21 votes

With Obama saying " The filibuster is a 'Jim Crow relic' ”, It’s looking more and more like Democrats will abolish the filibuster if they win back the Senate

12 comments

  1. [4]
    Eric_the_Cerise
    Link
    I've been saying for, literally, decades that the solution is to require actual filibustering. Many people don't realize that, long ago, they adopted a rule that a Senator saying "hey, I'm gonna...

    I've been saying for, literally, decades that the solution is to require actual filibustering.

    Many people don't realize that, long ago, they adopted a rule that a Senator saying "hey, I'm gonna filibuster that" would receive a "Stipulated" free pass. No one actually has to get up and talk for 37 hours to show they're serious.

    15 votes
    1. [3]
      gpl
      Link Parent
      Yeah I wouldn’t mind somehow keeping the talking filibuster while eliminating the current system that just requires the threat of a filibuster to gum things up.

      Yeah I wouldn’t mind somehow keeping the talking filibuster while eliminating the current system that just requires the threat of a filibuster to gum things up.

      5 votes
      1. [2]
        Eric_the_Cerise
        Link Parent
        Eliminating the filibuster has been repeatedly referred to as "the nuclear option". However, the filibuster itself should be a kind of Senatorial nuclear option, only pulled out in rare...

        Eliminating the filibuster has been repeatedly referred to as "the nuclear option". However, the filibuster itself should be a kind of Senatorial nuclear option, only pulled out in rare circumstances to try to stop the Majority from committing some disastrous error.

        Any adjustment that would lead to that kind of attitude would work. Other ideas include "each Senator gets one filibuster per six-year term" perhaps even "each Senator gets one filibuster, and is no longer eligible for re-election after using it". Stuff like that.

        5 votes
        1. Omnicrola
          Link Parent
          That's a pretty powerful idea, especially given that there currently aren't term limits. Someone employing it would get some very serious attention. So much so that there would probably have to be...

          Other ideas include "each Senator gets one filibuster per six-year term" perhaps even "each Senator gets one filibuster, and is no longer eligible for re-election after using it".

          That's a pretty powerful idea, especially given that there currently aren't term limits. Someone employing it would get some very serious attention. So much so that there would probably have to be rules around senators threatening to use it but not actually using it, similar to how they can currently threaten to filibuster but nobody has to stand up for hours.

          1 vote
  2. [8]
    Kuromantis
    Link
    Inevitable "they should have done that when they had a majority in 2009" reply.

    Inevitable "they should have done that when they had a majority in 2009" reply.

    Since then, the Senate has changed the rules many times to make it easier to break a filibuster, but most legislation still cannot pass over a filibuster unless 60 senators join together to invoke cloture. That means that unless Democrats win an absolutely crushing majority in November — they would have to gain 13 seats in the Senate, a nearly impossible feat — Republicans will be able to block nearly any voting rights bill through the filibuster.

    Unless, of course, the filibuster is eliminated, something the Senate could do at any time with just 51 votes.

    Democrats appear to be turning sharply against the filibuster

    It took Democrats more than four agonizing years to realize just how severely the filibuster had hobbled their ability to govern while Obama was president, and even then they made only modest reforms to the filibuster — allowing most presidential nominees to be confirmed with just 51 votes but leaving the legislative filibuster largely intact.

    Indeed, just a few years ago, much of the Democratic caucus appeared committed to maintaining the filibuster. In April 2017, Sens. Chris Coons (D-DE) and Susan Collins (R-ME) organized a letter calling on Senate leadership to “preserve existing rules, practices, and traditions” that allow senators to filibuster legislation. More than two dozen Democrats joined this letter, and a total of 61 senators signed it.

    And yet, even Coons — once one of the Senate’s most outspoken opponents of eliminating the filibuster — is now singing a different tune. “I will not stand idly by for four years and watch the Biden administration’s initiatives blocked at every turn,” Coons told Politico in June. “I am gonna try really hard to find a path forward that doesn’t require removing what’s left of the structural guardrails, but if there’s a Biden administration, it will be inheriting a mess, at home and abroad. It requires urgent and effective action.”

