This period of national crisis has not inspired unity. Americans are aiming their anger at each other, talking past each other, invoking race, class and culture. They cannot even agree on the need to wear a mask to protect against a virus that has killed more than 130,000 Americans…

The traditional battleground states of Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Florida, and emerging ones such as North Carolina and Arizona, have all been hit with the triple shock of a pandemic, recession and an uprising against police abuse. The political fallout is unfolding, leaving a striking degree of uncertainty just four months from Election Day…

The election will provide answers to all these questions, but not necessarily to the central issue of American life in the year 2020: Can the United States pull itself together?

The country is beset by “parties who see each other as ‘the other’ instead of collaborators in a democracy,” says historian Doris Kearns Goodwin.