Good cops = Democrats. Bad cops = Republicans.
The good-cop bad-cop game is a police interrogation technique, but can be used in other areas where deceptive coercion is desired, like politics.
The idea is that the “bad cop” is out-of-control and threatening, aggressive towards you in getting what they want. You’re supposed to be afraid of the bad cop and what they might do.
The bad cop sets the stage for the “good cop.”
The good cop steps in and holds them back, sympathetic to you and protecting you from that dangerous bad cop. In fear of the bad cop you cooperate with the good cop.
The thing is, both cops are doing the same thing, and the good cop protection is only an illusion. In the case of American politics, both cops are paid for to keep you (the public) fooled and compliant, and always in fear of the bad cop, who keeps getting their way.
This is how things went down during the Obama presidency and the Grand Bargain. The Republicans demand something outrageous, they want to cut Social Security and disability payments, they want to cut SNAP nutrition for the poor, they want to destroy the New Deal and all public service programs to end the menace of socialism.
Obama grudgingly compromises with them, giving them half of what they want. The Republicans come back.. that crazy Tea-Party wing isn’t satisfied, they want more; If Obama compromises, they might be willing to finally work with the president. Obama once again gives them more of what they want, and the game continues.
Thank goodness we had a Democrat as president to hold back those scary bad cops.
In good-cop bad-cop politics, those looking to escape the bad cop vote for the good cop out of fear, believing the illusion, but in the end it’s all a game and the good cop and the bad cop are exactly the same.