The controversy over the elimination of the filibuster makes a joke of democracy
Political observers seem excited to see how the drama about the filibuster unfolds in the Senate.
Will the Democrats exercise the “nuclear option” and override the filibuster rule altogether?
Will they reform or dig to allow Senate Democrats to pass certain types of laws, such as the For the People Act, which counteracts the flood of laws suppressing voters across the country by just 51 votes by simple majority should?
Senators Joe Manchin (D-West Vriginia) and Krysten Sinema (D-Arizona) hold Democracy and the Democrats hostage for vacillating over the need to compromise with a Republican party that has no evidence of compromise with Democrats and As We saw during Barack Obama’s presidency that he had historically practiced an overt strategy of disability.
The fact that no Republican voted for the American bailout bill in either the House or Senate could, you believe, leave relics like Manchin and Synema the impression that Republicans are neither interested in democracy nor in the representation of their constituents, who are overwhelmed by the help The majority supported the bill.
Oh but wait, Manchin and Synema seem to be moving easily and may now be amenable to reform of the filibuster’s democracy prevention tactics.
Meanwhile, Mitch McConnell threatened a “scorched earth Senate” if the filibuster is eliminated, suggesting he would do his best to halt any progress: “The Senate would be more like a bunch of 100 cars, nothing is moving.”
Thinking about this desperate threat for two seconds makes you laugh.
It was precisely the filibuster that allowed McConnell to hamper in the past, and when he was the Senate majority leader, he refused to put hundreds of laws passed by the Democratic House to a vote at all.
What can McConnell do that he hasn’t done yet?
We must remember that during his presidency, Obama simply refused to run Merrick Garland’s Supreme Court nomination through the Senate approval process. Since the nomination came in the last year of Obama’s presidency, it should wait until after the next presidential election so that the people can decide. Then, of course, in the final months of Trump’s damaging presidency, McConnell pushed through the appointment of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court – by a simple majority.
Let us emphasize this last point. McConnell only needed a simple majority to approve Barrett as he was delighted to have the filibuster rule removed in 2017 when it came to ratifying the Supreme Court justices. That was one of those “carve outs”.
Let’s think about it. When it comes to the appointment of the nine people, our Supreme Court justices, who have incredible authority to make decisions in the lives of Americans, it’s okay to have a simple majority in choosing this elite minority to make some of the most important ones and far-reaching decisions about our lives.
But we can’t have 51 representatives who make important decisions in their leadership roles for the people we actually elect?
This situation is really bizarre and defies logic and reveals the basic truth of the filibuster: it’s just another mechanism to allow minority rule and prevent democracy from reaching full maturity in America.
That the proposal to create an exception to the current law protecting voting rights was labeled a “democracy exception” says enough, doesn’t it? It somehow suggests that we are going to make an exception to the typical anti-democratic rules to allow the exercise of democracy!
Democracy, of course, should be the rule in a democracy, not the exception. I’m right?
The filibuster is really just another form of gerrymandering, which is what makes the filibuster controversy such a joke.
Gerrymandering and the Filibuster have long allowed Republicans to rule as a minority tyranny.
After halfway through 2018, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow explained how much the district Republican effort – or gerrymandering – skewed the voting card in favor of a Republican minority.
At that halfway point, Wisconsin received 53 percent of the vote for state legislature positions for Democratic candidates, with Republican candidates receiving 45 percent of the vote. But – look at this – Republicans were elected in 64 percent of the seats!
Maddow asked and answered her own question, “Why is that? Because they tipped the playing field. “
In the same report, she identified similar dynamics in Michigan, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina, with all of the major swing states playing major roles in national elections.
The filibuster, like Gerrymandering, is just another tool that Republicans use to claim majority power when they represent a minority of voters. Worse, as we saw in the American Rescue Plan Act, they don’t even represent their minority.
Because of the electoral college, Donald Trump was able to win the presidency while losing the referendum and garnering a whopping three million fewer votes than Hillary Clinton.
The rules of our electoral college submitted us to minority republican rule.
Gerrymandering, Maddow demonstrated, subjected Americans in several states to minority republican rule in their state legislatures.
The filibuster does the same thing in the US Senate.
And there is no constitutional or other reason for the existence of the filibuster.
As Democratic Senator Brian Schatz stated in a tweet: “The filibuster was never included in the constitution, was largely accidental and has been used in the past to block civil rights. It’s time to toss the Jim Crow Filibuster in the trash. “
In short, the filibuster was a Senate instrument that was typically used to disrupt democracy rather than enable it.
Lee Drutman, a senior member of the New America Program for Political Reform, recently wrote: “Republicans are increasingly open to the cold logic of their attempt: the harder it is for Democratic votes to count, the more likely Republicans are to win.”
In short, the filibuster is just another form of voter suppression for Republicans so the Senate Democrats’ votes don’t count.
Ironically, the possible elimination of the filibuster has become a matter of controversy and media scrutiny.
In a nation with a presumed commitment to democracy, it would make more sense if the existence of the filibuster itself were outraged and discussed controversially.
But just as Trump always turned reality upside down, the insistence on the down and black on the white, so the filibuster is another way that Republicans turn reality and democracy and their heads to face minority tyranny to install.
Tim Libretti is a professor of American literature and culture at a Chicago state university. A longtime progressive voice, he has published many academic and journalistic articles on culture, class, race, gender, and politics, for which he has received awards from the Working Class Studies Association, the International Labor Communications Association, and the National Federation of Press Women and the Illinois Woman’s Press Association.