Consider also the Trump record on appointments. The press is full of articles about the number of important positions still unfilled. True enough — and true also of the early Obama, Bush, and Clinton administrations. It’s an inevitable result of the detailed disclosure requirements and Senate confirmation process required by statute.

And there have been headlines after the firing, only 24 days into the job, of national-security adviser Michael Flynn.

But some of Trump’s appointments have been clearly first-rate. Defense Secretary James Mattis and new national-security adviser H. R. McMaster not only bring records of impressive accomplishments as military leaders and thinkers but also have shown a steady willingness to speak truth to power.

Then there’s Judge Neil Gorsuch, who appears certain to be confirmed for the Supreme Court. In his engagingly written opinions as an appeals-court judge, he has shown an openness to arguments from all ideological sides and to qualms about an ever-expanding administrative state.

These are not the kind of people you would appoint to the highest positions if you aspired to impose authoritarian rule over a free people.