As has been my habit for the last few presidential elections, the afternoon of Election Day found me in Manhattan at a discreet, semi-secure, undisclosed location for a long and thoughtful lunch. The 2016 iteration of this ceremony was exceedingly thoughtful and found some of our party pushing luncheon well into tea time. Indeed, it was about 11:30 p.m. on election night 2016 when, smiling in front of my computer, I had a call from the last hold out from our band of what Athenaeus called Δειπνοσοφισταί, ‘learned banqueters’, still brightening the corridors of our place of congregation.

The Chinese virus has put paid to all such deliberate spontaneity, but a small group of us still managed to gather in anticipatory celebration. We’ll see soon whether huzzahs or black crêpe is in order.

In the meantime, I want to say a word about what a friend of mine calls the Plywood Party. As I strolled up Madison and Fifth Avenues en route to my meeting, I was met by the spectacle of scores, maybe hundreds, of workmen assiduously covering the tony storefronts of the Upper East Side with sheets of plywood. Some was the usual standard-issue tawny brown stuff, but some was of designer vintage, black or some other custom color branded with the emporium’s logo. Almost all seemed fabricated for the long haul.

Just as we have been warned to cover our faces against the insidious threat of the virus, so we have been warned to cover the faces of our stores against the insidious threat of unhappy voters.

But how strange it is, really. The only people disposed riot are members of the left. Trump supporters wave flags. The party of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris burns them. So I suppose that it follows that the word has gone out that Donald Trump is likely to win. Why else erect these prophylactic barriers? These weathermen seem to know, or think they know, which way the wind is blowing. Hence the eager preparations to meet the ‘fiery but mostly peaceful’ protests we’ve been promised if Donald Trump wins.

I looked that up in my dictionary and it said ‘vide “blackmail”’.

I don’t think most people have yet taken on board how odd this election is. The Dems like the word ‘democracy’. But what they seem to mean by it is ‘We get to run things.’ It follows that a democratic election is one that they win. An ‘assault on democracy’ is what they call it when the other guy wins. Nice work if you can get, and they’ve been getting plenty.

According to this way of thinking, Donald Trump represents an assault on democracy because in 2016, and with electoral votes to spare, he won. But he was supposed to lose. Therefore the election, and his administration, is illegitimate. You see that, don’t you?

Once you absorb that logic, a lot of other things fall into place. Donald Trump nominated and saw confirmed three Supreme Court Justices. Therefore the Democrats are eager to pack the Court to undo his baneful influence.

The Senate has been a key enabler of Trump’s agenda. Therefore the Democrats are talking about admitting Washington DC, and Puerto Rico as new states in order to skew the Senate in their direction. We’ve been warned!

Trump won in 2016 with 306 electoral votes, therefore the system designed by the Framers of the Constitution needs to be thrown out in favor of deciding the presidential election by popular vote.

The educational establishment, especially in our colleges and universities, has been a rich breeding ground for leftist sentiment. That program has been ably exported by all the ‘critical race theory’ consultants who have graduated from the academy and find themselves now in lucrative consultancies in many federal agencies and throughout a newly ‘woke’ corporate America.

Donald Trump has challenged those plum concessions with executive orders forbidding such indoctrination and celebrating history courses that celebrate what is good and noble about America. Outrageous! All that, too, is on the Democratic chopping block, ready for the garbage dump of history just as soon as the Democrats restore their accustomed order to the universe.

So what’s likely to happen tonight? If Donald Trump wins, or looks like he might, we’ll see whether those workmen took the precaution of installing fireproof plywood. Frankly, I suspect that even if Joe Biden wins, or looks like he might, the party of peace and tolerance will take to the streets to remind us that peace is only possible when they win and tolerance means paying obeisance to their demands.

But in the long run — indeed, even in the medium short run of the next month or so — if Trump wins the Party of Plywood will be put to flight. Its ringleaders will be arrested, those who have committed crimes will be jailed, and the rest will embrace their essential pusillanimity and go home. That’s what I hope happens. I think it will. Early returns are encouraging in Florida, Arizona and other states. Let’s see whether America really is sick of winning.