This suits corporate interests just fine. At the end of the day it does not matter what you think about rainbow logos or CEOs praising the current administration. Nor does it matter, apparently, whether the rest of the country is plunged into the worst employment and housing crisis in living memory. Goldman Sachs is still going to bring in record revenue. Jeff Bezos is going to keep getting richer.

This brings us to the other, more important sense in which the upcoming election is about brands. The fact that “brand” has become the preferred term for referring to the augmented reality versions of ourselves we construct on the internet is revealing. We are a consumer society, and we not only “market” ourselves but respond to the behavior of others as if we were evaluating products for sale. This includes politicians, who not only participate in the actual brand discourse but communicate with us at the level of YouTube influencers or, as the case may be, aging sports stars hawking Medicare supplemental insurance on daytime television. The Donald Trump presidential brand is as identifiable as Coca-Cola, if somewhat less popular. What about Joe Biden™? It’s something of a mystery flavor, but if you really hate orange you are going to peel the wrapper off and try your luck regardless. This is what democracy looks like.