Every single event in our public life is now instantly swept up into the centrifugal whirlwind of a political culture in which the center has completely failed to hold. Democrats are increasingly defined by their hatred of Republicans, just as Republicans manage to agree about little besides their loathing of Democrats.

A few noble souls strive valiantly (and in all likelihood futilely) to keep alive a more vibrant, genuinely public-spirited, and positive vision of political engagement that places the common good of the country as a whole ahead of the good of its tribal parts. But such efforts push against powerful counter-trends that threaten to turn what remains of the political center into a vacuum characterized mainly by its disgust for partisans of every stripe.