I try to imagine Democrats nominating and electing a president as unfit as Trump. It’s unthinkable, but what if we did?

I try to imagine voting a top-to-bottom slate of Republicans in 2018, and that, too, is unthinkable. Yet my sparring partner on politics, libertarian conservative David Mastio, who opposes gun restrictions and legal abortion as strongly as I support them, voted a straight Democratic ticket that year in Virginia. “I never thought the day would come, but things more fundamental than policy were on the ballot, things like decency and democracy itself,” he told me.

I try to imagine setting aside what keeps me awake at night: Our massively frustrating struggles to do what other countries consider the minimum for keeping their people healthy and productive. Child care, health care, paid family leave, a robust national public health response to a crisis like COVID. And more fairness: Voting that’s easy and convenient for everyone, courts that reflect our country and its will as expressed in elections, and yes, statehood for my taxed but unrepresented home of D.C.