2020, definitively, was the year that history began again. If you had any more doubts that the “End of History” era was at an end, this was the year that erased them. As I made no qualms about almost exactly a year ago, America is in a new Cold War. This year simply made it official. America did not perform admirably in this first battle of the conflict. One is reminded of the early Union armies of the Civil War – poorly-trained troops, led by incompetent officers, panicked and retreated in disgrace. Unfortunately, like that war, this one will be a long and obstinate struggle, and also like it, it seems we will need to wait long and hope we can hold on before we finally find good leadership.
Let’s go through 2020’s roll of winners and losers with that in mind.
Unfortunately, the Han emperor (for that is what he is) got everything he wanted this year. He unleashed the coronavirus and the attendant lockdowns on the world. He and his propaganda disrupted his enemies’ societies, economies, and social cohesion. Meanwhile, he used the discord of his pandemic/lockdown combination to seize more strategic ground. He strengthened his rule at home against Hong Kong while increasing his reach abroad, including a military base 200 kilometers away from Australia (a country China has particularly bullied this year) which will be built as a “fishing” depot. His influence with international organizations like WHO has increased, as has his genocides against the Uyghurs, Tibetans, and Mongolians in his territory. Because of the chaos he’s caused, he has gotten his way and ousted Donald Trump, the one world leader with the power and courage to fight back, and installed the hapless Joe Biden, whose long record of friendliness to China – and his possible compromise by the Chinese Communist Party – was exactly what he wanted to see in the White House.
One hopes that these things will backfire in the long run – Ma’at will have her way – but in 2020, he has come out stronger compared to his competitors. I believe China’s economic numbers about as much as I believe their coronavirus numbers, but it is certainly true that the balance of power has shifted toward Xi Jinping and the Chinese Communist Party this year, aided by the pathetic unworthiness of American and Western leaders and their mobs.
Unfortunately, those unworthies, Xi’s allies, also walked away with the trophy this year.
The Fake News Media
Much as I hate to say it, rosy predictions of the death of the fake news media in 2016 were exaggerated. Sure, the dinosaurs did go extinct in one way – no one outside their social circle will ever consider them objective and credible again – but they do have the ability to “flood the zone,” to dominate conversational space as laid out in the second chapter of Stumped. They can do this because of their reach, the sheer volume of content they can pump out, and because social media has been heavily censored since 2016. Algorithms are also now tilted in favor of the fake news institutions, further reducing the ability of counter information to spread. The dinosaurs and social media now officially collude on narrative distribution. This is an ominous development. Propaganda deficiency is one of the reasons why the Whites in Russia lost the civil war to the communists.
It is encouraging that this still wouldn’t have been enough without the Chinese virus (the election results are proof of that), but we have seen how damaging this combination is and will continue to be.
The purpose of the media now is as a machine gun to spread propaganda for their plutocratic overlords and enforce conformity through social credit (a system in the image of their overlords’ ally, the Han Emperor Xi), keeping dissenters in the trenches. In this role, we are forced to admit that they are quite effective.
The American Plutocracy
Greg Gutfeld described this election best: “a movement and a resistance to a movement.” I call the figurehead “the corpse” for a reason. He is merely a reanimated corpse meant to be controlled by his handlers – the American plutocracy, which heavily funded his campaign in money and in kind (through the media apparatus we just discussed). He has no real support, no auctoritas, but the oligarchs made it happen. At this point it is questionable whether we should still call it a “plutocratic insurgency” and instead just say that the Democratic Party is an oligarchy and wishes to impose oligarchical rule. The corpse’s “appointments” should erase any doubt about that.
As usual, the plutocracy is using identity politics as a feint in an attempt to throw a bone at left-populists, who are already angry at some of the selections. What they’re hoping for is that their footsoldiers won’t notice what their opponents do and say: “Hey, you’re making a cabinet full of China apologists, warmongers, and corporate grifters, but at least they aren’t all white men!”
At any rate, the plutocracy got what it wanted this year, even if it cost them a lot. The hated Orange Cheeto is gone. “Back to normal” is what they wanted. Get ready for neoliberalism, America last, part eleventy.
The Republican Party
Paradoxically – and this is where the claims of fraud start to have legs – the election of 2020 was not, as the media and their polls would have you believe, a “blue wave.” Instead, it was typical of an incumbent presidential reelection. The Republican Party recovered a substantial amount of its lost House seats from 2018, largely fended off Democratic challengers to its majority in the Senate, and romped at the state and local level. Everywhere but at the top of the ticket, Democrats got wiped out.
