Waking up in 2030

What will this 2030-in-2022 look like? First, certain key cultural institutions will be increasingly consolidated and concentrated, academia and journalism especially. In the newspaper industry much of this process happened already, but Covid is delivering a swifter coup de grâce to midsize daily newspapers and online start-ups, and handing advantages to a few national entities (ahem) that they might have otherwise taken five or 10 more years to gain…

In religion, the pandemic may strengthen certain forms of faith, but that won’t save institutional churches from what Fordham’s David Gibson calls a “religion recession” caused by falling donations and shrunken attendance. Smaller churches may suffer most, for the same tight-margins, high-overhead reasons that restaurants are going under. But big religious bodies like Roman Catholicism and the Southern Baptists will probably decline as well, in a hurried-up version of the decay that awaited them with the next decade’s worth of generational turnover. (Any Catholic diocese that had a 10-year plan for closing or consolidating schools or parishes, for instance, can expect to do the same thing but much faster.)

In politics, similarly, what was likely to be a slow-motion leftward shift, as the less-married, less-religious, more ethnically diverse younger generation gained more power, is being accelerated nationally by the catastrophes of the Trump administration, which is putting states in play for Democrats five or 10 years early.