This is not a plausible voter psychology. But what is psychologically all-too-plausible is that Democrats are in denial about what American voters want and why they rejected Hillary Clinton in a majority of states in 2016. Rather than admitting the painful truth, which is that the Democrats will always have a hard time winning states that add up to a majority of electoral votes so long as they field candidates like Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden, Democrats prefer to imagine that James Comey handed the election to Donald Trump by announcing in October 2016 that an FBI investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails was being reopened. If the Russians didn’t elect Donald Trump, then James Comey did — anybody but the American people. Because if the American people elected Donald Trump, it means they chose someone even as shocking as Trump over the respectable liberal agenda that Clinton embodied, and which Biden now champions.

The Democrats’ psychology is mirrored by that of the pundits, not just because the pundits tend to be Democratic-leaning but because the same fear of rejection applies to almost everyone in the pundit class. NeverTrump Republicans and neoconservatives could not, and still cannot, accept the idea that their program has been so thoroughly repudiated by the public that voters would rather have someone like Donald Trump in the White House than anyone who supports the Bush-McCain-Romney vision of the country.