7. The Democratic Party, As We Know It, Dies

Democrats spent months agonizing over how they lost to Donald Trump in 2016, with theories ranging from Clinton campaign incompetence to media hostility to sexism to James Comey’s unhelpful letters to sheer bad luck based on the distribution of a handful of votes in a few states. But a Democratic Party that manages to lose twice to Donald Trump — the second time after four years of the bizarre national experience of watching him in office — simply has to look at the donkey in the mirror.

It’s possible, I suppose, that the identity of a 2020 Democratic loser could clearly point the way forward. If, for example, Joe Biden won the nomination and lost to Trump, he’d probably be the last Clinton-Obama centrist to win a presidential nomination for a good while, and if Bernie Sanders won the nomination and lost in November the long-discussed theory that left-bent candidates are actually more electable would take a major hit. But more likely, the suspicion will spread that the Democratic brand itself is toxic, if it simply can’t overcome an opponent like Trump.