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Old 02-20-2019, 06:47 PM
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erimir erimir is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2005
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Default Re: Ultimate Cagefight MMXIX, Democratic Edition

It didn't blow up in our face when we eliminated it for appointments. There were a bunch of vacant executive branch positions and vacant seats on district courts that Republicans were not allowing Obama to fill. Eliminating the non-SCOTUS appointment filibuster allowed him to fill them. The Republicans were radically expanding the use of the filibuster to simply hold seats vacant to prevent Democrats from gaining/expanding majorities on courts, and to hobble the executive branch.

Three years later, the Republicans radically expanded obstructionism further by blocking Obama from appointing a Supreme Court justice altogether. The filibuster was not relevant since they had a majority, but it does show the radicalism they bring.

Four years later, the Republicans eliminated it to get Gorsuch through, and quickly. You're delusional if you think McConnell would've let the filibuster stop them from regaining a majority on the Supreme Court. It might be true that the filibuster for executive branch officials might not have been eliminated immediately and McConnell would've let it stand to pressure Trump to pick better nominees in some cases (like Perry at Energy, or Carson at HUD), but that would've been at the cost of worse government from 2013-2016. And Democrats probably would have filibustered Sessions for AG, and I don't think McConnell would've been willing to let that stand.

Keeping the filibuster under Obama would've just meant that the executive branch was understaffed, and there would be even more judicial vacancies for Trump to fill. It would not have led to McConnell allowing Democrats to block right-wing nutjob, racist, misogynist and/or theocrat appointees indefinitely.

The filibuster for appointments died because the Republican Party decided that Democratic administrations don't have any legitimacy and Democratic Congressional input doesn't either. Being nice to the Republicans and letting them filibuster some stuff won't make them keep it around when it suits them to eliminate it*. It will just mean they will block anything Democrats want to do even if they have a clear majority, and by hobbling government and voting rights, they will simultaneously make it harder for Democrats to be reelected.

I think Democrats could improve voting rights and democracy in the US and people's lives, and those things would make them more likely to be reelected. But they'll only be able to do most of that if the filibuster dies.

The experience with Garland's and Gorsuch's nominations also shows that these procedural changes aren't likely to have much political blowback. Republicans still won after blocking Garland, and the Democrats' wins in 2018 were not because of eliminating the filibuster for Gorsuch (indeed, the GOP expanded their senate majority), but because of the attempts to gut Medicaid and the ACA, the tax cuts being giveaways to the rich, and Trump's general criminality and incompetence.

*To be honest, they'll only likely eliminate it if they are planning on transitioning to a one-party-dominated faux democracy, because the filibuster is far more useful for the GOP than the Democratic Party. Stopping new government programs with the filibuster is much harder than letting them shrivel through budget shenanigans. Their priorities are more easily achieved with it. Keep in mind also how long civil rights bills were blocked by filibusters. And since the senate is biased towards Republicans due to small Western states and California/New York/Illinois getting only six senators, it will be easier for them to achieve a majority large enough to make the filibuster irrelevant, whereas the filibuster will almost always be able to block Democratic initiatives. They didn't get rid of it this time because the ability to block future Democratic legislation is far more important than having a slightly easier time passing tax cuts and gutting healthcare. They couldn't get 50 votes for repealing the ACA in the first place, so the filibuster wasn't relevant there. That it's even a debate whether repealing the filibuster to address the existential threat of climate change, expand voting rights, make DC a state, pass gun control, reform immigration, etc. shows that it wouldn't have been worth it for McConnell. The possibility that president Harris or Warren or Sanders won't be able to pass almost anything was too valuable to give up for a bill that struggled to get even 50 votes. It shouldn't be a debate for Democrats - climate change alone would justify eliminating it.
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Crumb (02-20-2019), specious_reasons (02-20-2019), The Man (02-20-2019)
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