Originally Posted by The Closer
This x 10000000.
My fingers have been crossed non-stop since the election hoping that this would happen.
There'll probably be more than just that in their filibuster reform. I still don't completely understand it yet but apparently whether someone stands up there and talks or not isn't actually a structural part of the filibuster and it being there or not won't ultimately change the end result in itself.
2. Please, please, please: Forget about Jimmy Stewart. The urgent question is whether a supermajority should be needed to get things done. What’s wrong isn’t that a silent minority can block things; it’s that any minority can block anything it wants. There’s simply no reason to believe that “live” talking filibusters — senators preventing a vote by speechifying endlessly on the floor — have anything to do with it. Nor should they. It’s just a distraction from the real issues involved.
The idea that Republicans would surrender if only they were forced to stand up and fight for their views is, well, totally divorced from the reality of what politicians are like. Republicans — any minority party, on almost any issue — would be very happy to hold the floor indefinitely. It’s free publicity for them. And they care little that nothing else can get done in the meantime. They’re in the minority; the things they want aren’t going to happen anyway!
That’s why it’s the majority party that benefits from avoiding live, talking, filibusters. Indeed, under current rules, the majority could force a live filibuster at any time; there’s just no point in doing it. The demise of live filibusters isn’t what caused the explosion of filibusters, and forcing live filibusters by itself isn’t going to end anything.
Of course, it is possible to change the rules to filibusters to defeat that way, but why would you want to do it? If you want majority-party rule, just pass it. If you want some modified system (which is what I favor), just pass it.
The thing is, any modified system — and regardless of what I or any other reformer wants, that’s what it’s going to take to get action in the incoming Senate — really does need careful design. What’s the real goal? How can you really preserve the protection for minorities that senators want, without giving a minority party an absolute veto on everything? How can you preserve the influence of individual senators and the ability of majorities to act? The truth is that those are actually very difficult questions.
And none of it has anything at all to do with Jimmy Stewart.
The funny thing is that the live filibuster does have a place in the Senate, and that place is totally secure. It’s not for winning; it’s not for blocking anything. It’s for a lone, solitary cry; it’s a way to shine a little publicity on something when a senator is faced with hopeless odds.
After all, that’s what Jimmy Stewart was doing in the movie.
But in real life, it’s not supposed to win; it’s just a short bid for attention, whether it’s used by Bernie Sanders or Al D’Amato or, yes, Strom Thurmond. Real filibusters have rarely (if ever) been “live” ones, and there’s absolutely no reason they should be.The idea that Republicans would surrender if only they were forced to stand up and fight for their views is, well, totally divorced from the reality of what politicians are like. Republicans — any minority party, on almost any issue — would be very happy to hold the floor indefinitely. It’s free publicity for them. And they care little that nothing else can get done in the meantime. They’re in the minority; the things they want aren’t going to happen anyway!
Like I said, I still don't get it all myself but from what I do get, there needs to be greater structural reform. Apparently, the potential problem has always been there but it's only been a recent thing where one party is just blocking everything so much, in the past, both parties were able to negotiate much more readily when one side had more than 50 and less than 60 votes.
For example, look at the DISCLOSE Act, whether or not you agree with it, the fact is that it passed the house and got a 59-39 vote in favour in the Senate but the Democrats had just lost the Massachusetts Senate seat (and their effectively only 6 week old supermajority - not 2 years old as some people might try to say) and then everything went downhill from there.
If the Democrats ever decided to act the same way as the Republicans as opposed to compromising, they could in theory paralyse just about everything, which wouldn't be good for anyone. I don't think they will though.