“Well,” said the media, in effect, as they looked joyfully around them at the torn and crumpled wrappings on the morning of what, for them, was the early Christmas of November 5, “now we’re all in agreement.” And if your experience of the world was limited to what the media provides, you’d think it was true, too. Scenes of weepy celebration were everywhere represented to audiences assumed to be celebrating too for days afterwards. Even some conservatives claimed to have wept for joy at the victory of the least conservative member of the United States Senate in the presidential election. It was a great day not just for the Democrats but for all Americans, as everyone—even the defeated Republican—was saying. Of course, it would have been churlish to deny it.

Back in 2004, the media had consoled themselves for the disappointment of John Kerry’s loss to George W. Bush with the...


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