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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.

Tina Reed, author of Vitals
7 mins ago - Health

Health care workers hit new breaking point

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

The ranks of health care workers are dwindling and stretching what it means to be reaching their "breaking points," particularly at small nonprofit hospitals.

The big picture: Even as Omicron cases have begun to wane in some places, many hospitals are still fielding a crush of patients amid record employee callouts.

Sarah Palin tests positive for COVID, delaying defamation trial

Sarah Palin. Photo: Matthew Staver/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday, delaying the start of her defamation trial against the New York Times.

Why it matters: The trial will be closely watched, as it's a rare instance of a major media company defending its editorial practices before an American jury.