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Just Asking

It’s 2050. Does the United States of America as We Once Knew It Still Exist?

We asked 12 writers for their predictions—and recommendations for how to save democracy.

What is the future of our divided land? It’s a question at which some people scoff, and one that others just want to avoid. At The New Republic, we think, sadly, that it’s a question we have to confront. So we asked 12 people we admire—writers, academics, politicians, activists—to imagine that it’s 2050. Does the United States of America still exist in its current form?

If a United States remains in 2050, will it be the multicultural liberal democracy that we want it to be—or something else? Is continued union really possible, given the way things are headed? More provocatively, is it even desirable? Some of the Anti-Federalists certainly thought this was too big a country, its interests too diverse, to consecrate into one nation. Could they have been right?

The good news: No writer quite said it’s all hopeless. Indeed, most of our contributors found some thin reed on which to hang some hope. But, as a whole, the responses affirm the premise of the exercise. Yes, we have to think hard about this question. We have to think particularly hard about how to make sure that the America of 2050, if it does still exist, is the one we want.