We cannot allow the current state of affairs, in which the loss of a presidential election is met with ever wilder and more vicious attempts to immobilize the executive, to become the new normal. We cannot treat every lost election as an illegitimate one — which is precisely the direction in which the Democrats have us pointed at the moment. Our federal government already is dysfunctional, and that kind of banana-republic total-war opposition, carried on without rest or relief, will lead to a country that is truly ungovernable and not simply acting ungovernable for short-term political reasons. Driving Trump from office would hurt Republicans in the short term. It would hurt Democrats a great deal very soon after. And, much more important, it would do great violence to our constitutional order and our long and proud history of regular government. The Yorks wouldn’t have peace with a Lancaster on the throne, and vice versa, but the United States of America is a republic. Fortunately, the president is only the chief administrator of the federal government, not a personification of the national ideal.

There are two ways to come off a ledge, and Americans should choose carefully.