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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 9/14/21

The Filibuster: Should America Try Democracy?

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America has been preaching democracy all over the world for more than two centuries. Isn't it time we tried it here at home -- end the filibuster & let the chips (and the voters) fall where they may?

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Rolling Stone is reporting that President Biden has told Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer that he's prepared to begin lobbying so-called "moderate" Democratic senators to end or reform the filibuster this week. This is a very, very good thing.

Ending the filibuster could be what puts the final nail in the Republicans' coffin. When all Americans finally see their insane proclamations actually put into action, they'll never govern again.

The biggest freak-out argument a minority of senate Democrats are using against ending the filibuster in the Senate is, basically, "When Republicans get control of the Senate they'll do all sorts of terrible things and we won't be able to stop them!"

It's a cynical skepticism about democracy inconsistent with our nation's proclaimed ideals and a totally unjustified fear. And it's actually helping Republicans because the filibuster is why nobody is taking their pitches to their base seriously.

Republicans have two "agendas": the one they talk about and the one they do.

What they do is push through rightwing judges and tax cuts for rich people and giant corporations. And they're already doing both, as they've drilled holes in the filibuster so they can get both done. It only takes 50 votes to put crank judges on the Supreme Court and other federal benches, or to pass tax cuts like Trump's in 2017.

These are the things that the billionaires and polluting industries who fund the GOP actually care about, and they've got those two issues under control.

But what they talk about to their base voters are altogether different things.

They say they want to outlaw all abortions, privatize Social Security and Medicare, criminalize gay marriage and gender nonconformity, require "Christian" prayer in schools, do away with the minimum wage, expand fossil fuel use, outlaw gun laws, and end all child and low-income food and medical support.

Democrats, on the other hand, say they want to leave abortion decisions to women, protect LGBTQ+ people, strengthen Social Security and Medicare, separate religion from government, raise the minimum wage, get us off our fossil fuel addiction, put into place common-sense gun laws, and end poverty in the richest country in the world.

Those are pretty clear contrasts, and the fundamental idea of democracy is that the people get to see different policy agendas and experiments put into place and then choose what they like and what they don't by voting for or against parties and politicians.

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Thom Hartmann is a Project Censored Award-winning New York Times best-selling author, and host of a nationally syndicated daily progressive talk program on the Air America Radio Network, live noon-3 PM ET. His most recent books are "The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight," "Unequal Protection: The Rise of Corporate Dominance and the Theft of Human Rights," "We The People," "What Would Jefferson Do?," "Screwed: The Undeclared War Against the Middle (more...)

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Good article. Adam Jettleson makes similar arguments in "The Kill Switch", plugged by Ezra Klein in the WaPo, who also makes the same arguments: basically, absent the filibuster, the party in power gets to pass the legislation it wants. If the voters are happy with it, they return the same party to power. If not, they boot them out.

Even with the filibuster, its present form is ludicrous. If the party wants to filibuster a bill, it sends an email. No Jimmy Stewart holding the floor with a marathon speech. If we returned to those days, at least no other business gets done while the bill under consideration is debated. At least the people doing the filibuster own it. It's very likely that with that filibuster instead of the current one with the holes drilled in it (after all, you can't halt the congress spending money) the Democrats could have held the late Justice Ginsburg's SCOTUS open through Jan 20 2021.

Submitted on Tuesday, Sep 14, 2021 at 4:25:41 PM

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