The Republican Party’s shift towards the far-right since the 1980s paved the way for Trump’s neo-fascist campaign. Trump’s agenda and rhetoric were not drastically different from the Republican establishment, which largely embraced winner-take-all economics, anti-intellectualism, disinformation, conspiracy-mongering, authoritarianism, racist dog-whistle messages, and torturing Muslims suspected of terrorism. Trumpism was an intensification of this ideology, not a departure from it. But America’s decline after little more than a century as a superpower still seems far from inevitable. It remains the world’s strongest economy. It is a leader in technology and many other fields. Its universities are widely recognized as the best in the world. It has great thinkers and innovators. In sum, there is much to admire about contemporary America and it is not too late to address the aspects of American exceptionalism that may precipitate its decline.
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