Both of these pictures are absurd. This is true not only in the narrow sense that, for example, violent unrest is far more likely in the event that Trump is re-elected than if Biden pulls this thing off, but in the broader one that there will be no really meaningful or sweeping changes to the basic underlying structure of American life.

Regardless of who wins in November we will be facing years of lockdown-induced economic downturn. We will still likely be looking at rising crime rates for the foreseeable future. Millions of us will continue to be anxious or depressed. The unworkable public-private hybrid system for the provision of medical care will remain in place. So-called “deaths of despair” will multiply, and the suicide rate will continue to increase. Appalling disparities in wealth, health, and education will persist along racial and geographic lines. Locking people up will be a lucrative private industry, as will the pits of despair in which we place our elderly population. The planet will be despoiled. The most basic organizing principles of our society will still be the consumption of goods made by wage slaves abroad, mindless digital entertainment, and making numbers go up on a screen somewhere. The unborn will be murdered.

The dark times aren’t coming after November. They’re already here. We’re just used to them by now. The laughable fiction that either presidential candidate will do anything to alter this reality is useful for their campaigns and very little else.