The 25th amendment, allows for a sitting President’s powers to be suspended if they become unfit for office. Section 4, which can suspend Presidential power without the sitting President’s consent, has never been invoked. Section 4 has always been interpreted as giving this power to the Vice President and the President’s cabinet, but under a proposal by Speaker Pelosi, that power would instead rest with a bipartisan commission of medical professionals and former executive officials. Acts of faux-resistance such as this one mask a deeply harmful pattern of the democratic party elites contributing to hyperpolarization and the erosion of democratic norms.
Pelosi’s proposal is interesting in its own right, but the clearly political context highlights a concerning pattern of behavior by Democratic Party elites.The party’s elites increasingly use politicized acts of “resistance” to solidify their base, though these acts contribute to the erosion of democratic norms and extreme hyperpolarization which have characterized the Trump presidency. Through these acts, the Democratic elite make themselves complicit to Trump’s attack on our democracy.
Though she claims this bill isn’t directed at Trump, the announcement’s timing says otherwise. Maryland Representative Jamie Raskin first introduced the bill in 2017, yet Speaker Pelosi only announced her support once news broke of President Trump testing Covid positive. It’s unlikely the proposal will ever go into effect since it would need to pass through a deeply divided Congress. Pelosi’s proposal was clearly meant to signal resistance to the Trump administration.
And this is exactly how it was perceived by observers. To many, it was an echo of the Democratic party’s earlier skepticism of Trump’s mental and physical fitness. For Trump and his base, this looked like an attempt to undermine Trump’s authority. Trump even retweeted a tweet referring to the proposal as a “coup” attempt. There lies the danger of the Democratic party’s actions. Though Pelosi’s proposal is almost guaranteed to be ineffectual, her announcement encourages hyperpolarization among elites and the electorate alike, while flouting important democratic norms.
While democracies need some polarization, too much becomes detrimental to democracy. A hyperpolarized electorate is more willing to sacrifice the nations’ democratic principles for partisan gains.  As Pelosi and others have shown, parties seem willing to do the same. This intense hyperpolarization allows demagogic leaders to thrive. 
Hyperpolarization creates gridlock and makes it generally difficult for the legislative branch to function effectively, making executive overreach more palatable.  However, the opposition also has incentives to perpetuate polarization, at least in the short term. Further entrenching their party’s base may yield gains come election day for both themselves and their party. Even if hyperpolarization sacrifices the stability of our democracy, the opposition -in this case the democrats- still may be tempted into promoting it.
These theatrical acts of resistance also disregard key democratic norms of mutual toleration and forbearance. These hallmarks of democracy require that both parties treat each other as legitimate opponents and will play by the rules of our democracy – even the unspoken ones.  Pelosi’s proposal, though constitutional, would be a huge deviation from the present interpretation of the 25th amendment. This, coupled with the announcement’s timing gives credence to the idea that Pelosi doesn’t regard Trump’s office as legitimate and may be willing to break some rules to remove him from power.
This harm is compounded because Trump actually is an autocrat-wannabe, constantly breaking political rules and norms himself. When the opposition breaks norms in order to increase polarization and threaten the president, this can trigger an exaggerated response from the executive, leading them to employ more extreme tactics. 
This isn’t to say the Democratic Party shouldn’t resist. In fact, it’s crucial that they do. However, it must be done in a way calculated foremost to preserve democracy, instead of their share of the votes. If they want to stop Trump and save democracy, they need to embrace some change. Examples of how they could better serve themselves and our democracy include:
#1 Defend the norms.
Now is not the time for the democratic party to try changing long standing norms. At best this will only increase polarization. At worst, it could make Trump take even more extreme measures to hold onto power than he otherwise would.
#2 Embrace teamwork.
The democratic party should embrace more bipartisan measures, and make these fundamental to their public presence, instead of dramatic partisan moves. These bipartisan measures should, of course, still fall within the scope of their liberal platform. But whenever an opportunity for bipartisanship presents itself without sacrificing the party’s moral or electoral integrity, they should seize this opportunity with zest. This could decrease polarization and help reach swing voters or centrists, in addition to directly help checking Trump. When Congress works well, it removes the excuse for the President to undermine their authority by stepping up in their place. 
#3 Establish a more diverse base & champion equality.
While increased bipartisanship would diffuse polarization to some extent, the Democratic party should also address the deeper causes of polarization. Social inequality has a direct link to polarization and the rise of anti-democratic forces. When the lower and middle classes are economically secure, they’re more likely to experience political cross pressures. This decreases support for extremism, and allows cross-cutting party lines, decreasing polarization. The democratic party should begin seriously considering substantive redistributive policies such as those supported by Andrew Yang and Bernie Sanders during the primaries. Championing such policies would not only inherently help stabilize democracy, but could also help expand their base to include currently underrepresented groups.
If the Democrats start embracing strategies like the above ones, they stand a good chance of not only increasing their share of the electorate, but seeing the continuing benefits of a prosperous democracy long into the future. Until they’re willing to forfeit acts of superficial resistance to score temporary political gains, they’ll only be spurring on the erosion of democracy which we’ve seen under Trump.
 Graham, Michael H. and Milan W. Svolik. “Democracy in America? Partisanship, Polarization, and the Robustness of Support for Democracy in the United States,” American Political Science Review 114, no.2 (2020): 392-409.
 Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt, How Democracies Die (New York: Crown Publishing Group, 2018).
 Tom Ginsburg and Aziz Z. Huq. How to Save a Constitutional Democracy (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2018).
 Lipset, Seymour Martin. “Some Social Requisites of Democracy: Economic Development and Political Legitimacy.” The American Political Science Review 53, no. 1 (1959): 69-105.