In Egypt, the Arab Spring feels more like an Arab “Thermidor.” Thermidor, one of the summer months of France’s revolutionary calendar, was the month in which Robespierre was overthrown and sent to the guillotine. Today, it’s generally taken to mean the end of the most radical phase of a revolution, or the beginning of the backlash. We may be witnessing that phase in Egypt.Recent Egyptian presidential election polls show a surge of support for Mubarak’s former prime minister and air force chief, Ahmed Shafiq, coming largely at the expense of Muslim Brotherhood candidates. Despite widespread respect for the Muslim Brotherhood’s resistance pedigree, and for moderate political Islam in general, many ordinary Egyptians have grown dissatisfied with the direction of the country since the Brotherhood-led Parliament came to power earlier this year. Crime and lawlessness have increased dramatically. Poverty, even by the standards of an Egypt familiar with tough times, is becoming unbearable for some.All of this plays into Mr. Shafiq’s hand. He brands himself as the “law and order” candidate, and his performance shows that many Egyptians prefer law and order and security over other priorities, like democracy and women’s rights. He has especially strong support among the poor, agricultural communities in the Nile Delta where residents had voted overwhelmingly for the Muslim Brotherhood in parliamentary elections. Large numbers of Egyptians are fed up with the treacherous politics of a revolution; they hunger for normalcy.Whether or not Shafiq wins the presidency, the mere fact that an official of the hated Mubarak government is able to muster this kind of support shows that idealistic revolutions, even popular ones, don’t solve economic or social problems overnight, and sometimes make them far worse. More so than his rivals, Shafiq offers concrete proposals to combat fuel, food, and electricity shortages, and he plans for security and stability. Who can blame Egyptians for voting for those things?