The nihilistic logic of partisanship for its own sake necessitates this bizarre state of affairs. Absent the endless opportunities for defining themselves against one another, neither party would have anything to do. Can you really imagine a world in which Democrats, having secured control of the White House and both chambers of Congress, implement a series of radical reforms? They had this opportunity a decade ago. What did they do with it? They gave zillions of dollars to the crooks who had just destroyed the American economy and passed the Heritage Foundation’s health-care plan. Then in 2010 Republicans took back the legislature and Democrats spent the rest of President Obama’s first term and the entirety of his second one doing what they do best — whining about Republican intransigence.

History does repeat itself, but in America it’s usually a farce the first time out. When Trump was inaugurated in 2017, the GOP had what appeared to be a broad mandate from the American people to do all sorts of things with their control of both the House and the Senate. What did they actually do with their two years of united government? Pass one moderately popular tax bill.