Democratic Norms Are Under Attack, and Not Just by Trump

"That’s what makes the situation in the states different from the one in Washington. There is clearly an erosion of norms in the federal government, with Trump showing disdain for courts and legal and congressional investigators. But in state politics, there’s no single person acting like an authoritarian. Instead, institutions that themselves embody the most deeply entrenched democratic traditions are seeing the erosion of those traditions. States are learning what the tyranny of the majority is all about."

"Many legislators act as if they view the other branches as separate but not equal. They do not shy from claiming they know best and deserve deference because they are the most representative part of government. “The legislative branch of government is closer to the people of our state than I believe the executive branch is,” state Rep. Justin Burr, who sponsored some of the legislation to strip Cooper of his powers, told The Hill in March. “We come from 170 districts all over North Carolina.”

"Legislative control is split between the parties in only a handful of states. In many more, one party enjoys supermajority control, and gubernatorial vetoes can be little more than an exercise in extra paperwork. Courts are standing up to legislators, but find themselves under siege as a result. And voters often have little choice at the polls. Put aside the question of how effectively legislators are able to select their own constituents through gerrymandering, or whether voter identification laws are meant to suppress Democratic turnout, as Democrats claim. The reality is that most legislators don’t have to worry about voters much at all."