A presidential election is like a barometer, which has been defined as an ingenious device that reveals the kind of weather we are experiencing. In case your dismay about the dilapidation of the nation is not yet commensurate with the valid reasons for dismay, consider four things about the 2020 election:

The world’s oldest constitutional democracy, the United States, is floundering at the elementary task of managing the mechanics of voting — printing, distributing and counting ballots — in a presidential election the date of which has been known, or at least knowable, for 175 years, since Congress in 1845 first designated Election Day as the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November. The world’s oldest political party, the Democratic Party, is having difficulty sounding sincere and unconflicted in affirming the world’s oldest political desire, which is for security from violence, particularly that of mobs. The other party that has framed the nation’s two-party competition since 1856 has been reduced to hoping that this presidential election will be the third in six elections that the Republican nominee wins while losing, as President Trump certainly will, the popular vote. (In the last seven presidential elections, 1992-2016, the Republican candidates’ largest share of the popular vote was 50.7 percent in 2004.) And the best election outcome that can reasonably be expected will show that about 4 in 10 voters have watched almost 46 months of this president’s allotted 48, and want 48 more.

If they get their wish, the nation will get, for the first time, a fourth consecutive two-term presidency. Only twice before have there been three consecutive two-term presidencies, the third, fourth and fifth (Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and James Monroe), and the 42nd, 43rd and 44th (Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama). The reasons that a second Trump term is unlikely — the reasons he probably will be the fourth elected incumbent (not including Gerald Ford) in the past 100 years to be denied reelection (Herbert Hoover, George H.W. Bush, Jimmy Carter) — include:

Democrats want the election to be a referendum on Trump, and the Republican convention cooperated. In 1983, the British Labour Party’s 39-page manifesto (platform), chock-full of socialism, was called the longest suicide note in history. This year, in history’s shortest — 14 words — suicide note (“RESOLVED, That the 2020 Republican National Convention will adjourn without adopting a new platform . . .”) Republicans said: Trump is all that we are.

Trump has made himself toxic in what he calls our “beautiful suburbs.” Forty-nine percent of the votes cast in 2016 came from suburbia.

Any campaign’s two principal assets are money and the candidate’s time. Trump’s campaign will have to allocate a lot of both to five states, with 89 electoral votes, that he carried relatively comfortably in 2016: Iowa (by 9.4 points), Ohio (8.1 points), Arizona (3.6 points), Texas (9.0 points), Georgia (5.1 points).

By mid-October, some endangered Republican Senate candidates will begin a delicate pirouette: They will try to devise an anodyne vocabulary with which to urge voters to elect them so that the Senate will remain in Republican control and can temper the Democratic Party’s leftward lurch. The candidates’ challenge will be to urge this without making Trump enthusiasts, whose support these candidates need, even more enraged than such enthusiasts are when they get up on the wrong side of the bed, which they do daily. Republican candidates made a comparable argument in 1996, when it became clear that Clinton was going to defeat Sen. Bob Dole. Republicans gained two Senate seats while Dole lost by 8.5 points in the popular vote.

Mike Bloomberg has found $100 million in his sofa cushions and will spend it on Biden’s behalf in Florida. Progressives, who think U.S. politics is polluted by “billionaires” and “big money,” are silent about Bloomberg’s naughtiness, perhaps because their grief about it has rendered them speechless.

Trump, whose reading of constitutional law has convinced him that Article II, properly construed, means “I have the right to do whatever I want as president,” has now taken to speaking reverently about “law and order.” “Nothing,” wrote George Orwell, “is gained by teaching a parrot a new word.”

Joseph Stalin — like God, in the book of Genesis — looked upon his work and saw that it was good. Hence Stalin’s March 2, 1930, Pravda article “Dizzy with Success.” Trump told Americans they would get tired of all the winning he had in store for them. They are indeed tired. Promises made, promises kept.

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