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The election of 2016 was a shock. The election of 2020 was tragic. What happened in between was catastrophic.

It didn’t happen immediately, of course. The economic recovery after the Great Recession of 2008 was steady and robust by the waning months of the unremarkable and traditional eight-year administration that was elected a few months into its inception. As flawed as it was, it continued unabated, despite actions and expectations of the new administration, for another three years. While the name of the president who orchestrated this unprecedented recuperation is inexplicably lost to history, and notably missing in every recovered official document, we do know his administration served as a motivational factor for his successor to surreptitiously yet systematically dismantle governmental stewardship ranging from environmental measures to economic and civil liberties.

These substantive but subtle changes became apparent a fracture at a time, culminating in the impeachment of President Trump, but it took a popular uprising amidst a worldwide plague to expose not only the cracks in the norms and practices of cherished institutions, but also the political self-image of the populace itself.
That plague, the Covid pandemic that emerged and spread during the Year of the Last Election seemed mild at first, at least in that it could be mitigated. Initial infections and the resulting deaths were, of course, distressing, but as they seemed to wane, those that worshiped an “economy” won out over more prudent voices. The summer of 2020 was a phantom, an echo of the past that would be lost forever, a dream that was proven ephemeral by the onset of autumn.

No one knows with certainty who won the election of 2020. All we know is that the presiding administration continued, and was ill-equipped to handle the on-slot of political and environmental challenges it faced.

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