It’s as if the coronavirus has taught the American people that we don’t even need the political process as an occasion for venting hatred at each other anymore. An opinion on masks or hydroxychloroquine will do the job just fine.

Before COVID, and when it seemed a Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren nomination was a real possibility, I was mentally preparing for an even worse election season than 2016. That summer featured something that veered close to a full-blown riot at the Chicago Trump rally. And the election aftermath led to actual murder sprees and attempted-murder sprees by men who became unglued in that fetid atmosphere.

To be honest, people I know connected to politics and political commentary were starting to think differently about their personal security in this environment, fearing that another round of this insanity would bring about more encounters with doorstep psychos or acid attacks.

But all of that is on hold for now. It’s as if once the immediate stakes of political decisions went up, our political culture immediately became less fraught. I don’t want to go back.