We all remember the frightening days of the early regime, when an ascendant autocrat demanded unlimited power and a compliant Republican Congress went along. The first days of the new state media conglomerate were earth-shattering as respected journalists were fired or imprisoned. National economic councils planned to organize U.S. business to achieve “a new national, social, industrial, and economic mobilization on a scale not seen since World War II and the New Deal era,” upending markets around the globe. Trumpism reached into every corner of national life. Or maybe we don’t remember those things. Because they never happened.
Instead of the abolition of democracy we got angry tweets about some media being “the enemy of the people.” Instead of concentration of political power in one man’s hands, we got a White House so disorganized that people inside openly flouted the president’s desires. Instead of economic centralization, we got turbocharged capitalism — thanks to the 2017 Republican tax cut. And we got an election where the opposition mobilized a record-high turnout and won back control of the House.
We didn’t get fascism; we got a bizarro-world reality show set in the West Wing.