When Donald Trump finally leaves office the post mortem will begin. Democrats and Republicans will seriously ask the question, how did he happen?
How did such a man ever attract the votes of so many Americans? Not once but twice. The result of this election may be disputed but one fact is beyond dispute: even more Americans voted for him this time than voted for him four years ago.
After all the tweets, all the gross ignorance, all the stupidity and chaos inside the White House reported by those who have tried to work for him, not to mention the coronavirus, they voted for him again.
What happened to the coronavirus? If you watch CNN you get the impression America is devastated by the virus. The toll of more than 200,000 deaths is repeated endlessly as is the fact that America had many more cases than comparable countries. Like Democrats, CNN reporters wear facemasks in the field.
On election night, just before the results started coming in, the network screened a map of America colour-coded for the number of cases in every state and it showed infection is now heaviest in the interior, Trump country, Republican governed.
But CNN's exit polls had been asking voters nationwide to name their main concerns and when the result of that question was screened, the coronavirus came after the economy first and race relations second. Clearly the virus is not as scary as we're led to believe it would be for people with high infection rates in their vicinity.
It may be that Trump has fooled half of America on the risks of Covid-19 just as he has misled them on much else, but a very deadly pandemic would be hard to hide.
The election result would probably have been the same if this pandemic had never happened. Until it arrived, Trump was banking on the economy outweighing all the reasons for his low ratings in opinion polls.
So much for those double-digit margins for Joe Biden in the polls this year, there must have been many "shy" Trump supporters they were missing.
I can understand their shyness. It wasn't as though Trump was unknown when he captivated those voters four years ago. He was one of those New Yorkers nobody took seriously. A big talker, always good for an outrageous quote, he and his trophy wives were an institution in the celebrity columns that dubbed him, almost affectionately, "The Donald".
Not many knew he took himself seriously. When over the years he vented his various extravagant political views and occasionally added he was tempted to run for president, people humoured him as you do. It would never happen.
When he did run it was still hard to take him seriously. His supporters laughed at those worried at what he intended to do, telling us we should not take him literally.
They turned out to be wrong. He did indeed do what he had said he would. That was all his supporters could say for him in the end.
He had scrapped trade agreements, weaponized tariffs, stopped global efforts to counter climate change, antagonised China, bullied American business to repatriate production, used America's economic bulk to bully business in other countries that tried to work around his trade sanctions.
Within America he had polarised politics, stirred racial dissension, made no attempt to provide the uniting, healing leadership the country needed. Nor was he interested in leading the world.
He ended decades of progress towards a more integrated global market with production chains that generated prosperity in poor regions as well as rich and worldwide had lifted a billion people out of poverty over the past 20 years.
All of that was sacrificed to a selfish, brutish policy of "America First" which in fact puts America on a path of less competitiveness, more protection, less innovation, more sclerosis. Far from making America great again, his presidency has probably hastened America's decline.
How did he happen? When political professionals ask this question they will blame themselves rather than voters and they do bear some of the blame.
In this election the vice-presidential candidates, Mike Pence and Kamala Harris, had a televised debate that made it easy to see why voters detest professional politics. To every awkward question, Pence said, "Before I answer that let me just say this", and made a long statement off the point until the question was blunted.
Harris used the same technique when each was asked whether, in view of their leaders' ages, they had discussed with them how to deal with failing health.
Americans may have been sick of glib professionals, but having seen what an amateur blowhard could do to their presidency, it is beyond belief that so many of them would vote for him again.