Turns out lightdm is working after all, almost. If you wait patiently
when the black screen appears after the Ubuntu 5 dots boot screen,
possibly as much as 4 minutes, then the desktop eventually appears,
albeit somewhat messed up, with a message box asking you to "unlock the
login keychain" because it "was not unlocked when you logged in". After
entering the password, the desktop is redrawn correctly and everything
works. I'm still on kernel It seems lightdm is just very slow
as noted by njsf.

I think, if you touch the mouse during this black screen period, the
login screen appears and, if you login you see a black screen for
several seconds then it logs you out again. A cycle you can't get out
of. That's what led to my comment that lightdm wasn't working for me.

Daniel, I will create a bug of my own. Thanks for the explanation.

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  Ubuntu 18.04:  gdm3 does not switch to graphics after update

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