“I claim the Red Planet for Red!” Those were Elon Musk’s ringing words when he set foot on Mars in 2047. Having gotten there first, Musk claimed the entire fourth planet for the Red Bloc, the conservative subdivision of the United States (with SpaceX, of course, as the designated trustee for the extraterrestrial territory).
For its part, the Blue Bloc was not pleased. After all, the trillions of crypto- and astro-dollars flowing to Red would upset the intra-U.S. balance of power. Even worse, Red states made no commitment to helping Blue states pay for slavery reparations.
So Blue did what it did best: It litigated. Blue sued Musk over Mars and won. But the Redman prevailed in the end, because Blue had no way to enforce its rulings. As Musk said dismissively, “Justice Marshall has made his decision; let him enforce it!” Musk was referring, of course, to Chief Justice Thurgood Marshall V. Yet, in fact, over the previous decades, Red and Blue had built up parallel political and legal institutions, enabling divergent development. One key decision came when Musk prodded Texas to create an enterprise zone for him in the Gulf of Mexico. It was a Sanctuary Space City, Musk and Texas argued, and thus beyond the reach of federal enforcement.
Redders still savor the moment when they bonded forever with Musk, the California techie who burned his bridges with Blue. It was in 2023, when he was videotaped firing a machine gun. The headline in the ultra-zeitgeistial Daily Mail summed it up: “Elon Musk infuriates liberals with viral video of him hip-firing his enormous Barrett .50-caliber machine gun… to the joy of Republicans who brand him ‘the best billionaire out there.’” Musk later spoke to an NRA convention, reciting the incantatory “cold dead hands” and further declaring, “There will be no gun control on Mars!” After that, Musk was an almost Moses-like figure, guiding the Redites to their destiny.
Yet all was hardly quiet on the Blue front. Blue had its own policies, which it had been developing in the intervening decades: tech, trans, and Tesla (Musk having sold his car company to the Harvard University endowment so that he could focus on rockets).
Of course, these Blue choices deepened the division with Red. And so Red hit back in a way that polarized the argument further: Blue America was labeled “Sorosland.” To be sure, the actual George Soros, born in 1930, was by then not a factor, yet his multi-billion-dollar philanthrocapitalist empire proved to be immortal. In the hands of his son Alexander, the dynasty flourished, pushing progressive anti-prosecution policies. That continuity allowed Red to knock Blue by simply saying “Soros,” without bothering to distinguish between father and family. Indeed, Red labeled devastated Blue cities “Sorosvilles” and further hit upon the disease-y epithets “Sorosis” and “Soriasis.” Such name-calling got Blue’s back up, and so Blue chose to “own” the S-word. Hence the regular Blue–Red cleavage came to be pitched as Sorosia vs. Musk Country. Two foreign-born figures defining regions; there was a sort of symmetry there.
As the two blocs dug in, competitive general elections seemed a luxury neither side could afford. Instead, the big battle now was the respective party primary: the Republican in Red, the Democratic in Blue. In Musk’s territory, the winning candidate had to have the X endorsement, especially after vote-counting was shifted to the X platform. As for Soros Blue, voting was counted on the apps of various left-leaning social-media brands, including Threads, Bluesky, and LinkedIn. Democrats never lost.
The two sides, Red and Blue, had different visions of economic and social development. Red was tax cuts and abortion restrictions; Reds figured that if women (Red still used that term) went to Blue to get abortions, they might not come back, thereby further reddening Red. At the same time, Blue was AI and green energy, and that seemed to even out: The extra profits Blue made on AI were plowed back into solar panels and windmills. But, to Blue, the snobby psychic income was worth the cost: Green was the new Gucci.
The immigration issue was trickier, given the checkerboard pattern of Red and Blue in some places. Yet Red soon realized that new arrivals could be managed if they were denied citizenship and, thus, social benefits — social welfare now being a states’ rights issue. That is, foreigners could stay in Red if they were willing to work; otherwise, they would have to go to Blue. Critics called the Red system a revival of the bracero program, but defenders, slyly recalling their Right to Work heritage, regarded the two-tier approach as a nifty plan for de-solidarizing the working class, pushing down the risk of unionization. Red workers would get red-meat social issues, instead.
However, Red workers had no desire to move to Blue, as Blue was, in fact, crime-ridden — and the new AI UBI only further swelled the lumpenproletariat. As one Red proletarian said, “If you can’t have a gun in Blue, you ain’t safe.”
Other issues, too, had to be sorted out between the two nations-within-a-nation. For instance, the waning power of the federal government. Blue had always had a firm grip on the Administrative State, of course, and deployed it to great effect — for as long as it could. One stratagem was accelerating land takings for national parks and the like, aiming to undercut Red’s extractive economy, seeking to reduce Muskia to dependent colonial status. Yet eventually, as we know, Red took matters into its own gun-totin’ hands; the result was the “dissolution of the properties,” as Red reclaimed its land and recommenced mining and drilling.
Yet if Blue lost its colonies in the West, it gained them in the East — the East, of course, across the Atlantic. Blue made its deal with the European Union; as Gavin Newsom exulted back in the ’20s, “The Blue Bloc now reaches from San Francisco to Kyiv!” In response, Red made its own transatlantic linkages, with the rogue EU state of Hungary and the even more right-wing Israel.
But Blue had more cards to play. The Sorosians had long dominated content-providing, putting Red on the defensive with accusations of racism and the polyphobias. Yet, over time, Red found its cultural and digital footing. Indeed, soon the process was automated; for every attack by a Blue chatterer, a Red bot hit back. Soon enough, Red politicians were reveling in Blue hostility; each item of scorn was tallied up on the Dallas dashboard, counted as a badge of honor. Frustrated by their powerlessness, Blue memers turned inward, focusing on purging their own racism, once and for all.
In the meantime, Musk had figured out that so long as there wasn’t open warfare between Red and Blue, the capital markets — even companies such as BlueRock — were okay with lending him money for his increasingly ambitious space ventures, including the mission to Mars. NASA had, of course, shriveled in the Red–Blue divide, and yet money for Musk was not a problem, because he had shrewdly wangled Red’s way out of the collectivist Outer Space Treaty of 1967, the document that made the Great Society look conservative. Musk argued that he and Red weren’t bound by that 20th-century deal, and the Supreme Court in Tallahassee agreed. As a result of this free-enterprise affirmation, the prospect of profitability in space, beyond satellites, hove into view. Now everything from asteroid mining to astral homesteading to planetary terraforming could be a moneymaker.
And in 2047, Musk achieved his residency on Mars. Conservatives composed a song of praise, “The Universe Is Red,” and the overall geopolitical implications were, well, galactic. Yet back on earth, Soros Blue could still claim a victory of its own. In that same year, Sorosia achieved Net Zero on carbon dioxide emissions, three years ahead of the 2050 target. Admittedly, China, India, and 50 other countries weren’t on board, but Blue was true to itself. It was that sincerity, that transparent truth in packaging, that mattered most to Blue’s president, Lia Thomas.