Whatever We Thought We Knew . . .

Donald Trump hugs a U.S. flag as he takes the stage for a campaign town hall meeting in Derry, N.H.

Of course.

Doesn't it make perfect sense that the tedious, endless presidential race between two of the most disliked candidates in history would just drag on and on?

What happens now? No idea, except maybe Donald Trump.

And what a story that is - if it is. And it feels like it is.

But at my deadline, all three branches of government were up for grabs.

The executive: because Trump and Hillary Clinton still were stuck in key states too close to call but seemingly trending Trump.

The legislative: because key Senate races to decide control of that chamber still were too close to call but seemingly trending GOP.

And the judicial: because whoever is president and whichever party controls the Senate decides the makeup of the Supreme Court.

So, as I write, there are no firm answers. There's the possibility of an Electoral College tie or maybe a President-elect Clinton or, more likely, the big question of what to expect from a President Trump.

And that I cannot begin to answer.

But I can tell you this: Everything everybody close to politics thought they knew and/or believed can go right out the window.

Consultants, pollsters, talking heads, columnists such as yours truly, all on some level and to varying degrees proved to be wrong and worthless, and inattentive to a wave of antipathy across America against everything to do with the way things are.

And toss out the fundamentals of retail politics, too. The ground game, the surrogates, the door-knocking, the mailers and such; clearly, they don't work.

Apparently what works is a celebrity with a Twitter account and an airplane who finds, feeds and then feasts on folks' anger and frustration with a "rigged" economy and political system - and turns that into votes.

And if those votes turn out to be enough, the question is what happens next.

Can Trump make peace with the Republican Party, much of which abandoned him, and also work with Congress?

Does he even have to?

Does the mantle of the presidency change him in ways that allow him to reach out to the half of the country that feared his election?

Does he even want to?

I doubt he'll do the things that led to his success.

I doubt he (or anyone) can "blow up" Washington or drain its swamp or build a "beautiful" border wall or ban Muslims or deport 11 million immigrants or "lock her up."

But, hey, as mentioned, I've been wrong before.

Trump lugged around more negatives than Clinton. Didn't matter. He's untested in governing and public service. Apparently, that was a plus.

But there is the issue of running the country.

And when I asked Christopher Beem, who runs Penn State's McCourtney Institute of Democracy, how Trump might do that, here's what he said: "God only knows. It's a complete crapshoot. . . . It's like a guy who's got a Swiss watch that's not working right. You maybe can open it up. But how do you make it work better?"

I guess that (and so much more) just remains to be seen.