Don’t let your eyes glaze over when someone starts talking about reforming– or abolishing– the filibuster. Not doing so, means nothing we want to see passed through Congress will happen– nothing. A conservative minority keeps everything and anything that is passed by the House bottled up and then killed in the Senate.
Alan Grayson, who’s running for the Florida Senate seat held by Marco Rubio said this week that “the filibuster has filibusterd the Senate. What used to be the ‘greatest deliberative body in the world’ now does nothing other than deliberate. We can have the filibuster, or we can have democracy, but we can’t have both. We can have the filibuster, or we can have progress, but we can’t have both. Samuel Johnson once said that ‘[fake] patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.’ Well, now it’s the filibuster, and Mitch McConnell is that scoundrel. If I am elected to the Senate, replacing Marco Rubio, then the filibuster will be gone-gone-gone.”
Progressive Democrats will have to drag a reluctant Biden along with them. Another Democratic challenger, Wisconsin state Sen Chris Larson, to a far right Republican, crackpot Ron Johnson is also campaigning on dumping the filibuster.
“The filibuster,” he told me a couple of days ago, “is the Jim Crowe relic that has held America back from realizing our nation’a true potential for far too long. That should end now that our democracy is literally under threat. If it is not tossed aside in order to protect the right to vote and stop the wholesale efforts to disenfranchise millions of our neighbors, we may not ever have the opportunity again. Look at the issues this campaign is all about. No matter how many times the House passes any of them, the Senate requires 60 votes. That men who wrote the Constitution considered that idea of a filibuster and firmly rejected it as non-democratic. Yet now that ability to veto every bill is built into a conservative perspective of governance to thwart a popular agenda. Can I ask Blue America members to help me and the other candidates committed to putting an end to this rotten relic of obstructionism?”
And the another Senate candidate we talked to who is all fired up over the damage the filibuster is doing is North Carolina progressive Erica Smith. Erica referred to it as “a tool of obstruction that is used to oppress Black and Brown communities and working people.”
Speaking to voters who’re unsure of which primary candidate to back, she said that “If you’re not serious about ending the filibuster then you are not serious about ensuring that our government works for all of us, not just the wealthy and the well-connected. The filibuster is effectively a veto for corporations, billionaires, and pharmaceutical companies who own well more than 40 members of the Senate. This is a moment of crisis for our country. Millions of people across North Carolina and across the nation are struggling just to survive. We cannot afford inaction. We cannot afford to continue to allow the United States Senate to operate under a set of rules that was literally designed to keep the wealthy and the powerful, powerful and wealthy at the expense of the rest of us. I’m proud to be the only candidate in this race who has strongly and clearly advocated for the complete abolishment of the filibuster. It’s dishonest for the other candidates in this race to talk about healthcare and voting rights without taking a firm stance on whether or not they’ll support the filibuster. When North Carolina elects me, they won’t just be adding one more vote to the Democrats side of the isle. They will be adding the senator who will ensure the end to the filibuster and the ushering in of a new era for the United States Senate where with 51 votes we deliver on transformational policies that are big enough and bold enough to address the crises working people are facing.”
Please consider clicking on the Blue America 2022 Senate thermometer above– or on this link and contributing what you can to Erica’s, Alan’s and Chris’ campaigns.