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President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden in the Oval Office

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

When he first ran for president, Barack Obama evoked fervent loyalty and extravagant dreams in many people. As the first black president, with a rare gift for oratory, he was supposed to inspire us to new heights, end our racial divisions and make America beloved around the world. Campaigning for him, his wife, Michelle, said, "We need a leader who's going to touch our souls."

In 2007, Timothy Noah, of the liberal online magazine Slate, created a sardonic regular feature, "The Obama Messiah Watch." Its stated purpose was to determine whether Obama was "the second coming of our Savior and our Redeemer, Prince of Peace and King of Kings, Jesus Christ."

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Photo by Kameleon007/ iStock

This looks to be the election that meant everything and resolved nothing. Donald Trump defied the polls to come close to winning — and could yet win. Joe Biden may win, but by such a narrow margin that he can't claim a convincing mandate — and it appears he will confront a Republican-controlled Senate that can block almost anything he wants to do. Our long national nightmare is not over.

If the winner isn't yet certain, some things are. One is that the two parties are more opposed and entrenched in their views than ever. Neither dominates nationally, even as one or the other enjoys impregnable dominance in many states.

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