Joe Biden will be the post-Trump, post-pandemic, post-development of a new media landscape, and post-all-kinds-of-other-big-changes president. Will Biden simply mark the end of an era? Or could he be the harbinger of the next era? Or could he be the person who ushers it in? Biden has said he expects to be a transitional figure. Will he preside over a transition that ends an era, or lays the groundwork for a new one?

Now that I’m no longer such a loyal Republican, or even such a convinced conservative, perhaps I can quote Antonio Gramsci, from his prison notebooks: “The crisis consists precisely in the fact that the old is dying and the new cannot be born.”

The old era of hyper-polarization, divisive demagoguery, policy paralysis, culture war, and everything else we see around us, does seem to be dying. But could a new era be successfully birthed? Could America deal with this crisis by peacefully ushering out the old era and shaping a new one, one that renews the institutions of liberal democracy, that restores a decent civil life, that revives a healthy liberalism and creates a sound conservatism, that enables a new governing center in the midst of a reasonable and deliberative politics?