While I do have my biases, I think a big part of the problem is the ripping up of norms have been one sided. I can’t think of anything the Dems have done like Merrick Garland or Red Map or the NC legislature stripping the governor of powers when a Dem was elected. Or the extreme obstruction starting from the beginning of Obama’s presidency or the farce of the Republicans Health Care “Reform”. They clearly campaigned against the ACA without any plan of how to replace it. Everything they falsely claimed the Dems did to pass the ACA, the GOP did trying to repeal it.
The Dems can’t change the GOP by setting a good example. They tried with judicial Blue Slips and as soon as Trump took office the Republicans got rid of them again. I don’t see a way out unless the Democrats play Constitutional Hardball of their own. Which will escalate things but I’m sort of hoping for a California scenario where the GOP hard right turn eventually hit the changing demographics and turned the state deep blue. Tit for Tat until the GOP is willing to honor norms again or until the party is destroyed and a new conservative party rises from the ashes. One that accepts science and the modern world. Not one that what’s to repeal the New Deal and go back to the Gilded Age.
We should nuke the filibuster entirely. While it’s sometimes been a last wall against the erosion of rights, it has far more of a history of blocking progressive change. If we get the trifecta in 2020, admit DC and Puerto Rico as states. Maybe go really crazy and split California into as many states as can be counted to remain blue. While I’m scared of packing the Court, the current one is the most conservative since pre-New Deal. What happens if a Dem Congress and President pass Medicare-For-All and the Court strikes it down? Or the Court uses the First Amendment to grossly empower corporations the way the Lochner era Court used the 14th? Or if the Court creates a religious exemption from public accommodation laws? I don’t see how you logically can hold anti-gay discrimination is valid if backed by religious belief if you don’t apply that standard to racial, gender, etc discrimination as well. The same arguments used in Masterpiece Cakeshop were used to defend private racial segregation.
I also have to put hope in large social movements like The Poor People’s Campaign. Rev. William J. Barber II has called for a Third Reconstruction. Mass non-violent action. Support the new teachers’ strikes and movements. Fight voter suppression as much as possible. Bring the tensions to the surface and throw sand into the gears. The women disrupting the Senate and getting arrested is a start. ACT UP was effective because they refused to be civil. As much as we revere Dr. King today, during his life many, many people viewed him like the BLM movement today. If we are going to avoid descending into violence, I think it will be throw aggressive non-violent direct action in the streets and hard nosed politics in government.
I don’t know if that will be enough. I fear we’ll end up with an illiberal democracy like Hungary or Poland or Turkey. If the Republicans weren’t so ideologically committed to cutting taxes for the wealthy, they could make it happen. If instead of trying to repeal the ACA, they had deficit funded more benefits and rebranded it TrumpCare; if their tax cut had focused more on the non-wealthy—I think the Dems wouldn’t have a chance this November. But they aren’t delivering any butter and trickle down economics doesn’t work. Relying primarily on white identity politics leaves an opening for the Dems.