Dec. 1, 2017, will be remembered as the day when the vast majority of Americans fully grasped the consequences of the 2016 elections. They installed a man in the White House “likely to be under investigation for criminality for a very, very long time to come.” And they gave power to a Republican Party whose only purpose is to comfort the already extremely comfortable. The quotation above, from Donald Trump’s campaign rhetoric against Hillary Clinton, is now a better fit for his own circumstances than ever. The day after Michael Flynn’s guilty plea on Friday, Trump compounded his legal jeopardy with a tweet suggesting that (contrary to what he had said before) he knew Flynn, his one-time national security adviser, had lied to the FBI. Trump’s lawyers will keep trying to explain his tweet away, but his overall vulnerability on obstructing justice has increased exponentially. But it’s almost as important that Friday was also the day Senate Republican leaders brought forth a tax bill heralding the death of anything resembling a populist form of conservatism within the Republican Party. Plutocracy will now be the GOP’s calling card. Facing one of the most scandalous special-interest tax bills in a long history of such measures, even supposedly moderate members of the party caved in before the power of big money. Republicans proved one other thing: What they say when they are out of power should never be believed again. Their progressive opponents, in turn, should never feel constrained in the future to limit their own ambitions out of deference to empty slogans about the superiority of bipartisanship. When President Barack Obama was in office, conservatives waxed hysterical about the horrors of deficits by way of limiting government’s ability to help the needy or expand health insurance coverage. They spoke over and over about how terrible it was to pass bills on a partisan basis and how their foes should govern from “the center.” Now the GOP has the votes, all those statements are inoperative. The party is running roughshod over democratic accountability and falling short of even minimal expectations of congressional decorum. The leaders of “the world’s