I maintain that his victory in the general election was, for all his unacknowledged strengths, a triumph of circumstances. Over and over again before lockdowns were imposed, Biden made it clear that he was incapable of interacting with ordinary Americans without becoming angry or losing his temper. His speeches were a mess, his rallies sparsely attended. The state-imposed bunker mentality gave his campaign an excuse to do as it would have liked under any circumstances: retire and wait for November. The media, the party turnout apparatus, and election rules changes that would almost certainly favor Democrats would do the rest. As it turns out, they did.

One illusion that we should dispel immediately is the notion that President Trump’s defeat is some kind of triumph for “civility” or “decency” or any of those other fetish objects revered by partisans with predictable selectivity. Biden is a political hack who is one angry question from a voter or right-wing journalist away from throwing a temper tantrum.

What will his administration look like? When Rahm Emmanuel is already going on television to explain that retail workers need to suck it up and learn to code, and Lindsey Graham is talking about the need for bipartisanship when it comes to the federal deficit and other towering problems of our age, I think it is easy to guess. Republican control of the Senate and the thinness of the Democratic majority in the House will give a Biden White House cover for the center-right priorities it would have pursued regardless.