The Media made it all possible. Spreading fear, promoting death counts, infection counts, and using the Chinese virus to make money.
Meanwhile, the media became the oligarchy’s public relations department. Very much including ordinary commercial advertising, it hammered home the oligarchy’s line that COVID restrictions are good, even cool. These restrictions reduced the ideas available to the American people to what the mass media purveyed and the social media allowed. Already by April 2020, these used what had become near-monopoly power over interpersonal communications to censor such communications as they disapproved. Political enforcers took it upon themselves even to cancel statements by eminent physicians about COVID that they judged to be “misleading.” Of course, this betrayed the tech giants’ initial promise of universal access. It is also unconstitutional. (In Marsh v. Alabama, decided in 1946, the Supreme Court barred private parties from acting as de facto governments). Since these companies did it in unison, they also violated the 1890 Sherman Antitrust Act. But the ruling class that had become an oligarchy applauded their disabling whatever might be conducive to conservatives’ interests and inconvenient to their own candidates.
Private entities wielding public powers in coordination with each other without having to observe any of government’s constitutional constraints is as good a definition of oligarchy as there is. Oligarchy had increasingly taken power in the buildup to the 2020 election. In its aftermath, it would try to suffocate America.