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Five trends that will shape America in 2021

President-elect Biden will spend 2021 trying to return America to what he considers a more normal time, while President Trump tries to lock down control of the GOP — all at a time when misinformation and alternate narratives get even worse.

  • Here are five of the biggest storylines that will shape America next year, according to Axios experts — from politics to business, technology and media.

Biden is going to be "a man on a small, lonely island trying to unite the country," attempting to restore civility and return to normal in an America where that's no longer possible, Axios' Margaret Talev reports.

  • "I think the only thing he really controls is himself, and that's [why] he'll try to use the bully pulpit."

President Trump's expected announcement that he'll run for president again in 2024 allows him "to freeze the Republican Party in place," Axios' Jonathan Swan reports. The timing isn't imminent, but when it happens, "he will try to control the Republican National Committee ... and he's going to try to squash the prospective 2024 Republican field."

  • And to those Republicans who want to run in 2024 themselves and hope Trump will walk off into the sunset: "He ain't doing that."

The rise of alternate universes is on track to get even worse, per Axios' Sara Fischer. "The information economy definitely favors speed and scale, as well as hyperbole. It does not favor facts and measured reporting."

  • "I think there have been a lot of people who have weaponized that reality, including the president. If you want to get a message across, it's actually easier to do it and drive more engagement around it by being sort of hyperbolic and being untruthful than it is being truthful."

If any real moves to crack down on the power of Big Tech happen, they're more likely to come from the regulatory agencies — like the Justice Department or the Federal Trade Commission — than from Congress, Axios' Ina Fried reports.

  • Yes, but: "The tech companies generally move faster than the regulatory agencies even when the regulatory agencies are actively investigating. That's not a good prognosis for change."

The Federal Reserve "has created this environment where there's no such thing as risk," but that can't go on forever and Wall Street knows it, per Axios' Dion Rabouin.

  • "It's the make-believe economy ... The nuts and bolts of buyers and sellers, of the market, of creating products and selling things, that's not going well at all. But the Fed has just said, if the stock market goes down, we will be here with our fake funny money."

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Driving the news: Following the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol by some supporters of President Trump, the FBI has said there could be armed protests in D.C. and in all 50 state capitols in the run-up to President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration Wednesday.

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Episode 1: Trump’s refusal to believe the election results was premeditated. He had heard about the “red mirage” — the likelihood that early vote counts would tip more Republican than the final tallies — and he decided to exploit it.

"Jared, you call the Murdochs! Jason, you call Sammon and Hemmer!”

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Why it matters: Laschet is now the most likely successor to Chancellor Angela Merkel as the standard bearer of the German center-right heading into September's elections. With Merkel preparing to step down after 16 years in power, Laschet is seen as a continuity candidate.

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