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A man takes a photo of broken windows near the rotunda in the early morning hours after the siege. Photo: Andrew Harnik/AP

The United States, torn apart by insurrection and mass misinformation, is witnessing a political and social realignment unfold in real time: We’re splitting into three Americas.

Why it matters: America, in its modern foundational components, is breaking into blue America, red America, and Trump America — all with distinct politics, social networks and media channels.

The existential question for Republicans, and perhaps for America, is whether Trump America — animated by the likes of Newsmax + Rush Limbaugh + Tucker Carlson + Parler (or whatever replaces it) — eclipses the traditional Red America in power in the coming years.

  • The danger: Parts of Trump America, canceled by Twitter and so many others, are severing their ties to the realities of the other Americas, and basically going underground. There will be less awareness and perhaps scrutiny of what's being said and done.
  • Axios' Sara Fischer reports that Apptopia shows a surge in downloads for conservative-friendly social networks — Parler, MeWe and Rumble — in the past two days, following Trump bans by mainstream social media and tech.

The big picture: The Republican Party is splitting into two, starting with the relatively small Never Trumpers breaking off in 2016 and joined four years later by a new slice of establishment Republicans repulsed by President Trump's post-election actions.

  • We have no clue how big this faction will grow. But it seems clear that the Trump vs. them saga will dominate the coming months, and maybe years.

There's no hard evidence yet that Trump America has shrunk significantly, despite the lies about the election and mob assault on the U.S. Capitol.

  • There is hard evidence Trumpers are flocking to social media groups and hard-right outlets like Newsmax to get and share news that reinforces their views.
  • It'll take a while to determine if voters share the anti-Trump views of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell or Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska).
  • Twitter's decision to permanently suspend Trump forces this faction further underground.

Blue America is ascendant in almost every area:

  • It won control of the House, Senate and White House; dominates traditional media; owns, controls and lives on the dominant social platforms; and has the employee-level power at Big Tech companies to force corporate decisions.

The bottom line: Now, more than ever, is the time to read and reflect: Our nation is rethinking politics, free speech, the definition of truth and the price of lies. This moment — and our decisions — will be studied by our kid's grandkids.

Go deeper

App rush: Talent over trash

Data: Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University. Chart: Michelle McGhee/Axios

Amid the sea of pollution on social media, another class of apps is soaring in popularity: The creators are paid, putting a premium on talent instead of just noise.

The big picture: Creator-economy platforms like Patreon, Substack and OnlyFans are built around content makers who are paid. It's a contrast to platforms like Facebook that are mostly powered by everyday users’ unpaid posts and interactions.

FAA clears more planes after 5G fears

Photo: David McNew/Getty Images

The Federal Aviation Administration said Thursday it had approved nearly 80% of the U.S. commercial fleet to perform low-visibility landings at airports with new 5G services after fears of signal interference limited 5G rollout.

Why it matters: The FAA approvals will help provide more certainty after the agency raised fears that 5G signals could reduce the accuracy of certain equipment, known as radio altimeters, that helps planes land and take off in inclement weather.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
3 hours ago - Economy & Business

Peloton stock tanks on report of production halt

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Peloton stock fell by as much as 25% on Thursday, following a CNBC report that the connected fitness company will temporarily halt production on its bikes and treadmills.

Why it matters: Peloton is viewed by many as a proxy for consumer behavior in the pandemic era, as its popularity surged when gyms closed and people wanted to exercise at home.