Attributing an Obama defeat to racism, though, is a weak charge because he is, after all, the incumbent—and so his defenders will need to bolster the America the Pathological diagnosis. That’s where a larger conspiracy would come in: The Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision handed the levers of power to plutocrats like the Koch brothers and Sheldon Adelson.

“Is a ‘Citizens United’ Democracy a Democracy at All?” asked Katrina vanden Heuvel of the Nation recently. Team Obama already has suggested that the election was being bought. “You’ve got a few very wealthy people lining up trying to purchase the White House for Mr. Romney,” said senior White House adviser David Plouffe in October. Added campaign strategist David Axelrod: “They are trying to buy this election.”…

Which brings us to the indictment that could ring loudest of all if Mr. Romney wins: America is ungovernable, democracy not up to the challenge. The United States is “a nation of dodos . . . too dumb to thrive,” Time magazine’s Joe Klein wrote in 2010, after opinion surveys showed the public insufficiently impressed by Mr. Obama’s economic stewardship. Days later, in a column called “Down With the People,” Slate’s Mr. Weisberg wrote that “what may be the biggest culprit in our current predicament [is] the childishness, ignorance, and growing incoherence of the public at large.”

This is familiar territory for progressives.