It has been a dark two years in Britain and the US.
The future had seemed to be captured by the worst of the Anglo-American right – a populist anti-foreigner anti-EU ultra-libertarian anti-common decency alliance that extended from Donald Trump via Nigel Farage to Jacob Rees-Mogg.
They were the masters now.
If you believed in anything progressive – forget it.
Tuesday’s midterm elections in the US did not lift the pall or so it seemed at first glance.
Trump insisting on ‘a near-complete victory’ in the hours after the polls had closed when the Republicans had lost control of the House of Representatives was vainglorious overclaiming but it was not wholly stupid.
The immediate consensus was that the hoped-for Democrat wave had turned out to be little more than a ripple.
They had not won as many seats in the House of Representatives as they hoped – while the Republicans seemed to have consolidated their grip on the Senate.
Where Trump had campaigned hard the Republicans had won.
The odds of him being re-elected in 2020 had shortened.
Progressive politics was dying.
But look again a few days later and the story is very different.
More Americans turned out to vote in 2018 than in any midterm election since 1966 – and more than 10 million more of them voted Democrat than Republican.
As the late counts come in the Democrat tally of gains in the House will top the targeted 30 – including what seemed like improbable wins in Republican strongholds in well-heeled suburbs.
This is the strongest rebound in recent decades and in an election year when the economy is booming.
The picture in the Senate is also much more mixed than it seemed on Wednesday morning.
The Democrats held Montana when it seemed lost – they took Nevada and at the time of writing are ahead in Arizona.
In Florida the race is so tight both for the governorship and Senate that there will be a manual recount.
Sherrod Brown won Ohio – a state that went for Trump in 2016 by a stunning 10% margin.
The three states that handed Trump the presidency – Wisconsin – Pennsylvania and Michigan – now all have Democrat governors.
Texas – one of the most conservative states – was only narrowly held with Beto O’Rourke falling just short against the Republican incumbent.
For Trump to call this a near complete victory is fatuous.