Democracy is threatened by a filibuster not by allowing the majority vote make the decision. Under the filibuster you need a supermajority to carry the day in the Senate. Over what issues you may ask? Any issue you do not like is the answer. Unless of course you can convince the parliamentarian that it is a financial/budget issue in which case the majority can win by the most votes. Let me just say I like to make decisions by consensus.
But I had to learn the hard way you cannot do consensus with people who are of the disagreeing kind. In consensus decision-making people can support the decision or they can choose to step aside and support the decision of the group or step aside and offer no assistance with the implementation with the decision. On rare occasions when the decision was against your personal morality or thought to be a horrible decision you can refused to let a decision proceed. The problem was some folks had personal morality problems with everything. They apparently had bigger consciences than the rest of us. They would choose to hold up the process with anything that did not appeal to them. Whether it be office equipment or taking a stand on a moral issue. They were not interested in consensus but interested in the power consensus gave them.
Consensus offers many good things. One is everyone is on the same page and has been heard. It also offers a way to oppose without being unnecessarily oppositional. There is an understanding where everyone stands. It also allows the group not to have obstructionists.
The problem with consensus most do not have the concept of stepping aside or a spirit of cooperation with those whom they disagree. They assume that if a decision does not go their way they are almost responsible to become an obstructionist to the decision. Instead of believing that to allow a different opinion to proceed, despite negative feelings about it is a sign of strength; they view it as a weakness. Other people believe they should have a voice even in things that do not concern them. They also choose to believe that everything is of a moral concern to them. The combination of these two attitudes conceding is a weakness, everything is something of which to be concerned, and there is nothing that is not of moral concern to them leads to an obstructionist who feels justified in any action they may take.
This is the problem with the filibuster. The other side is not currently exhibiting a willingness or spirit of cooperation. Their leader (Mitch McConnell) has stated his agenda is to defeat the other’s agenda (President Biden). But it should be remembered the Republicans did not adopt a new platform in 2020 at their last convention. RESOLVED, That the Republican Party has and will continue to enthusiastically support the President’s America-first agenda; RESOVLVED, That the 2020 Republican National Convention will adjourn without adopting a new platform until the 2024 Republican National Convention. This was an unusual step and a total abdication of their responsibility to then President Trump. But Trump is the former guy now and we have no idea of what the Republican Party can say they in general stand united on. But we do know they want a voice on every issue. And that voice is to just say no to the other side’s agenda.
The filibuster is meant to bring the two sides to engage in a compromise that each could live with. Policymaking depends on each side entering in the process with mutual openness to the process. Yet one side’s leader has stated as their agenda to just say no. Others feel their way must win at all cost. Therefore, compromise is not the goal only forcing their will on the other is. They also act as though their side alone is patriotic, moral, or reasonable. Now both sides can have people that hold these attitudes but the Republicans hold these beliefs in much greater numbers than the Democrats. Also most Republicans hold these beliefs in a steroid high strung manner.
So, the question becomes can Democrats operate with Republicans when you hold a one vote majority. The power in the filibuster in this case grants the minority not only power but all power to obstruct the process. They are only going to agree to a policy that they view is heavily weighted to their side. This is demonstrated by their two proposals on the infrastructure bill. They offer Biden no new or little new money for infrastructure. They object to his way of paying for the bill and offer no starters for their way for paying for their bill. They do this despite Biden Administration’s suggestions being desired by a vast majority of Americans polled. They do this despite the Biden Administration’s winning the electoral college and popular vote. The arguments they offer for doing this are arcane. Biden did not win the election. Which he did according to the States election officials, courts, and even Congress which they are apart of. Although the Democrats won the Senate from the Republicans they won more seats from the Democrats in the House. They Republicans did win more seats but they did not take the majority in the House. And the fact is there were more Democratic seats up for reelection than Republicans. The more extreme Republicans accuse the Democrats are baby eaters and how could you compromise with that.
A super majority is ideal but an impossibility on issues such as infrastructure and voting rights something traditionally they would have no trouble agreeing on. But the era of Trump, QAnon, Limbaugh, McConnell does not make this possible. I do believe this era will pass but the filibuster allows too much power to obstructionists in the meantime. For now a simple majority will have to do.
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