The GOP had been talking about a “permanent Republican majority” long before Karl Rove predicted it in 2003. It’s a decades-long plan that began with Richard Nixon, wound its way through Ronald Reagan and the Bush administrations. It’s involved narrow margins brought on by gerrymandering, leverage and good, old-fashioned misinformation, and it is starting to break down our democracy. 

True, there is no mention of political parties in the US Constitution, but competing ideologies have formed during our 250-year history and they have provided some balance as we chart our way forward. Because no one party has cornered the market on solutions to the problems our country faces — sometimes we need a conservative solution, like the free market, and sometimes we need a more liberal response, like Social Security, which keeps old people from starving to death.

So the idea of one-party rule is, at its core, un-American.

It’s especially so when one of the parties espouses unpopular ideas, and that is the current  state of the modern GOP. Their stances on abortion, gun rights and the Social Security safety net, just to name a few, do not resonate with the majority of American people. The GOP consistently loses elections on messaging like this, and has been unable to win the popular vote in a presidential election since 2004, which was 20 years ago.

Republicans’ ideas are unpopular but they hold a slim majority in the US House due to gerrymandering by state Houses. The North Carolina electorate, for instance, is fairly balanced politically but as many as 11 of our 14 Congressional seats will go to Republicans after the election this year because our districts are not cut with the idea of fairly representing the voters’ collective political will, but to hold on to that tenuous majority.

That’s a problem, because when people are forced to live under rules they do not agree with, when their voices are being deliberately silenced, when they are excluded from the political process that our republic promises, they push back through activism, organizing and other democratic actions. 

Confronted with this, advocates of minority rule have few options left to maintain their ill-gotten power. One of them is violence.

We’ve already seen it in the police beatings of Black Lives Matter protesters, in the rise of domestic terror events like in Charlottesville, in threats both covert and overt made against those who dissent on social media. And there was the time that a rabid mob stormed the Capitol because they would not accept the outcome of a free and fair election.

Because the scariest thing about a permanent Republican majority is what they are willing to do to maintain it.

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