The Growing Power Imbalance

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September 28, 2020 1:29 p.m.

Last spring, TPM published a series of essays on structural reforms to American democracy that Democrats could consider should they win the Senate and the White House in November. Now, with weeks to go until Election Day, the fight over the future of Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s Supreme Court seat has thrust conversations about such reforms back to the fore. With the Senate and Supreme Court tilted to the right, and Republicans willing to toss aside norms and precedent to further strengthen their position, there’s too much at stake, the argument goes, for Democrats to declare any particular lever of power off limits.

Democrats could take affirmative steps in 2021 to, say, eliminate the Electoral College, create term limits for Supreme Court justices, or guarantee the right to vote for all Americans. “While such structural tinkering carries grave risks, and while there may be good reason for Joe Biden himself to stay silent for now, not acting in 2021 would carry a grave risk as well: that Democrats appear to be a party that can explain its failures but not produce results,” writes historian Greg Downs in Cafe today.

Given the Supreme Court fight and the conversation around how Democrats will respond, we’re re-upping our April series today. Read the essays here:

 

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