Killing the Filibuster


Ezra Klein notes that the American Constitution Society, the Sierra Club, Common Cause and the Communications Workers of America are holding a conference call today to highlight filibuster abuse:

One of the questions I’ve posed occasionally on this blog is whether various organized constituencies will eventually recognize that their agenda isn’t being stalled because specific senators aren’t convinced of the merits of their bills, but because the filibuster makes it extremely difficult to pass anything. If immigration groups, environmental advocates, labor unions, business lobbies, pro-nuclear power coalitions and so on began pooling some of their resources and relationships to work on Senate rules reform, that would be a big deal. And yesterday brought evidence that it’s beginning to happen.

Beginning, maybe, but probably not going anywhere. My guess is that this kind of thing will only make a difference if conservative groups join in, and they’ll only join in if they think their goals are being impeded by the filibuster. So here’s the question: are there any important conservative goals that could probably muster 51 votes but not 60 in the Senate? Given the size of the current Democratic majority, probably none at the moment, but how about in January? If you can think of any, the groups who are behind them are the ones who might make good political allies.

Of course, teaming up with these groups (if they exist) would really drive home the fact that filibuster reform is a two-way street. Liberals might get their way more often on some things, but they’d also lose more often on other things. It’s easy to say you’re willing to take that chance, but I wonder how many liberals would change their minds if they were confronted with some very specific examples of just what conservatives could do with a 50-vote Senate?

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

Share your feedback: We’re planning to launch a new version of the comments section. Help us test it.