HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Main » General Discussion (Forum) » A short history of the fi...

Sun Mar 14, 2021, 02:36 PM

A short history of the filibuster: Rarely a tool for good -- and never a tool of democracy

The filibuster is not some sacred institution and isn't in the Constitution it's a dumb, anti-democratic mistake
By Matthew Rozsa

It's hard to imagine literally talking for an entire day, but that is what happened during the longest filibuster in Senate history. The year was 1957 and Strom Thurmond, a South Carolina white supremacist best known for running as a third-party presidential candidate nine years earlier, talked for 24 hours and 18 minutes to stall a major civil rights bill. It was the first major civil rights legislation since the 19th century, so Thurmond droned on and on and on. Nothing he said was particularly memorable, but he was determined to stop even the modest voting reforms contained in the proposed legislation.

On two occasions, however, Thurmond hit a snag: He had to go to the bathroom.
.. .
Unfortunately for America, the filibuster still exists and may still be used to strip people of their voting rights. In fact, the filibuster itself could be fairly described as the single worst feature of U.S. Senate procedure. It exists because of a thoughtless error and has only infrequently been used for positive ends.
. . .
That brings us to the present. Even though President Biden's COVID-19 stimulus relief package is wildly popular, not a single Republican senator voted for it. McConnell, it is obvious, plans on trying to thwart Biden's agenda in the same way that he made life miserable for Democrats during the Obama era. While Democrats were able to push Biden's bill through via the budget reconciliation process, they won't be able to do so for most of the new president's agenda. Their only option, if they hope to get anything meaningful done, is to repeal the filibuster entirely, much as Republicans repealed it in 2017 relating to the confirmation of Supreme Court justices.

But in a 50-50 Senate, with Vice President Kamala Harris serving as the tiebreaker, Democrats can only repeal the filibuster if every single Democratic senator votes to do so.
. . .
If the filibuster were actually some venerable bulwark of democracy, enshrined in the Constitution and protecting good government, maybe a case for it could be made. None of that's true: It was born of absent-mindedness and has mostly been used as a tool of oppression. To preserve democracy and basic human decency the filibuster has got to go.

Source: https://www.salon.com/2021/03/14/a-short-history-of-the-filibuster-rarely-a-tool-for-good--and-never-a-tool-of-democracy/

0 replies, 562 views

Reply to this thread

Back to top Alert abuse

Reply to this thread