How Trump made the fantasy real

And now? Having touched the real world and seen its brief occupation of the Capitol shrivel, I suspect the dreamscape will require time to regain the faith of its less radical adherents, to reshape its narratives to encompass Trump’s defeat. Under a Democratic administration, there will be attempts to deploy law enforcement like ghostbusters crossed with pre-crime units, trying to prevent the very-online from impinging on the real…

What happens to the Republican Party under these conditions? A deeper burrowing into unreality, a partial restoration of realism (depending on liberalism’s own ongoing experiments with fantasy politics) and a permanent fracture are all possible.

But we can say this much, at least, about Trump himself. By allowing his presidency to be possessed by the occult online, he sealed his legacy to the populist causes he sometimes pretended to serve: Their fate, for the time being, can be counted with the bodies of his own supporters, the pitiful, deluded dead.