The shape of a Bush second term:
For the electorate to turn Bush out of office would be to proclaim that it rejects this manner of politics. But to award Bush another four years--provided he really wins this time--would signal that a majority of Americans not only tolerates but endorses his anti-democratic style. And it could be interpreted by Democrats as a lesson that resistance is futile.
Fifteen years ago, conservatives put forth the "broken windows" theory of crime. If small street crimes are tolerated, the theory went, neighborhoods begin to accept them as normal and the result is more lawlessness. The same thing will happen if a democracy tolerates Bush's ruthless behavior as business as usual. If voters validate this modus operandi, it won't just accelerate; it will cease to draw even the modest level of scrutiny and outrage that the administration's transgressions have attracted so far. Failing to protest these breaches of the norms that govern political conduct will encourage more such violations.