The United States vs. itself

The United States Capitol building in Washington, DC, is seen days before the anniversary of the January 6, 2021 attack by insurrectionists supporting former US president Donald Trump’s attempts to challenge the certification of Joe Biden’s presidency. [MICHAEL REYNOLDS/EPA] The US political system is remarkably divided, and public trust in its core institutions—particularly Congress, the judiciary, and the media—is at historic lows. Add algorithmically amplified disinformation to the mix, and Americans no longer believe in a common set of settled facts about their nation and the world. The two major parties’ likely presidential candidates are widely considered unfit for office. Donald Trump faces dozens of felony criminal charges, many directly related to actions taken during his presidency. President Joe Biden would be 86 years old at the end of his second term. A clear majority of Americans want neither to lead the nation. Partisan bitterness will increase in the run-up to the election. From the moment he (almost certainly) secures his party’s presidential nomination, Trump will hijack Republican and American politics, as even the most reluctant of Republicans in Congress—and most conservative media, activist groups, and monied interests—will fall in line behind him. His policy pronouncements, however outlandish, will shift the national narrative and shape the policy direction on Capitol Hill and in statehouses across the country. The result will be even more policy extremism, division, and gridlock. Knowing he faces prison time if he loses in November, Trump will use his online platform, his control of the Republican Party, and his connections with friendly media to delegitimize both the justice system that is prosecuting him and the integrity of the election itself. His ability to cast himself as a populist martyr and his preemptive claims of election fraud will find a receptive audience among conservative Americans. These efforts […]

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By Donato