Next. Four. Years?

Trump rallies will start with Biden’s inauguration. He will foment his base to keep their anger on the boil, playing a risky game. Typical Trump. Perhaps he’ll schedule rallies to begin the very day of the inauguration – for maximum media and maximum momentum. His vanity will want to best the transition of power ceremonials with a bigger badder coda.

The press jackals won’t let go of the Trump bump easily. Clickbait news media will continue to stoke and exploit Trump hysteria. Stadium rallies are a perpetual source of material. Sensation politics serves the plutocratic duopoly, convergence of interests dooms us to four years of unending flow from the bullshit spigot.

PREDICTIONS (JANUARY 2021 TO NOVEMBER 2024)

Trump rallies will start with Biden’s inauguration. He will foment his base to keep their anger on the boil, playing a risky game. Typical Trump. Perhaps he’ll schedule rallies to begin the very day of the inauguration – for maximum media and maximum momentum. His vanity will want to best the transition of power ceremonials with a bigger badder coda.

The insatiable need for clickbait will ensure news media continues to fixate on Trump hysteria. The press jackals won’t let go of the Trump bump easily.

Media’s need to sensationalize (for views, for clicks, for ad revenue) will portray Trump and Trump supporters as a perpetual clear and present danger to American democracy. Fear porn, coronavirus potency.

Trump holding neo-revivalist stadium rallies will provide an unending source of material — especially in contrast to the studied, scripted rhetoric of Biden and Harris in the White House.

Life imitates art. Satire, in the case of Biden. Americans will want calm, after the Trump mania years. What could be more calm than complete torpor? Enter sleepy Joe Biden. America moves from Animal House to Weekend At Bernie’s.

Trump has always been a celebrity cartoon caricature, and he plays up to this ‘brand’, loving the spotlight of the most crass popular attention. Media, serving their own interests, will paint the outgoing President either as a modern-day Hitler (ubiquitous lowest common denominator of evil) by orthodoxy – center to center-right mainstream media – or a 21st-century martyr’d Messiah (savior of the ‘real’ America, the most victimized victim in victimland) by opposition – an increasingly fundamentalist conservative and libertarian right.

Expect the opposition outlets to be tech-marginalized. From shadow banning to outright deplatforming, denial of service, etc. Can the alt-media fight back? Symbolically in the short term, perhaps. But I’ll go on record to say I suspect not meaningfully, in the medium and long term. None of the alt-right or libertarian or independent media entities, however highly trafficked, will be able to stop the corrosion of exclusion. Ultimately, their audience (relevance) will bleed away.

The fate of media freedom notwithstanding, what makes this business-expediency framing of the cultural and political landscape in terms of an enemy-savior dynamic (serving clickbait, ad revenue) such a problem is it’s also a dichotomy that serves the goals of America’s moribund but pragmatic political faux-duopoly. Polarization embeds itself deeper and deeper into the American psyche. Black and white. Good and evil. Friend and enemy. Innocent and guilty.

This unholy convergence of media business and ruling class interests creates powerful inertia far more powerful than any other American political force (healthcare for all, gun rights, environmentalism, #BLM, etc). Media, business, oligarch interest in alignment guarantees us four more years of grift behind closed doors, while public discourse is cynically dominated by a news cycle fed entirely from the bullshit spigot.

The dynamics of January 2021 must delight democratic Party grandees and Republican corporate fundamentalists. Together, they’re the de facto plutocracy. Together, united, their command of the organs of economic, political and cultural power is overwhelming. Together, they’ll be selling “join us – be loyal – don’t question – march in line – help us to Save America” to their supporters. It will push every American with a stake in the mainstream into line: polarized against each other, arguing irrelevant ephemera, too worried about personal conformity to think outside the box.

Government authority is absolute when there’s a legitimacy conferred by winning democratic election, and that authority is a tyranny of the majority when their choices are controlled by the dictates of a power elite.

GOP and Democratic Party methods may differ, but at their heart, both parties are branches of the same central oligarchy. Objectives are mostly shared.

