The hard part in this family squabble is not diagnosing the weakness of the other side’s argument. It is grappling with the weakness of my own. The problem with “Trump as opposed to whom?” is that we who’ve supported the president on that basis are less the bottom-line realists we see ourselves as, and more like riverboat gamblers. And what we’re gambling with is the country…

The cartoon version of President Trump is that he is a power-craving would-be despot, who may have to be forcibly pried from the Resolute desk. In reality, his lust is more for pomp than power. There has always been a chasm — sometimes hilarious, sometimes not so much — between the Twitter thunder and the modest actions, or often the lack of any action at all. The brawler who threatens to start World War III (when not grousing about “forever wars”) reliably melts into Trump the meek, acceding to the guidance of seasoned advisers — many of whom depart before long, exhausted from the effort and vilified by their fickle principal for making it. President Trump is not obsessed with the reins of power (which he willingly let aides hold these last four years); he is incensed by losing an election, and with it the illusion that he has always been wildly popular…

Anti-Trump conservatives always maintained that, despite its policy successes, the Trump presidency would prove to be a boon for Democrats. I bet that they were wrong. On November 3, that wager looked better than it does at the moment. The last two months have been bad. It may take a few years to quantify how bad.