Of course, you already sense that the 2024 election will be a freaky event, if it happens at all. If it’s not America’s last election altogether, it may be the last one that follows the traditional format that has signified stability in our country’s high tide as a great power: that is, a contest between Republicans and Democrats. Both parties are likely to crash and burn in the year ahead, along with a whole lot of other things on the tottering scaffold of normal life.
Have you lost count yet of the number of things in our country that are broken?
The justice system.
The food supply.
The News business.
Our relations with other countries.
That’s just the big institutional stuff.
At the personal scale its an overwhelming plunge in living standards, loss of incomes, careers, chattels, liberties. . . poor health (especially mental health). . . and failing confidence in any plausible future.
The reasons behind all that failure and loss are pretty straightforward. The business model for operating a high-tech industrial economy is broken. That includes especially the business model for affordable energy: oil, gas, nuclear, and the electric grid that runs on all that. We opted out of an economy that produced things of real value. We replaced that with a financial matrix of banking fakery. That racket made a very few people supernaturally wealthy while incrementally dissolving the middle-class. We destroyed local and regional business and scaled up what was left into super-giant predatory companies that can no longer maintain their supply chains. Fragility everywhere in everything.
Bad choices all along the way, you could say, but perhaps an inexorable process of nature. Things are born, they grow, they peak, they decline, they die. The difference this time is the scale of everything we do is so enormous that the wreckage is also epic. It’s happening in Western Civ at the moment, led by its biggest nation state, us, the USA, but it will eventually go global, spread to the BRICs and the many countries that will never actually “develop.”
I started writing about the fiasco of suburbia decades ago, and now the endgame of that living arrangement is in view. The dissolving middle class has gotten priced-out of motoring. Motoring is the basis of the suburban living arrangement. No motoring, no suburbia. It’s that simple. There was widespread belief among idealistic reformers that suburbia could just be “retrofitted” for “smarter” daily life, but that dream is over. The capital (money) is not there to fix it, and there’s no prospect that we’ll somehow come up with it as far ahead as we can see.
So far, the collapse of suburbia has happened in slow motion, but the pace is quickening now and it’ll get supercharged when the bond markets go down, as they must, considering the country’s catastrophic fiscal circumstances. That will produce exactly the zombie apocalypse telegraphed in all those movies and TV series over recent years: normality overrun by demonic hungry ghosts. Every day in suburbia will be Halloween, and not in a fun way.
All this is apprehended to some degree by the increasingly frightened public, though they have a hard time articulating it within any of the popular frameworks presented by politics, religion, or what appears lately to be extremely corrupt science. The people see what’s coming but they can’t make sense of it, and the stress makes a great many of them insane. Without a way to construct a coherent view of reality, or tell the difference between what’s real and what’s not, they behave accordingly: anything goes and nothing matters.
In the face of all this the two big political parties are helpless and clueless. The Democrats have made themselves into a giant feedback loop amplifying the poor mental health of their constituents. They are in CrazyLand, where there are no boundaries anymore, and to insist that there should be is an affront that gets you cancelled. They are in upside-down inside-out world. Hillary Clinton demonstrated this perfectly the other day on ABC’s The View when she accused her party’s opponents of trying to “do away with elections, trying to do away with the opposition, and do away with a free press….” It’s hard to imagine a more impressive lack of self-awareness.
And, of course, they are the party of “Joe Biden,” the moneygrubbing ghoul pretending to be president and pretending to run for another term — with hard evidence of his crimes publicly unspooling day by day now. The Democratic Party will not survive after an election that he runs in, and there is plenty of reason to believe that his regime might cancel or postpone the election on account of some contrived “emergency.”
The Republican Party is also badly splintered. Forces in the party are trying like hell to dissociate from Donald Trump, despite his clear domination in the polling. And another faction led informally by Rep. Matt Gaetz and new speaker Mike Johnson is in active rebellion against the GOP blob cabal around deposed speaker Kevin McCarthy, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, and the evanescent uber-fool, Mitt Romney.
You may have seen candidate Vivek Ramaswamy go after Republican Party chair Ronna McDaniel (Mitt’s niece) in this week’s debate, a pretty savage attack, but well-earned. Ms. McDaniel has a unique libido for losing elections. She has especially helped deploy money from the GOP campaign war chest against candidates in her own party. The perfidy is quite out of this world. And it looks like the Matt Gaetz / Mike Johnson faction is good and goddam sick of it, too.
The net result of all this internal strife is a party that can’t function as an opposition to the Democratic Party of Chaos. So, chaos reigns for now. Chaos at the border. Chaos in foreign wars. Chaos in government finance. Chaos in the streets and the stores. Chaos in the school curricula. Chaos in the kids’ minds. Chaos in the household. Chaos in the supply chains. You can expect the chaos to really amp up when the financial markets blow and every household mired in debt faces its own margin call — along with every business in America.
Meanwhile, Mr. Trump slogs through an Okeefenokee Swamp of tribulations laid before him like the supernatural character he is. If he gets to the nomination despite it all, and happens to win the election, if there is one, every reptile and rodent will get bum-rushed out of the party and it will be transformed into something new. If not, the brand is finished and many in it will be looking to start a completely different brand.