The threat was real. Everyone saw it coming miles away. A Democrat had the chance to take their shot but didn’t pull the trigger until after the damage was done.

President Joe Biden and the Chinese spy balloon? Or New Hampshire Democrats and the First in the Nation presidential primary?

In both cases, the results were humiliating.

In the case of the FITN primary, Granite State Democrats are still spinning the story that they had no idea their primary was in danger. Talk to Biden loyalists — and yes, New Hampshire Democratic Party leaders are all still loyal to the president, as they have said time and time again in recent days — and you’ll hear the words “ambushed” and “blindsided” on a regular basis.

That is like Joe Biden arguing he knew nothing about the spy balloon until it was over Montana and, therefore, couldn’t shoot it down. Everyone knows that is not true. The U.S. military saw this three-bus-sized surveillance balloon coming before it hit Alaska. But as Bloomberg reported, the Biden administration choose not to act. In fact, it had no plans to even tell the American people about it. Team Biden only went public when photos published by the Billings Gazette forced its hand.

What followed were days of embarrassment and anger. Americans were demanding: How can you let China do this to us? We’ve got the military, we’ve got the missiles. It’s your job to defend our borders! Why aren’t you doing it?

Granite Staters could ask the same question of their Democratic Party regarding the primary.

There was a glaring moment of unintended irony during the DNC debate in Philadelphia Saturday when state Democratic Party chair Ray Buckley, making the point that New Hampshire’s success is important to the national party, commented: “Try to get to 51 [in the U.S. Senate] without Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan.”

It’s a great point. But why make it on the floor of the DNC on Saturday when Sens. Hassan and Shaheen weren’t willing to make it on the floor of the U.S. Senate a month ago?

With the power to deny Democrats a majority in their hands, they could have told Biden that if he was determined to deliver this vendetta to the state of New Hampshire, our senators were ready to shoot down his nominees for ambassadorships, the judicial bench, etc. like an F-22 over the skies of South Carolina.

Instead, the New Hampshire delegation failed to launch.

How complete was the surrender?

The morning of the DNC meeting, Buckley told NBC News New Hampshire Democrats weren’t planning on asking for a roll call vote or even staging much of a protest. That was the one plan they managed to successfully execute.

When he got his turn at the mic, Buckley began his remarks by admitting failure. “While we all know the outcome of today’s vote, please hear me out,” he said.

What Buckley heard was an overwhelming voice vote from the national Democratic Party voting to throw New Hampshire under the bus.

Now that the DNC has spoken, the members of the delegation are flocking to declare, “New Hampshire will go first.” But what they’re not acknowledging is what has been lost — the idea that New Hampshire is America’s “First in the Nation” state. Once that magic has been broken, the firewall of tradition breached, it’s very hard to restore it.

Ask yourself why so many Americans were so angry about the balloon. It was hardly some Chinese super weapon. Far from it. What bothered Americans was the idea that a foreign country could violate our borders and get away with it, paying no price. They sense that this violation sends a message of weakness, it undermines the idea of America’s might.

By allowing the primary to be taken without a fight, New Hampshire Democrats will face the daunting task of trying to get this same DNC to return their FITN status in 2028. How do they even do that? Biden says he wants a new calendar every four years. If that happens, four years from now, New Hampshire won’t be the “First in the Nation” state. It will just be another state lobbying for its place in line.

All because Democrats weren’t willing to stand up and fight now.

They could still dodge a bullet. If no serious candidate challenges Biden in the primary, New Hampshire’s absence from the official calendar may largely go unnoticed. Buckley and Co. can then hope for a return to tradition four years later.

But counting on an 80-year-old guy with a garage full of classified documents — and 58 percent of his own party’s primary voters saying they don’t want him to run again — to clear the field is a risky proposition.

Biden may not be able to intimidate China, Russia or, Gov. Gavin Newsom (we’ll see), but he managed to push around the Granite State delegation like a schoolyard bully taking away a little kid’s balloon.

You don’t need aerial surveillance to see how badly New Hampshire Democrats have failed.