Politics

GOP Could Win Either Way on Filibuster

Round and round she goes.

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If Democrats lose on the filibuster issue it’s a big win for the GOP. If Democrats win on the issue it’s just a temporary thing, as the Democrats will be in the minority soon and will lose the power of the filibuster to stop legislation cold. Writer David Marcus breaks it down.

 

Marcus: Senators Joe Manchin, Kyrsten Sinema, and their party fellows in the senate are facing a dilemma. Should they blow up the legislative filibuster to pass their inaptly named Voting Rights Bill, or preserve it to defend against Republicans doing the same when they have a majority?

We have seen this play out before. In 2013, then Senate majority leader, the recently deceased, Harry Reid went nuclear to remove the 67 vote threshold for all presidential nominees except Supreme Court Justices. Four years later, and right on cue Senator Mitch McConnell in the same role applied the same rule to just those Justices. President Donald Trump would appoint three of them with no Democrat votes, a generation victory for conservatives.

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It’s worth wondering just what kind of Pandora’s Box the Democrats are toying with today as they consider obliterating the filibuster for good and always. It seems as certain as the summer sun that the GOP will take both houses of congress in this year’s midterm election. Free from the filibuster, Republicans will pounce on the precedent which may well again become the legislative version of stepping on a rake for Democrats.

The result of this will be President Biden becoming the vetoer-in-chief. Instead of handing out pens at ceremonial bill signings, a lonely Biden will scratch his scrawl on documents of obstruction. If he seems ineffective now, just wait until his entire reason for being is to act as a white haired roadblock to the business of the nation.

And then there is 2024 to consider. A Republican president with a congress of his own party could check off their wish list of legislation like a rich kid on Christmas morning. How about a national ban on abortion after 10 weeks? Or dismantling the Department of Education? Maybe a capital gains tax rate lower than James Earl Jones’ voice? You get the picture.

Ten years ago it must have been credibly argued that ending the filibuster inherently benefited Democrats who favor broad use of federal power. But the new right, now in ascendancy, no longer views limited federal power as its primary concern. On issues from big tech, to crime, to religious freedom, today’s Republicans have plenty to legislate and given the chance they will.

It’s one thing to be careful what you wish for. It is another altogether to knowingly walk into a disaster for the sake of one bill that might not even stand the test of time and the courts…

The ball is in the Democrats’ court on the filibuster. But maybe, just maybe, Republicans should be telling them to go for it. For the price of one voting bill, they could gain a host of legislation in the years to come. As Harry Reid found out, what goes around really does come around twice as hard. And for the GOP, that could very well be quite a good thing.

David Kamioner
meet the author

David Kamioner is a veteran of U.S. Army Intelligence and an honors graduate of the University of Maryland's European Division. He also served with the Pershing Nuclear Brigade and the First Infantry Division. Subsequent to that he worked for two decades as a political consultant, was part of the American Red Cross Hurricane Katrina disaster relief effort in Louisiana, ran a homeless shelter for veterans in Philadelphia, and taught as a college instructor. He serves as a Contributing Editor for LifeZette.

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