Politics A 55-vote filibuster wouldn't change much
Why Kyrsten Sinema Could Control the Future of the Filibuster
Why Kyrsten Sinema Could Control the Future of the FilibusterKyrsten Sinema came to Washington back in 2012 as something of an unpredictable player. A former Green Party spokeswoman, anti-war activist and progressive state legislator, Sinema first won her U.S. House seat by trashing the place she sought to serve—seldom a bad strategy. Once here, she actually acted on her anti-establishment impulses. She broke with her party Leadership on an array of issues, including twice voting against Nancy Pelosi’s bid to lead the Democratic Caucus and siding with some of President Donald Trump’s most aggressive proposals to crack down on immigration.
If Democrats can't destroy the filibuster, can they at least lower the threshold for passing legislation to 55 votes? The idea has been floated by two prominent political columnists in recent days —, a progressive writer for The Washington Post, and , a conservative at The New York Times.
Sargent quoted Ira Shapiro, former counsel to the late Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.), who once supported lowering the filibuster from 67 votes to its current 60-vote threshold that has become standard for most Senate bills. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) could conceivably follow in his predecessor's steps by leading the charge to lower the standard by another five votes.
Joe Manchin to Oppose For the People Act, Says Partisan Voting Legislation Will Further 'Destroy' Democracy
"Voting and election reform that is done in a partisan manner will all but ensure partisan divisions continue to deepen," the West Virginia Democrat wrote.Manchin wrote an opinion article published by the Charleston Gazette-Mail on Sunday, explaining why he plans to vote against the For the People Act and continues to oppose ending the filibuster. Biden and Democratic leaders have called for the passage of the major voting rights bill as Republicans in state legislatures across the country have pushed forward election changes that Democrats and activists have characterized as voter suppression.
"His nightmare scenario was a paralyzed Senate," Shapiro said of Byrd. "He would have explored any possibility that allowed the Senate to get the work of the nation done. Lowering the threshold is consistent with what he's supported in the past."
Douthat agreed. "It adapts the filibuster in a reasonable way to our age of heightened polarization, maintaining protections for the minority, while making some deals that used to be possible available again," he wrote Sunday.
It sounds like a good idea, certainly better than leaving the current 60-vote rule in place. The problem is that it probably wouldn't work.
For one thing, Manchin has stated repeatedly that he won't vote to eliminate or weaken the filibuster — and did so again just a week ago in a. There's no two ways about it: Lowering the standard to 55 votes would weaken the filibuster. That's the whole point. It's difficult to see how Manchin could go along without breaking what appears to be an ironclad promise.
Even if he did, the Senate is still split 50-50 between Democrats and Republicans. And with few exceptions, Republicansto denying Democrats anything that might appear to be a bipartisan victory. Perhaps one of the parties can muster a 55-vote vote majority during the next election cycle or two, but for now even a weakened filibuster would be too big an obstacle for Democrats to surmount in most cases. For now, then, the goal of un-paralyzing the Senate is probably just fantasy.
Is This the Dumbest Filibuster Defense Ever Written? .
I cannot believe this column was published in a national newspaper.The column is written by Mike Solon and Bill Greene, former advisers to Mitch McConnell and John Boehner, respectively, and now (naturally) lobbyists. Despite the fact that they are apparently paid by profitable corporations for their political advice, neither author has even the basic grasp of American government that would be required to pass a high-school civics course.