The Trump years had something for almost everyone. Progressives had the satisfaction of righteousness and a justification for daily outrage. What they didn’t have were policy victories, although they might have had a few if they could have refrained, even for a few days, from treating the president as illegitimate. For conservatives, the case was exactly reversed: They had some major policy wins, but at the cost of frequent embarrassment and dismay at the president’s offensive behavior and self-defeating logorrhea.
The worst of his conduct took place after the 2020 election and seemed to fulfill progressive commentators’ allegation that Donald Trump was carrying out an “assault on democracy.” Mr. Trump’s refusal to accept defeat, culminating in demands that Vice President Mike Pence overturn a lawful election on no legal authority, occasioned a debacle that may haunt the Republican Party, and the country, for years.