With their wipe out came the wipe out of their fever dream of an inevitable, permanent majority. As we enter a new Cold War, America has also entered what political scientists call a new party system. This, the Seventh Party System, in certain respects resembles the politics of Greece in the fifth and early fourth centuries B.C.., with clashes between oligarchic and democratic forces. Oxymoronically, the Democratic Party is avowedly the party of the oligarchs and global capital. The realignment is that the Republican Party has emerged as the party of nation and people. Donald Trump saved it from death and gave it the possibility to emerge as the dominant force in the new system.
The key question from here is whether the Republican Party will learn the right lessons from this (namely, that they are the party of America and its working and middle class people) or do the usual thing and defeat themselves, but we can save those details for later.
For now, the Republican Party emerged from a year where it was supposed to be wiped out and instead won almost everywhere. Depending on the outcome of the Senate runoffs in Georgia, it will consign the corpse presidency to being the weakest since Carter if all goes well. Unfortunately, Richard Baris at People’s Pundit Daily says that there are indications all won’t go well, and if he says the Republicans are in trouble, believe him.
Ron DeSantis was a fast rising star in the Republican Party before this year of Katabasis, but he has been one of the few to successfully emerge from it. He has proven himself the best leader in the country this year, no ifs, no buts. He did lock Florida down, reluctantly, during the fog of war period in March and early April, but he was always skeptical, and made it a point to concentrate resources on protecting elderly and nursing home residents, rather than hectoring the rest of the population that isn’t actually at risk.
He ended Florida’s blanket lockdowns early, refused to cave into the media panic during the summer Sun Belt spike, ended all lockdowns and mask mandates in Florida in September, and has refused to backtrack. He has reopened schools for full in-person learning. And guess what?
— Corn Pop (@umamibomb1) December 18, 2020
All without permanently destroying Florida’s economy.
Lest we forget, he also took a strong stand against the Marxist insurrection in the summer. You didn’t hear about Florida’s cities being sacked and burned, did you? To supplement his strong stand, DeSantis is now proposing the strongest anti-riot legislation in the country, including the ability for property owners to shoot looters.
There’s a reason people are moving to Florida.
And while not particularly charismatic, he is energetic, and fierce against the people he’s supposed to be fierce against, especially the media. Exhibit A:
— WPTV (@WPTV) December 11, 2020
The divide in the Republican Party is between those who understand that the Seventh Party System is upon us and the dinosaurs who are still operating on a Sixth Party System, zombie Reaganism paradigm. Ron DeSantis, among others, understands the new era, he has won this year more than those other Seventh Party System Republicans, and, should he win reelection in 2022 (almost a guarantee) he would be a strong 2024 contender if he had the desire for it (and if Trump doesn’t run).
While Ron DeSantis’ already bright star brightened in 2020, no one’s star has risen faster in the Republican Party than Kristi Noem’s. From the beginning, she refused to give in to the coronavirus panic, an accomplishment that even Donald Trump cannot boast about. She refused to issue any lockdowns or mask mandates for South Dakota. As a result, it is free, its unemployment rate is back to the booming economy of before, and all with lower hospitalization and fatality rates than big lockdown states.
One of the most important tests of leadership in this Cold War II era is to not entangle oneself with the aims of the Chinese Communist Party, nor cave to its propaganda. Kristi Noem passed that test better than anyone else in America this year.
She has proven herself a woman of good character and servant of Ma’at – just the lessons that Lives of the Luminaries aims to instill.
Does she operate based on Sixth or Seventh Party System thinking? Definitively Seventh. Her bucking against lockdowns alone attests to that, but she also understands modern communication styles. Her style is also perfectly suited for “wholesome” midwestern states like Wisconsin and Minnesota.
We don’t yet know what she wants to do, but she has far more auctoritas than she had before. She should easily win reelection in 2022, and from there, she has made some indications of higher aspirations.
Black Lives Matter and ANTIFA
Yes, the general public hates these groups (as seen in the election results), but their function is not to win approval from them. Their function is to act as the oligarchs’ militia and they have succeeded in that mission. They successfully intimidated politicians, corporations, and cultural organizations into doing their bidding and they have received semi-official sanction as such. Year Zero is much more advanced than before because of them.
