democracy as a litmus test issue in choosing who is fit to lead us,” he added.

It’s a timely message for the 4th of July.

Wisconsin Examiner, where this article was originally published, is part of States Newsroom, a nonprofit news network supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Wisconsin Examiner maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Ruth Conniff for questions: Follow Wisconsin Examiner on Facebook and X.


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Ruth Conniff, Wisconsin Examiner

Ruth Conniff is Editor-in-chief of the Wisconsin Examiner. She formerly served as Editor-in-chief of The Progressive Magazine where she worked for many years from both Madison and Washington, DC. Shortly after Donald Trump took office she moved with her family to Oaxaca, Mexico, and covered U.S./Mexico relations, the migrant caravan, and Mexico’s efforts to grapple with Trump. Conniff is the author of "Milked: How an American Crisis Brought Together Midwestern Dairy Farmers and Mexican Workers" which won the 2022 Studs and Ida Terkel award from The New Press. She is a frequent guest on MSNBC and has appeared on Good Morning America, Democracy Now!, Wisconsin Public Radio, CNN, Fox News and many other radio and television outlets. She has also written for The Nation, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Los Angeles Times, among other publications. She lives in Madison, Wisconsin with her husband and three daughters.

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