Pessimism is to conservative politics what pumpkin pie is to Thanksgiving: It’s always on the table. Not long ago about this time of year, liberals would post articles with titles such as, “How to talk to your Uncle Jim at Thanksgiving.” Those pieces had one valid premise—that Uncle Jim would say over his turkey that the world is going to hell, yet again. And on the evidence around some tables, Uncle Jim was right.
In that grumbling spirit, let many of us who are to the right of the 2020 edition of Joe Biden admit that in the runup to the election, we thought a left-wing idiocracy was about to sweep into power. More than a few arch-pessimists believed the curtain was finally falling on Ben Franklin’s warning that the U.S. is “a republic, if you can keep it.”