The 2020s: An exact reversal of the rise of optimistic consumerism in the 1920s. History does have its symmetries, if you know where to look. The end to advertising, news broadcasting, modernist propaganda, the religion of self-help and therapy, physical fitness, institutionalized spying and technological utopia.
Trump’s attack on the media, the breathing tube for an empty liberal consumerism that died long ago, is the most welcome move to his fervent supporters. You can’t believe a word you see. You have to create your own reality, which the Internet helped bring about starting in the 1990s. Consider the real scandal of Joe Biden’s son’s corruption, already noted matter-of-factly in leading newspapers, versus the impeachable scandal of just talking — airing out possible deals to land political opponents in trouble. Torture, assassination, deportation and ecocide are all within the pale, for the resistance, for those who would like to replace him with an acceptable alternative who will take empire back to where it was.
But it’s not going to happen, because he was never the bearer of a virus, which implies something alien. He is the perfect mirror, just as Nixon followed Lyndon Johnson, Reagan followed Carter, and Bush followed Clinton, in performing not so much an oscillation but an exaggerated return to form. Empires, heavy and difficult to maneuver, don’t engage in circular or sideways motions. Trump is the accelerant to the end point that empire needs now, just as Reagan and Bush served their functions earlier, and in that sense he is a true man of the people. You don’t beat a man of the people electorally. You just don’t.