Mapping the Current U.S. Political Terrain

As I write this, there are just hours remaining in the Trump presidency. While his term has been an unmitigated disaster, with every day providing still more examples of the man’s callousness, narcissism, and venality, it would be a mistake to view his presidency as some sort of anomaly, a deviation from “who we are” as a country. Rather, it is symptomatic of deeper problems in the U.S. polity, for which the establishment of both parties bear significant responsibility.

When Joe Biden takes office tomorrow, the personnel in the U.S. government will change, but the deeper problems remain to be addressed. This creates a unique set of challenges and opportunities for those committed to addressing the pathologies that gave us not only Trump, but Trumpism.

I wrote a pair of articles for Jacobin which have appeared in recent weeks that seek to make sense of the current political moment. The first maps out the broad contours of the political terrain, while the second lays out the challenges and opportunities facing the U.S. Left. They represent my attempt to make sense of recent events, particularly the spectacle that has unfolded in the aftermath of the November 3 election leading up to the January 6 riots at the Capitol, in light of broader questions I’ve been mulling over regarding the state of U.S. politics and movements.

Regardless of what happens in the weeks and months ahead, I will be revisiting and probably revising the analysis I present here.

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