Calling the Senate filibuster rule racist didn’t work to get rid of it so now Democrats are trying out a new tactic that’s somehow even more absurd: rewriting very recent history.
They’re understandably getting anxious given that the time they have to pass their two massive welfare bills (sometimes referred to as “infrastructure and social spending”) is quickly running out, with two centrist Senate Democrats repulsed by the price tags.
Both Sens. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona and Joe Manchin of West Virginia have said that one of the bills, the so-called “social spending” plan, is currently too much at $3.5 trillion. The extreme leftists of the party in the House have responded by saying they won’t vote in favor of the “infrastructure” bill if it’s not also guaranteed that the other one will pass, too, and with all of their favorite goodies included (more Medicaid and Medicare, “free” community college, “free” child care, etc.).
There’s also the Democrats’ “voting rights” bill that snatches control over elections from state governance, which the left is describing as a “democracy saving” measure. They want to get all of it through before the end of the year, at which point virtually all attempts at passing major legislation will stop and senators and members at risk of losing their jobs dash back to their home states and beg the voters to keep them in office.
The Senate filibuster is the biggest hurdle for Democrats, given its requirement for a 60-vote supermajority to pass any of their bills, so a lot of them are naturally pushing for it to be done away with, thus allowing them to enact all of their dreams on a simple majority basis: All 50 of their senators, plus the tie-breaking vote from Vice President Kamala Harris.
Democrats who prefer that course of action have thus far been unsuccessful in getting everyone in their party to agree, so their latest attempt is to claim that if it were Republicans in control and who had the option, there’s no doubt that it would already have been done.
“If they found themselves in the position the Democrats do now, ” Charles Blow of the New York Times wrote this week, “they wouldn’t bat an eye at eliminating the filibuster to have their way.”
Tom Nichols, who looks like a thumb with a goatee, similarly remarked that “Republicans would throw over the filibuster in a second if meant more power for them. The GOP counts on Dems being feckless.”
As fate would have it, there is no need for a hypothetical scenario on what Republicans would do if they held a majority in the Senate, but had their legislative priorities held up by a bitter Democrat minority. This situation played out in reality in the first two years of Donald Trump’s presidency.
“Trump calls for end to filibuster” — The Hill, May 30, 2017
“Trump calls for end to filibuster, says Senate Republicans ‘look like fools'” — CBS News, July 29, 2017
“Trump to GOP: Dump the filibuster before Schumer does” — Politico, June 26, 2018
Under then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, it never happened, even as Republicans held an actual majority, with more than 50 votes. As of now, Democrats only hold half the Senate, relying on Kamala Harris to break ties.
It’s not as if Republicans never had the opportunity. They had the same one that Democrats currently have. They simply chose not to use it. Cynically tinkering with the filibuster is something Democrats do, as they did under President Obama in order to confirm his cabinet secretaries without Republican votes.
Lying about all of it might work for Democrats. If not, they can try calling the filibuster racist again.