|Cartoon by Bruce Plante for the Tulsa World|
In American politics in 2020, both sides doubt that abiding by loss is the surest path back to power. This is an election — and more than an election, it is a politics — increasingly defined by a fight over what the rules of the game should be.
Democrats see a political system increasingly rigged against them and the voters they represent, and they are right. They are facing an Electoral College where a 2- to 3-point win in the popular vote still means Republicans are favored to take the presidency. They are vying to win back control of a Senate where Republicans have a 6- to 7-point advantage. The simple truth of American politics right now is this: Republicans can lose voters, sometimes badly, and still win power. Democrats need landslides to win power.
It gets worse. Democrats fear a doom loop. They are faced with the reality that when they lose power, Republicans will draw districts and change rules and hand down Supreme Court decisions that further weaken their voters, that pull America further from anything resembling democracy. Democrats have watched it happen in recent years again and again.... Losing begets losing, because in the American political system, electoral winners have the power to rewrite electoral rules.
But Republicans also see their position as desperate.
They know their coalition is shrinking. They know that they are winning
power but losing voters. They see a younger, more diverse, and more
liberal generation building against them. They fear that Democratic
efforts to expand the franchise and make voting an easily exercised
right rather than a politically metered privilege will spell their
long-term demise. They believe that mass democracy is inimical to their interests, and they state that fact baldly....
America is not a democracy, and Republicans want to keep it that way.
America is not a democracy, and Democrats want to make it one, or at
least more of one.