For example, the GOP can use Trump (and his rallies or his Messianic persona) opportunistically to weaponize the ‘unfair’ election loss as part of the corrupt persecuting their outgoing President. It legitimizes the grand conspiracy theory of an evil cabal taking over America, through the liberal establishment collusion (or downright treason), victimizing the righteous. Trump, loyal Christian Americans, etc.

Trump gets to enjoy the brightest of all spotlights. His fans get to chant and rage together in mass gatherings, performing to a global audience. USA. USA. USA. Meanwhile, the base is galvanized, shielded against persuasion and trained to reject facts that come from outside sources not blessed by the faithful.

While the Trump bandwagon can roll around America, whether as rallies or rumors or Q-drops (in whatever form that morphs to), the GOP apparatus gets to focus party energy (money, influence) on pro-life pro-gun pro-wealth pro-lineage pro-white governance. Supreme Court majority remains an ultimate failsafe for the GOP while Biden is in office.

On the other side, the Democratic Party gets to use Trump as their perennial bogeyman. It’s hard to imagine a more suitable personality for the role. Demonizing the evil outlier is familiar territory for the DNC but Trump rallies (or any extremist optics) can be used over and over again as an energizing spectacle – present as a horror show of wild gun-toting racists.

Enablers in the press will make sure coverage follows DNC guidelines. Both benefit from continuous, terrifying reporting inspiring fear, damning opposition, neatly obfuscating the DNC-neoliberal-centrism (oligarch-serving) agenda and whipping the progressives into loyal subordination.

Simple process: if there’s a bigger, more evil enemy to be tackled first, loyal mature representatives of the people must ally to defeat it. When it’s beaten, then the progressive legislation can be debated. The bogeyman is never defeated. There’s always a more evil enemy to tackle first. Progressive legislation is never debated.

Meantime, the urgency of the Trump threat (or far-right, foreign hostile, domestic terrorist, <insert whatever serves>) will be kept front and center. In public, Trump’s opponents will decry him and his supporters in eloquent hyperbolic terms that admit of no mercy. In private, Trump’s opponents will work hard to keep the plates spinning.

The evil Trump alt-right menace will be used to cover up Biden’s disinterest in pushing any genuinely left-wing legislation. It’ll be a perpetual pressure on Democratic Socialists to soften their socialism, to defer calls for action. Politically expert and wielding the power of the establishment gives the DNC-Business Democrats an advantage over the party’s disunited progressives. The latter will be maneuvered into public displays of subordination, placated with optics focused on woke-culture scraps (renaming buildings, removing statues, balancing gender boardrooms). Non-binding promises, vague general Americans Are Important rhetoric, promises of a future list of concessions will get maximum airtime, playing the odds to win over as many of the socialist-progressives as possible. For the last 75 years American post-war political landscape, this DNC-Business Democrat methodology has worked. It will continue to work.

Regardless of party affiliation, the average supporter will succumb to the duopoly dynamic – doesn’t matter which ‘side’, as each one believes themselves to be right-minded loyalists battling seditious anti-American corruption. It’s ironic that the same narrative, same manufactured consent, same cynical psychology fits the two demographics who perceive themselves as diametrically opposed to their very ideological core. What soapy titw-a-nks.

CONCLUSION

Duopoly. Manufacturing consent using the same methods flavored to suit the specifics of carrying out ongoing exploitation of their base via different but commonplace personality types. The next four years will be the same old pantomime. This must be misdirected – the first battle line of democratic plutocracy – and America has a city-sized circus orchestrated to make an effective smokescreen ubiquitous: social media, late-night talk shows, culture media commentariat, newspapers, magazines, a thousand outrage-hungry news channels fighting for eyeballs.

Somehow the pantomime will always look urgent, always break down along familiar polarized orthodoxies, always be messaged in terms of good guys with correct opinions in reasonable clear-thinking minds facing bad guys with incomprehensible beliefs run rampant in perverted brains. Somehow it’ll always be a close contest, an uncertain outcome, a watch-this-space tension as the public narrative lurches from crisis to crisis, never giving the mainstream time to think themselves into unorthodox conclusions.

