(from Wikipedia, updated June 2041, now hosted in Switzerland)

It is widely acknowledged that the beginning of the end occurred when Donald Trump was elected the 45th president of the United States.  In the run-up to his official term, he stocked his cabinet with unprecedented wealth and moneyed influence.  To this uniquely endowed ruling class, the price of a U.S. general was suddenly very affordable, “chicken feed” even.

Checks and balances had failed to stop things to this point and they certainly proved to be no match for serious money.  So quietly, behind the scenes, the Trump administration made arrangements with commanders in all four branches of the military.

With consolidation of their power base assured by military backing, rumors spread through Washington and the writing was on the wall: if you wanted “in”, you played the game. If not, “draining the swamp” became Trump-speak for eliminating those politicians who dissented.

Chinese relations soured

Even before his taking office, Trump was saber rattling with the Chinese and he let it be known he would be no friend of theirs.

With the advent of prohibitive tariffs, Walmart’s shelves moved from being stocked with “made in China” to “made in Russia” which was deemed to not be of equal quality, but nonetheless was what people could afford.  Merchandise was either not as well finished, broke soon after purchase, or even never worked at all.

In keeping with the prevailing “business first” ethos, import inspections were relaxed.  Specifically, although regulations regarding lead paint were not changed, inspectors looked the other way, resulting in a large number of babies and small children falling ill with lead poisoning.

The immigrants and the economy

The new “get tough” attitude on undocumented workers meant that traditional Latino-dominated industries such as harvesting crops, meat packing, yard care, nanny service, house cleaning, and such became much more expensive.

In particular, the spike in food prices hit everyone, but of course disproportionately affected the poor as it was a bigger percentage of their income.

In addition to higher food prices, this ultimately resulted  in a loss of American jobs as companies found it cheaper to import frozen food than to produce the food here.  Fresh produce therefore became exorbitant and scarce.

Nuclear attacks, December 12th, 2019

Historians are still not clear on what ultimately provoked the nuclear exchange with China, but there are indications it was triggered simply by a news article from Beijing which lampooned Donald Trump in the wake of the latest tariff increases.  He reportedly sent three tweets at around 4:20 am Eastern (quickly deleted) followed by an order to launch at about 4:35 am.

China responded in kind and although only 8% of our weapons and 6% of theirs got through, the 34 nukes which landed on the Western US and the financial centers of New York were enough to completely wipe out those areas resulting in the immediate death of at least 18 million Americans.  Our missiles killed approximately the same number of Chinese in Beijing and other population centers.

Injuries and radiation sickness afflicted another 20 million Americans and at least as many Chinese.

The undeclared war was over as soon as it had begun, with no second volley being fired.  An effort was made to spin the attack as provoked and justified in the face of various ostensible Chinese acts of aggression, but ultimately it may have been as simple as Donald Trump reacting to being the object of derision.

The Internet was down globally for almost a month, and slowly sputtered back to life in certain areas.  Google was probably the most effectively decentralized and was one of the first major services back online.  Amazon suffered major losses both in terms of their infrastructure and their staffing, and was forced to relocate to the Phoenix area to recruit talent, as the West Coast was largely destroyed and uninhabitable.  This of course drained vital technical talent out of Phoenix’s other industries: insurance companies, airlines, healthcare companies, and banks.

Speaking of banks, the destruction of the New York-based financial markets threw global markets into an uproar, which resulted in an unprecedented crash globally, with many people losing their life savings, and still more their livelihoods.

Canceled elections

In the ensuing panic and confusion, elections were cancelled in 2020 and Donald Trump remained acting commander in chief.  The military was largely unneeded to maintain civil order as the local citizen militias, ironically intended to protect against government tyranny, sprang into action to quash demonstrations and protests.  Their efforts were loosely coordinated through a series of web sites which could not be directly linked with the government, allowing the government to keep their skirts clean and not sully themselves with the attacks on their own people.

Legal prosecution was scant to non-existent and although laws remained in effect, they were ignored or police were simply too busy to identify the perpetrators.

Sham Elections

Another election was held in 2024, but egregious voter registration processes were in place leading to the citizenry suspecting their votes would be traced back to individual persons.  This led to them choosing to “elect” Donald Trump’s son Donald Trump Jr. by an historic margin.  As such, the elections were largely deemed to be a sham on the order of the worst examples from Latin America.

The end of democracy

By 2026, any semblance of democracy was vanishing and the government was transitioning to a plutocracy/dictatorship finally resulting in the complete abolition of state governments and the renaming of the United States to simply “America” effective 2027.

The system of government in which so many had had absolute faith had been surprisingly easy to subvert by men with a will do to so, and the spoils for doing so were enormous.

And so ended the greatest experiment in freedom and democracy, ignominiously destroyed in only 251 years by the old familiar human forces of wealth, greed, and lust for power.