    Likewise, presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden recently signaled support for eliminating the filibuster if Senate Republicans are too “obstreperous.”

    5 votes
    1. [7]
      nacho
      Link Parent
      Hindsight is easy (which I read your point to be). Not many could foresee how far this administration and Republican leadership actually would go to upend procedure and protocol. That's why the...

      Inevitable "they should have done that when they had a majority in 2009" reply.

      Hindsight is easy (which I read your point to be).

      Not many could foresee how far this administration and Republican leadership actually would go to upend procedure and protocol.

      That's why the gradual outrage over "but they certainly won't do that!" as things've incrementally gone further has been there for so many years.

      And then the Republicans have been emboldened by so clearly demonstrating that so many of the checks and balances aren't actually any checks at all if you just ignore them.


      I don't think the Republican leadership has envisioned what could happen if the Democrats somehow could get on the same page and play hardball pushing through reforms. I wonder how far they'll go if they win the election as thoroughly as the current polls suggest.

      5 votes
      1. [2]
        arp242
        Link Parent
        I've always had the impression that an important reason the Democrats were hesitant with taking away the filibuster is that they would lose it themselves, too. In principle, I kind of like the...

        I've always had the impression that an important reason the Democrats were hesitant with taking away the filibuster is that they would lose it themselves, too.

        In principle, I kind of like the idea of it: it's an "emergency brake" the minority can use to stop something if they have really strong feelings about something. It puts some checks on the "tyranny of the majority". But it needs to be used responsibly, sparingly, and with wisdom, which is clearly not how it's been used as of late.

        Also: won't it be easy to reinstate the filibuster after it's been taken away? Do you need 51 votes again to reinstate it, or would that work?

        7 votes
        1. gpl
          Link Parent
          The issue is that it's very difficult to reinstate conventions like this because the political calculus changes as soon as it is removed. No majority would vote to handicap themselves by...

          Also: won't it be easy to reinstate the filibuster after it's been taken away? Do you need 51 votes again to reinstate it, or would that work?

          The issue is that it's very difficult to reinstate conventions like this because the political calculus changes as soon as it is removed. No majority would vote to handicap themselves by reinstating the filibuster, and a vote during a lame duck session would be seen as so blatantly political that the incoming majority would suffer no political consequences by removing it.

          The only way it could get reinstated is if there was broad support among the voters in the majority's party , but again, no one wants to work to get their party elected only to handicap them once in power.

          1 vote
      2. [4]
        suspended
        Link Parent
        We desperately need reforms once (and if) the Dems take over.

        We desperately need reforms once (and if) the Dems take over.

        4 votes
        1. [3]
          p4t44
          Link Parent
          But as soon as the Dems take power, many such reforms would suddenly hurt the Dems. As much as an opposition always loves to discuss limiting the power of the government, I fear priorities might...

          But as soon as the Dems take power, many such reforms would suddenly hurt the Dems. As much as an opposition always loves to discuss limiting the power of the government, I fear priorities might shift if they gain power.

          6 votes
          1. Wren
            Link Parent
            most of the Dems' policies are this way. Even their proposed reforms don't go far enough usually, and once they're in power they water it down even further.

            most of the Dems' policies are this way. Even their proposed reforms don't go far enough usually, and once they're in power they water it down even further.

            1 vote
          2. Kuromantis
            Link Parent
            Which reforms? Stuff like reducing executive power over the federal bureaucracy definitely would hurt anyone in the executive D or R, but other things like easier voting and better welfare...

            Which reforms? Stuff like reducing executive power over the federal bureaucracy definitely would hurt anyone in the executive D or R, but other things like easier voting and better welfare definitely don't hurt the Democrats.