Unless they never again win the House, Senate and White House simultaneously, the constitution gives Democrats plenty of ways to restore our democracy even without resorting to McConnellism or Trumpism. They can expand the electorate by restoring the Voting Rights Act, making voter registration universal, and passing comprehensive immigration reform. They can blunt (if not entirely offset) the GOP’s Senate advantage by granting statehood, and two senators apiece, to Puerto Rico and Washington DC. They can undo the effects of McConnell’s court-packing by expanding the bench – not just the supreme court, but lower courts as well.
What’s notable about all of these positions is that they stop far short of what the constitution allows. They don’t involve granting voting rights to recent immigrants, splitting California into seven states, restricting the supreme court’s right to review most cases, or any other long-shot scheme. In other words, should Democrats ever regain power in Washington, they won’t have to choose between ambition and caution. They can exercise both – and thanks to favorable demographic trends and the overall popularity of much of their policy agenda, they can be confident that they can maintain power by reflecting, rather than ignoring, the people’s will.