Procedure Is Getting Us Through — For Now

President Trump at a White House briefing, September 4, 2020; Joe Biden at a campaign event in Pittsburgh, Pa., August 31, 2000. (Leah Millis, Alan Freed/Reuters)
The post-election drama has been contained by our constitutional processes. But Americans must believe the rules are legitimate for the system to survive.

NRPLUS MEMBER ARTICLE O ne of the key insights of conservatism is that habit matters. Call it culture or tradition, or call it manners as National Review does, the corpus of informal rules, norms, and expectations that quietly governs 90 percent of life in a free society is, in most situations and conditions, much more extensive in its influence than the formal rules and procedures that govern the other 10 percent of life.

This is why we cannot simply bomb the backward corners of this unhappy world with copies of the Constitution and expect them to build liberal republics with no further input. In the

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