Despite Biden’s Claims, Abolishing the Filibuster Will Weaken U.S. Democracy

The defense of the filibuster was eloquently explained a few years ago, not by Mitch McConnell (R-KY) or Donald Trump, who actually wanted to nuke it as well, but by the very same who are today pushing for its abolition

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On Tuesday, President Biden gave a speech announcing his intent to push Congress to abolish the filibuster in order to get their overhaul of the electoral system through the Senate with their one-seat majority. Biden framed the issue as one of the ultimate defenses of American democracy, saying that supporting this policy will defend democracy against “enemies-foreign, and, yes, domestic.” There is one problem with this rationale. However, it makes no sense at all.

Biden’s rationale is based on one principle and one action. The principle is that the biggest threat to American democracy comes in the form of GOP-backed electoral laws that have the aim of creating a “Jim Crow 2.0” and suppressing the vote of minorities. Biden argues that “we must stand together to make sure January 6th marks not the end of democracy but the beginning of a renaissance of our democracy.” The action to be taken to solve this problem is to nix the filibuster and pass a sweeping bill to standardize electoral rules across the country, do that, and democracy will be saved.

President Biden gave a speech on Tuesday urging the Senate to ditch the Filibuster (EFE)

GOP Voter laws did not cause the January 6 mayhem

Few will deny that the stability of the American system is fragile, last year’s riots showed some weak points in the republican system that may need to be fixed in order to ensure that the next elections will end up in a peaceful and ordered transfer of power. However, the chaos on January 6 had little to do with the voter laws in Arizona, Florida, or Georgia. Protestors did not get into the halls of Congress because local poll workers asked for photo IDs to voters in Atlanta, Georgia.

No, the January 6 riot happened (partly) because of outdated and arcane legislation (the Electoral Count Act) that was so vague regulating the electoral count process that allowed some to believe that the election could be overturned if enough Senators were pressured that day. Passing the latest Democrat’s wish list into law will not do anything to solve this issue.

Additionally, some of the measures that Democrats have compared to the very worst of American history, actually have little effect on minority turnout. For example, Georgia introduced strict voter ID laws back in 2008, and research showed that although the law “lowered turnout by about four-tenths of a percentage point in 2008. (…) we find no empirical evidence to suggest that there is a racial or ethnic component to this suppression effect.” Furthermore, a comprehensive study on Voter ID laws across the country found they have no significant effect on suppressing the voter turnout of minorities.

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Destroying the Filibuster will do nothing to restore American’s confidence in the democratic system (EFE)

Nuking the Filibuster will come back and haunt Democrats in the future

Not only is the principle of Biden’s argument wrong, but his approach will also do much more harm than good to the health of the American system and will probably be a disastrous move in the long run for Democrats themselves.

The defense of the filibuster was very eloquently explained a few years ago, not by Senate Minority Mitch McConnell (R-KY) or former President Donald Trump, who actually wanted to nuke it as well, but by the very same who are today pushing for its abolition.

Senate Majority leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said back in 2005 that attempts to eliminate the filibuster would “plunge this Senate, this city, and this country into a constitutional crisis, into an end of what is ever left of comity in the Senate, which is the body that has at least some comity left.” He also quoted a conservative author in that speech, who said that “Eviscerating the filibuster would violate the spirit of the Constitution and endanger our rights as individuals against excessive governmental power.”

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Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer pushes eliminating the Filibuster, he is forgetting he himself regretted partly eliminating it back in 2013 (EFE)

Eliminating the filibuster would not only be a complete 180-degree turn by Democrat heavyweights, but it would also be a very dumb political move in the long term. As many progressives have admitted, the Republicans have an advantage over Democrats to keep the Senate majority, since the GOP has been constantly outperforming Democrats in rural areas. Hence, it is more likely than not that the Republican Party would be on the majority, and Democrats would rue the day they decided to give away all the power of the minority as the GOP passes all the legislation they want.

In fact, they have already done this. In 2013, then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid eliminated the Filibuster for judicial nominations, just a few years down the road, Republicans used the same tactic to confirm three SCOTUS nominees to the supreme court. Schumer himself said in 2017 he regretted Reid’s decision to blow up the Filibuster, although it appears he has now conveniently forgotten that.

As Cesar Ybarra, the Director of Legislative Affairs of Freedom Works, masterfully illustrated in comments to El American: “You find numerous examples of Democrats like President Biden and Leader Schumer contradicting themselves with their past defense of the filibuster. Now, they seem willing to do anything and everything to maintain power in Washington. They will almost assuredly change their tune as soon as the GOP reclaims its majorities.”

Destroying the Filibuster will do absolutely nothing to reassure Americans’ trust in the system. As Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT) said in his speech defending the Filibuster, if Democrats decide to fundamentally rewrite the election rules in the entire country through the slimmest majority possible in the Senate, will only increase the division and anger in the country.

Nuking the Filibuster in order to pass a sweeping partisan election bill across the country will not strengthen the faith in American democracy, it will damage it irreparably.

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