january 2021 to november 2024 in social media

Here is my prediction for the next four years public discourse in the United States, from the January inauguration of President Joe Biden to the Presidential election of 2024.

I warn you, this isn’t going to be an optimistic prediction.

And what’s more, I very much hope to be wrong. Take that as a given.

Here we go then.

Trump rallies will start immediately after Joe Biden’s inauguration. Perhaps the first rally will be scheduled to coincide with the very day of the inauguration — for maximum media coverage and maximum disruptive momentum.

The insatiable need for clickbait will ensure news media continues to fixate on Trump hysteria.

Media’s predisposition to sensationalize will find in Trump’s neo-revivalist stadium rallies an unending source of material — especially as it’ll be in marked contrast to the studied rhetoric of sleepy Joe Biden in the White House.

He’ll be painted alternately as a modern-day Hitler (archenemy of the liberal left) or a 21st-century Messiah (savior of the conservative right) depending on the news outlet.

What makes this enemy-savior dynamic a problem is the way it’s become a dichotomy that serves the needs of our moribund but pragmatic political duopoly. This unholy convergence of interests will guarantee us four more years of public discourse dominated by a news cycle fed entirely from the bullshit spigot.

Both parties must be delighted. They get to sell “join us — be loyal — don’t question — march in line — we must Save America” to their supporters, who’ll inevitably be pushed deeper into hyper-polarized territory of partisan truth.

The GOP can use Trump and his rallies to weaponize the ‘unfair’ election loss, legitimizing their grand conspiracy theory of having been victimized by the liberal establishment’s collusion. Trump and his fans can enjoy the spotlight, and meanwhile, the base is galvanized around an unapologetically fundamentalist Republican worldview.

While the Trump bandwagon rolls around America, the GOP can focus party energy on pro-life pro-gun pro-wealth governance and taking advantage of the conservative-majority Supreme Court.

The Democrats get to use Trump as their bogeyman. It’s known territory, but rallies will make an energizing spectacle. Enablers in the press will make sure coverage of orange excess is continuous and damning, playing neatly into the DNC-neoliberal centrists’ need to whip loyalty into the annoying progressives.

The urgency of the Trump threat will stay front and center. It’ll be used both to obfuscate Biden’s disinterest in pushing genuine left-wing legislation and to soften up the Democratic Socialists’ calls for action. The left-wing of the Democratic Party will be maneuvered into accepting public displays of woke-culture (renaming buildings, removing statues) and non-binding promises of future concessions (that’ll never happen) in lieu of meaningful legislation.

Regardless of party affiliation, the average supporters will continue to believe themselves as right-minded loyalists battling the very embodiments of anti-American corruption. The irony of the same narrative fitting two supposedly diametrically opposed ideologies will be lost on the participants.

And so, for the next four years, social media, late-night talk shows, papers, magazines, and all the outrage-hungry news channels can be filled with variations of the familiar well-practiced informative-disinformation pantomime.

It’ll somehow always be urgent, always polarizing, always parsed in terms of good guys — with the correct opinions — versus bad guys — with incomprehensible wrong ones.

Echo chambers have already formed around the protagonist demographics and these will, if anything, grow more exclusive, more hostile to outside nuance, each audience cherry-picking “facts” to fit the orthodoxy of its particular confirmation bias.

Media, GOP, and Democratic Party won’t challenge each other’s role in subverting public discourse, because each has a vested interest in the subversion. Why rock the boat?

Instead, whether it’s tacitly agreed behind closed doors or an opportunist understanding of the economic and political path of least resistance, the atomized voter public will remain hypnotized by a stream of mostly irrelevant 24/7 pseudo-news from the mainstream media’s bullshit spigot.

The specifics of a day’s news won’t matter. Stories will be deployed in a constant process, interpreting the zeitgeist through the prism of party orthodoxy but above all in service of whatever’s necessary to run long-term cover, so the plutocrats stay unaccountable while they carry on the business of maximum profit and upward wealth transfer.‌‌

Background is a scattergun of philosophy, psychology, history and political theory. Medium is a repository for articles, essays and transcripts — rough’n’ready.