Cartoon: The wonders of the filibuster!

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What makes democracy less democratic? Why, the Senate filibuster rule of course! We’re hearing quite a bit about the filibuster these days because it is what is keeping Democrats in Congress from passing essential voting rights legislation. (You know, the legislation that is vital because Republicans in Washington, D.C. and in statehouses across the country seem determined to subvert our elections.)

The filibuster — found nowhere in the U.S. Constitution but sitting in the convoluted morass of official Senate Rules — is what makes just about all current legislation passing through the Senate require 60 votes to pass.

As you can imagine, with Democrats having a very narrow majority and the Republican party taken over by conspiracy-minded Trumpists, that supermajority requirement makes it very hard to get anything done. Even previously bipartisan initiatives like, oh, voting and democracy, go nowhere.

Since there is a real risk of the Republican Party further undermining democracy, Joe Biden and most of the Democrats in Congress are willing to make a limited carve-out that will dump the filibuster and allow them to pass voting rights bills with a 51-vote majority. What a novel idea, majority rule in a democracy?!

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