The explosion at the nail-gun factory that was the Trump administration ended six weeks ago, yet I’m not sure most people have fully exhaled. Like victims of spousal abuse still cowering after their wild-eyed husbands have been hauled off in chains, we remain girded for further strangling and spit-flecked screaming. Trump’s appearance last Sunday at CPAC validated these fears as he offered the audience his signature Trump cocktail: two parts bile to three parts self-infatuation.

I voted for Biden enthusiastically, while at the same time not being that enthusiastic about him. Yes, of course, I knew he’d be a better president than Trump, just as a piece of day-old baguette is preferable to a breakfast of thumbtacks and whatever you can suck out of your hairbrush. I expected him to be what we know him to be—decent and kind. Also bumbling, tin-eared, and eager to split the difference with the Republicans in the name of bipartisanship. (As Obama learned too late, the G.O.P. believes only in unipartisanship.) I was further worried that Biden’s too shiny, fresh-from-the-undertaker look suggested we might be in for a money-saving twofer: inauguration and state funeral.