From a systemic perspective, from the point of view of America’s potential governability, even those of us who would oppose much about a Biden presidency could draw something hopeful from the seeming possibility — as of 24 hours ago — of a landslide Democratic win. That would mean that the system can still deliver clear decisions, even if only for one cycle, and it would create incentives for whatever follows Trump in the Republican Party to seek a similarly decisive victory in its turn.
But that possibility has evaporated as of this writing, taking what remains of the expert class’s credibility with it. Instead at the moment we seem headed toward the indecision of another too-close-to-call and potentially litigated endgame, with razor-thin margins no matter which man wins. Which implies that even under what seemed like favorable conditions for a decisive outcome, the evolving ways we’re polarized — by age, geography, sex, class and faith — are still the more powerful forces, dragging us ever back toward stalemate.
It’s one more sign, as if we needed more, that our system’s method of uniting power with legitimacy is slowly losing both (emphasis added).