With the election 15 days out, media elites and the government establishment they serve are trying to project confidence that corrupt and ailing Hillary Clinton can be carried across the finish line. Perhaps that will happen, but pundits have been wrong at every turn, and polling data are all over the place. Thinking men smell fear in the air, among them Patrick Buchanan and Andrew Napolitano.

First, Mr. Buchanan: “The establishment is horrified at the Donald’s defiance because, deep within its soul, it fears that the people for whom Trump speaks no longer accept its political legitimacy or moral authority. It may rule and run the country, and may rig the system through mass immigration and a mammoth welfare state so that Middle America is never again able to elect one of its own. But that establishment, disconnected from the people it rules, senses, rightly, that it is unloved and even detested. Having fixed the future, the establishment finds half of the country looking upon it with the same sullen contempt that our Founding Fathers came to look upon the overlords Parliament sent to rule them.”

Mr. Buchanan has been a public figure for decades, as an adviser to presidents, TV talking head, syndicated newspaper columnist and unsuccessful candidate for president. Mr. Napolitano is generally known only to viewers of Fox News, where he is senior judicial analyst after serving on the Superior Court of New Jersey. Both are prolific authors.

When Mr. Napolitano writes his libertarian opinion columns, he often strings together dozens of questions. From a recent offering: “What if the presidential election this year has become a beauty contest – devoid of intellectual substance, without serious debate over the limited duties of government in a constitutional democracy, rolling in the gutter and largely motivated by hate and fear? What if both Clinton and Trump recognize the paradox that government is essentially the negation of personal liberty? What if whoever wins will largely use it for that purpose?

“What if liberty really is attached to humanity? What if all rational people yearn for personal freedom? What if the government – in order to stay in power – has detached liberty from humanity and made it a gift of the state instead of a gift of God? What if the government knows that by restricting and then expanding liberty, it can command loyalty?

“What if there is a sense of hopelessness in the land? What if this hopelessness is bred by a government that kills, lies, steals, conceals and denies? What if that hopelessness is furthered by a rational fear that things will only get worse, no matter who wins the presidential election? What do we do about it?”

Forget about the media’s faux outrage about incidents in Trump’s past. That’s for the low-information rubes. What the elites know is that he has tapped into a vein of discontent. They may be able to make him go away, but they will not like what comes next.