Echo chambers formed years ago around protagonist demographics, and the duopoly managers work hard to keep them evolving to best contain only members of the home team.  If anything, the next four years will see the echo chambers grow more exclusive, ‘blessed’ orthodox groups merging, ‘cursed’ unorthodox channels ejected. As the echo chambers grow in size and purity, the members are more hostile to outside intrusion – be it nuance in an argument or individuals, not 100% committed to the faith. And the ‘facts’ more tightly regulated, cherry-picked to best serve the confirmation bias of the members and the strategies handed down by the party’s exalted ruling aristocracy.

The heavyweight socioeconomic and cultural forces wielding power atop the American plutocracy – media, GOP, Democratic Party, Silicon Valley, Wall Street, the Deep State, the Fed – will define their demarcation lines to an ever greater extent, predetermining outcomes and dividing up the public cannon fodder.

Each has its own role in the subversion of public discourse. Each has its own ways to nail down its demographic’s vote when legitimacy must be reasserted with the appearance of representative choice. This isn’t a conspiracy by any means. Think of it more as a shared interest, by dint of being part-owers of the real estate, conventions, wealth, and positions best suited to direct the nation’s monopoly on violence. Why rock the boat? Civil war benefits nobody.

Instead, whether it’s tacitly agreed behind closed doors or an open ‘tussle’ decision forged out of opportunistic use of current zeitgeist, understanding of the economic and political path of least resistance, or even occasional performance in public full of pomp and circumstance (to demonstrate power, to gloat over a win, to challenge an opponent),  the average American will remain irrelevant, struggling to stay afloat, atomized away from collective power, hypnotized by the 24/7 stream of pseudo-news pseudo-reality and pseudo-novelty of the mainstream media’s perpetual bullshit spigot.

The day’s specific news won’t matter. They don’t today. They’ll matter even less in the next four years as more of the levers of power are locked into alignment. They will deploy stories as circumstances require, inventions or opportunistic repackaging the zeitgeist, or even simply narrative threads to reinforce the mass hypnosis of good consumer plus voter passivity.

Duopoly – through its corporate structures of power trust risk conservatism – will complete its stranglehold on making rules of what’s canonical, what’s the law, what’s canceled. They will expect the life of the average citizen to conform to these legal, moral, and social-civil rules. The highest ranks of the duopoly will continue to work with the wealthiest and most deeply entrenched (proven), analyzing and deciding which direction the American continent turns its attention to best look after its interests in the world.

The division of authority will grow more rigidly defined: Dems decide contemporary conventions of acceptable civilized society, including the form versus the substance of race relations in America; GOP rules on permanent rules of a moral Christian country, including the decisions on what’s American or un-American, what’s good and what’s evil.

The oligarchy is not an evil solely destructive cabal. It doesn’t wish you harm. If you’re harmed, it’s because you were collateral damage. The cast of characters in Washington DC or Hollywood or any number of SP500, NASDAQ, FTSE corporations, these are the servants or the scions of the ruling elites.

Politicians are selected – from the get go – from a class of sympathetic enablers, interlarded with high-flying conformists and occasional exceptions (like charismatic outliers, spontaneous pressure group leadership, etc).

The mainstream parties will continue to employ most permanent staff to work out messaging, taking current events, taking a litmus of the zeitgeist, and passing it through the prism of party alignment to come out with acceptable effective party orthodoxy on every subject, every occurrence, every thinking need of the loyal base.

Above all, however, the messaging and the orthodoxies must serve whatever’s necessary to run long-term cover for the plutocrats, so big business and big oligarchs stay unaccountable while they carry on the business of maximum profit and upward wealth transfer.

Between now and late 2024 the future will be continuity of all the above, unless the current trajectory is altered by an external force (like a meteor strike or an alien invasion). The ruling class, those it represents, and those proven loyal to devote their lives in serving its interests: will get richer. Everyone else: won’t.