First, there is cruel math. Democrats have the majority by the slimmest of margins. They lose one, and they lose a vote. This is where removing the filibuster is coming from. The idea is that a simple majority will be enough to pass legislation. It is also a fact that Congress is the most partisan since the civil war.
This is why conservative Democrats have the power they do. This is why Joe Manchin matters. This is why getting rid of the filibuster will be next to impossible. For the record, it either goes back to a talking filibuster or ideally, it should go away. In reality, neither of these will happen because Krysten Sinema and Manchin hold the power they do. They are both conservative Democrats from conservative states. They have a base they need to answer to. It is far more conservative than let’s say California.
The For the People Act will not become law. Partly because Republicans are better at these games. Partly because Democrats are a big tent party. Partly because our political system is highly dysfunctional at this point. Republicans intend to hold on to power and impose minority views on the rest of us. Things we all want (or vast majorities) like gun legislation will not pass.
The filibuster is what keeps this going. As long as it exists it discourages the kind of compromise we are told it does. It is a mechanism that is not even written into the constitution and has been used to slow down progress. It has become a tool used to stop progress. Nor is this new. The Voting Rights Act was stopped in its tracts over the course of the 1950s, for example.
We are living through an age where dark money corrupted politics. This is not unprecedented, but we are now in a crisis. In my mind, this is not unlike the late 1850s, to the early 1860s. Yes, we may very well be on the way to civil war. It does feel as if we are short of a shooting already, and some p[d the mass shootings have political undertones.
What to do About the Filibuster?
There is no other way to say it.
It’s also weaponized.
There are a few things to be said about it. First, it’s nowhere in the Constitution like I wrote above. It came from Senate rules, and the Senate…