If NodeJS was smart, they would adopt AngularJS when Google eventually drops it in favour of Angular 2. Redesigning the codebase to server side only and merging it with Express to build a proper server side framework. Then pair up Angular 2 for the client side reactive front end if needed. That would be an amazingly structured and scalable option. AngularJS 1 always behaved more like a server side product than what it is used for now. Then I can see veteran developers such as yourself appreciating JS intended forward direction. React is just completely fucking that up right now.
I can’t even believe that people adopted React and turned it into what it is. While technologically it handles reactivity really well. Facebook never intended whole sites to be built on it. It’s a coding nightmare in that regards. I worked on a 5 hour project just to code ONE API end point and view! I’d have 50 endpoints signed sealed and delivered with security and HTML views in Laravel in that time frame.