On one side, we have an earnest defense of process and extra-political institutions, and the public-spirited quest for bipartisanship in the name of the common good. On the other, a ruthless pursuit of political victory by any means necessary, including the generous use of disinformation, outright lies, and trolling. Put in slightly different terms, Republicans believe that the only way to achieve good things for the American people is to win as much political power as possible — to thoroughly vanquish their opponents, and to do so without mercy — while the Democrats … don’t at all believe the same about themselves or their opponents.

Perhaps that goes a little too far. Some Democrats might believe it. But many don’t. That certainly includes the Democratic presidential frontrunner, Joe Biden, who told a crowd in Iowa last week that he’s “really worried” about either party having too much power. Though Trump’s defeat would bring “serious consequences” for the GOP, Biden wanted Democratic voters to know that they shouldn’t pine for a country without a Republican Party. “If you hear people on the rope line saying, ‘I’m a Republican,’ I say, ‘Stay a Republican.’ Vote for me but stay a Republican, because we need a Republican Party.”

Is it even remotely conceivable that Trump or Barr or Rep. Devin Nunes of California or Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida or any other prominent Republican member of the House would express such a high-minded, politically self-abnegating sentiment about the GOP? Or offer words of praise for the Democratic Party? Of course not.