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Our Possible Dystopian Future

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Mitch McConnell opposes filibuster reform with a truly, truly frightening scenario:

“If a bare majority can now proceed to any bill it chooses, and once on that bill, the majority leader, all by himself, can shut out all amendments that aren’t to his liking, then those who elected us to advocate for their views will have lost their voice in the legislative process,” McConnell said.

How terrifying — the United States Senate might function like pretty much every other democratic legislature on earth! This is almost as scary as contemplating the non-existent possibility that Congress will pass a broccoli mandate!

While unfortunately Reid gave the wrong answer, let’s also consider McConnell’s follow-up question:

“How would you feel if two years from now I have your job and my members are saying let’s get rid of the filibuster altogether with 51 votes?” McConnell asked Reid during floor debate.

I’d feel great about it!

Which is why I approve of this relatively modest filibuster reform, although I think the efficacy of requiring “real” filibusters is in itself greatly overstated. It’s the same reason that the Democrats should have filibustered Alito although it probably would have triggered the “nuclear option” rather than actually keeping Alito off the bench. The more you chip away, the more likely it is that Republicans will eliminate it when they get the chance. Which would be a great thing in the long term even if it meant some bad legislation in the short term.

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