September 17, 2021


True Conservative Viewpoints

Shock! Majority Party Less Interested in Minority Rights

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) speaks during a news conference in the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., January 26, 2021. (Al Drago/Reuters)

At the Huffington Post, Igor Bobic suggests that Democrats are turning against the filibuster, and argues that this signals an interesting change in the party’s “thinking.” As evidence for this proposition he writes:

Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto of Nevada just became the latest Democratic senator to come out in support of reforming the 60-vote threshold on legislation. A member of the establishment wing of the party, Cortez Masto chaired the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee during the 2020 election cycle.

Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith of Minnesota similarly endorsed reforming or eliminating the filibuster in the past week, adding to the momentum.

That centrist rank-and-file Democrats are increasingly calling for a major Senate rule change is a huge deal. It shows the party itself is rapidly changing on an idea that had large bipartisan opposition as recently as a few years ago. In 2017, for example, 33 Democrats signed a letter authored by Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) reaffirming the rights of the minority via the legislative filibuster. Some of those Democratic senators are now opening the door to future reforms.

But this isn’t evidence of anything other than that the Democratic Party is unprincipled on the question of the filibuster. When Republicans had the majority, back in 2017, many in the minority party supported minority rights. Now that that minority is in the majority, most of the same people do not. That is a change, yes, but it does not reflect a shift in thinking on the “idea”; it reflects a switch in power. Were the same Democrats adjusting their positions from the minority, it would, indeed, be interesting. But they’re not. That Bobic can’t see this is astonishing.

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