It seems likely—or at least possible—that Brexit and acquittal will happen on the same day. Tomorrow Britain will no longer be part of the EU and Donald Trump will be officially innocent of crimes that he clearly committed. This seems altogether appropriate.
Tiny things can change history. Brexit won in June 2016 by only two percentage points. Trump won in November 2016 by about one percentage point in three states. If things had been just slightly different, David Cameron would be sleeping his way through a few more years of being prime minister and Hillary Clinton would be fighting off yet another stupid investigation from Jason Chaffetz.
The fact that they aren’t is a testament that the power of lies and culthood has become overwhelming on both sides of the Atlantic. Brexit was the result of a steady stream of lies about curved bananas and barmaid cleavage, followed by a very specific hail of lies about the NHS and immigrants from Nigel Farage. Trump is the result of a steady stream of lies from the Gingrichified conservative movement, followed by a very specific hail of lies about health care and immigrants from Trump himself.
One common denominator in both of these things is Rupert Murdoch. Without the Murdoch media, it’s unlikely that either Brexit or Trump would have succeeded. What’s most galling about this is that I don’t think Murdoch really cares about either one. He just wants to monetize eyeballs and doesn’t much care how it’s done.
But what’s done is done. Our job now is to spend the next decade trying to return common decency and at least a passing respect for the truth to political life. I’m not sure what odds I’d give on that succeeding now that everyone’s seen the immense success of Murdochization. But we have to try.