The Democrats’ fastest-rising star, the only one that actually increased his auctoritas this year, was surprisingly Pete Buttigieg. Cackling Kamala Harris might have been given the backdoor to power, but she still has no organic support and never will. Pete Buttigieg, though, “won” Iowa, and has parlayed his loyalty pledge to the corpse into a promotion to a platform he could potentially use for further national prominence.
Escaping electoral defeat and the inevitable lockdown backlash, and with time on his side, he has many options to increase his profile and seek further advancement.
“Science” and Public Health
Just as the media in 2016, no one will ever look at “science” and “public health experts” the same way again after 2020. They did impose their will, but they shattered their credibility as objective experts for a long time to come, if not forever. Their disastrous predictions and constant flip flopping on the coronavirus was bad enough, but the way they threw their support behind the insurrection in the summer after months of telling everyone to stay indoors and apart was the crossing of the Rubicon moment for them.
We have now come to understand that these “health” officials, bureaucracies, and modelers are simply a division for the oligarchs in their information warfare army. They should be treated accordingly.
Few have proven a worse, more disgraceful “leader” than Nancy Pelosi this year. While stimulus negotiations were ongoing in March, during what we can call the “fog of war” period, she was on late night television talking about her gourmet ice cream as businesses closed. She then held another stimulus up for months and plunged millions into poverty and despair in an attempt to hurt President Trump. Along the way, she violated her own mask rules while going into a hair salon, and then attempted to put that salon’s owner out of business for talking about it.
The invective of Achilles against Agememnon in the opening act of the Iliad comes to mind: “King who devours his people.” Or in this case, queen.
But Ma’at and the long arm of Cicero struck her. Democrats were destroyed in the House races this year. Clearly, the public blamed her much more than they blamed President Trump. Democrats retain their majority, but it is a feeble rump, a rump which will certainly be wiped out in 2022, along with her speakership – for good this time. Whether she announces her retirement or her lust for power lasts until the end, she will be driven into disgraceful exile in short order, just as she deserves.
No individual has lost more auctoritas in 2020 than Nancy Pelosi.
The Democratic Party
As it turns out, there isn’t much of an appetite for lockdowns, riots, and cultural revolution. The party’s full-throated embrace of its militias and the economic ruin of the working and middle class backfired spectacularly at the ballot box. The unique, pathological hatred of Donald Trump may have given them just enough votes in the Electoral College to oust him (in fact, the corpse’s victory by 44,000 votes in three states was even narrower than Trump’s 77,000 votes in three states in 2016), but the party’s message is just not popular outside of its increasingly elite, narrow enclaves.
More and more, the Democratic Party is going to need to rely on its (currently) superior institutional and propaganda apparatus to win elections, rather than the strength of its message.
The degree to which they can do so depends on how well the Republicans are able to seize the realignment, build up their own institutional counterweights, and damage the Democratic apparatus with measures like Section 230 reform and antitrust law.
Richard Baris at People’s Pundit. Robert Cahaly at Trafalgar. Matt Towery at InsiderAdvantage. Ann Seltzer for Iowa at the Des Moines Register. The people at Susquehanna. Data Orbital and maybe OH Predictive Insights for Arizona.
Those are the only pollsters worth your time. Everyone else failed miserably, and, I think, deliberately.
Pollsters failed terribly in 2016, then followed it up with even worse failure in 2018 at the state level, but covered up their tracks that year with the generic congressional ballot. The failures just keep getting worse. Everyone knows it now. This year was a debacle.
Pollsters lost most of their credibility in 2016. It’s all gone now. Regard any polls not specifically listed above as part of the oligarchs’ propaganda apparatus.
Donald Trump is a loser of 2020 because he lost reelection (in however a manner that may have been). That is a heavy blow to the populist movement here and abroad, but in many respects it is the best case “loss” scenario. The victory of his enemies feels tainted no matter what happens. Because of that, and Republican performance elsewhere, Donald Trump has not actually lost any auctoritas, despite all the hysteria from day one of his presidency and even the Chinese virus, vaccines for which he can now claim credit for delivering. Those vaccines, and the perception that he was robbed, actually add to his auctoritas.
If Donald Trump runs again (I hope not, but that we will save that for another day), he will be the front runner. Even potential Seventh Party System heirs like Marco Rubio acknowledge this.
Forge the character you need to be part of America’s victory over the Chinese Communist Party by reading Lives of the Luminaries.