Donald Trump is not, in our vision, the worst potential outcome. But he has claimed the mantle of “law and order” for only himself and his allies. For all others who would enjoy the liberties and protections of the United States Constitution, the “rule of law” is no more than a faded and peeling bumper sticker.

He has run roughshod over the traditions and institutions that are supposed to allow Americans—all Americans—the freedom to do what they believe is right for themselves, their families, and their communities, without the fear and uncertainty that strongmen and zealots create.

He is, for now, the most powerful exponent of a political system in dire need of wresting away from those who would utilize its levers for their own purposes, who would leave America weaker, and who would certainly leave individual citizens worse off for their trouble.

Donald Trump’s supporters showed a level of strength and unity that took us by surprise. There are many reasons for that, and many other places to find explanations. Unfortunately, their strength has unleashed forces long constrained both by institutions and by traditions. Those bulwarks of liberty lie broken and breached. This may give the president’s supporters momentary joy. Left unchecked, it presages a darker future for our country and our children.