But let’s circle back to events. Here is one thing that’s almost certainly predictable after a decisive Trump loss—Democratic overreach. Democrats would invariably read their victory not just as a negative referendum on Trump, but also as a positive referendum on the party’s progressive agenda. Unless Joe Biden has the discipline to hold his party back, progressives would likely reach as far as they possibly could to seize the moment.
I’d expect the legislative filibuster to fall if Republicans try to block Biden’s signature legislative initiatives. I don’t expect court-packing, but I’d then expect a rush of legislation on health care, climate change, and gun rights that could well eclipse anything Obama was able to accomplish back when both parties played by the old rules.
The triumphalism of the Democrats would stretch across the full spectrum of politics and culture. The left would likely view Trump’s single term as the last gasp of a dying right—a fluke born of Hillary Clinton’s singularly and historically bad campaign. Far from stopping the left, the Trump term will have supercharged and energized it. It would have made possible progressive gains that Hillary could never have achieved.
But that progressive momentum will be artificial. It will be the fruit of the poisonous tree of Trump’s nomination and election. It will not be the result of a genuine transformation of the American electorate. And so, expect the GOP to come back. Perhaps not as quickly as it did in 2010, but our nation is still too polarized for true political and ideological dominance. Any party that reaches too far pays the price.