(National Sentinel) Senate: President Donald J. Trump is getting on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s case big time about getting rid of one that chamber’s worst impediments to majority rule: The filibuster.
And frankly, McConnell should do it, especially after his failure to push through a repeal-and-replacement of Obamacare.
Noting that “eight Democrats” are holding back the GOP’s and Trump’s agenda, the president said McConnell needs to “get smart” and allow the Republican majority to lead, calling the filibuster rule “a joke,” The Daily Caller reported.
The filibuster is a dilatory or obstructive tactic used in the Senate to prevent a measure from being brought to a vote. As noted by this definition, the process has been bastardized and abused by minority parties for decades:
In 1970, the Senate adopted a “two-track” procedure to prevent filibusters from stopping all other Senate business. The minority then felt politically safer in threatening filibusters more regularly, which became normalized over time to the point that 60 votes are now required to end debate on nearly every controversial legislative item. As a result, the modern “filibuster” rarely manifests as an extended floor debate. Instead, “the contemporary Senate has morphed into a 60-vote institution — the new normal for approving measures or matters — a fundamental transformation from earlier eras.”
For the record, if the 17th Amendment had never been proposed and ratified, this wouldn’t be an issue. The original Constitution (Article I, Sect. 3) provided that the two senators for each state would be chosen by the state’s legislature; the 17th Amendment did away with that and permitted senators to be chosen by popular vote, just like members of the U.S. House. If the framers’ original intent of having state legislatures choose U.S. senators was still in practice today, Republicans would overwhelmingly control the Senate, as something like 36 state legislatures are completely controlled by the GOP.
Democracy in direct elections for senators? Not really. As a republic, not a democracy, the framers intended for members of the House to represent the people; they intended for senators to represent states and uphold their rights in Congress; the 17th Amendment did away with states’ rights, essentially, and the federal government has been running roughshod over them ever since to the point now that the 10th Amendment doesn’t even exist in practice.
So really, the bottom line is, Trump is right: Without state legislatures choosing senators and with the filibuster rule in place, both serve as insurance that the majority never really gets to govern and do the people’s will.
Will McConnell accede? Doubtful. Republicans cling to self-limiting rules while Democrats break them whenever it suits their agenda. Trump knows this too, as he tweeted this morning:
We’re waiting, Mr. Majority Leader.