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No. of Recommendations: 27
Republicans mainly use the filibuster to block what would be popular legislation that Democrats really want to pass, and would improve the future electoral prospects for Democrats.

Democrats mainly use the filibuster to block what would be unpopular legislation that Republicans, many times, are only pretending to their base that they would like to pass, and would harm future electoral prospects for Republicans.

Republicans are happy with getting their tax cuts through reconciliation, and judges through the filibuster carve out, and saying to the base "we'd really LOVE to pass draconian Federal anti-abortion legislation, but those darn Democrats won't let us!"

Democratic legislators, on the other hand, really do want to actually do stuff to help the American people.

Gordon66

Ps, when I listen to discussions about whether there should be a filibuster carve out for voting rights, I feel like I'm in crazy town. It's as if it's 1963, and we're aware Oswald is pointing a high-powered rifle at President Kennedy, and Democrats are actually discussing whether or not maybe they should do something about that. The Republicans have a high-powered rifle aimed at the head of Democracy, and they are going to pull the trigger if Democrats don't develop the will to stop them.
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No. of Recommendations: 1
Republicans mainly use the filibuster to block what would be popular legislation that Democrats really want to pass, and would improve the future electoral prospects for Democrats.

Democrats mainly use the filibuster to block what would be unpopular legislation that Republicans, many times, are only pretending to their base that they would like to pass, and would harm future electoral prospects for Republicans.


Quibble - both sides mainly use the filibuster to force the other party to waste time.

To illustrate, consider the following trivia question: In what session of Congress were the most filibuster cloture motions filed?

The answer? The latter two years of Trump's term - when the Democrats held a 36-seat majority in the House. 328 cloture motions were filed - crushing the previous record of 252 cloture motions, set back in the 113th Congress (the first two years of Obama's second term, when the GOP also had a 30+ seat majority in the House):

https://www.senate.gov/legislative/cloture/clotureCounts.htm...

Seems counter-intuitive, right? After all, there was no need to file that many filibusters against the GOP to stop legislation from getting passed after the 2018 midterms. After all, the Democrats controlled the House by a wide margin. There were 50% more filibusters than were filed during the first two years of the Trump resistance, when the GOP actually controlled both chambers of Congress and thus could in theory pass any legislation that got through the Senate. Why would Democrats hold the record for most filibusters in a single Congress, and at a time when they held the House?

The answer, of course, is that filibusters add time to the process. They just chew up Senate floor time. So even though the filibuster is utterly unnecessary to stop legislation from getting passed, the minority party invokes filibuster after filibuster on everything. Even stuff the minority party has no problem with - of the 328 filibusters that went to cloture motion, 270 passed the 60 vote threshold to invoke cloture (and in the 113th, most filibusters passed the 60-vote margin as well).

Albaby
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No. of Recommendations: 2
Albaby,
Thanks for the nuance. Excluding those filibusters intended only to waste time, rather than to block legislation I believe my point still stands.
Gordon66
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No. of Recommendations: 3
Excluding those filibusters intended only to waste time, rather than to block legislation I believe my point still stands.

I think that's a bit of wishful thinking, unfortunately. It's not like the Republicans don't have the ability to put together a bill that consists of things that are mostly popular on a host of subjects.

For example, you noted abortion. If the GOP put together a package that prohibited all public funding for abortion services (not just federal, but state and local tax proceeds as well), outlawed third-trimester abortion altogether, prohibited second-trimester abortions except for rape, incest, and life of mother, and required abortions to be provided in facilities that had some minimum standards that sound reasonable (but are really restrictive in practice) - all of those things individually poll pretty well. Put them together in a bill, and you probably have a political winner. For the base, that would be a vast improvement over current conditions, and would sharply curtail abortions in states they can't reach. They'd love to curtail abortion access in CA and NY.

The reason that you don't see the GOP bringing these kinds of bills forward isn't because the GOP doesn't have a federal legislative agenda. It's because McConnell has a different tactical approach than Democrats, and the GOP base has different expectations. Democrats like to bring forward bills that will fail against the blockade of the filibuster, then yell about how Republicans are obstructionist; McConnell hates to bring a bill forward unless he can pass it. Getting a bill through the legislative process requires Congresscritters to commit to trade-offs and compromises that can be politically damaging for the members, and McConnell (unlike Pelosi or Schumer) generally doesn't think it's worth it just to be able to criticize the Democrats on obstructionism. And the base hasn't really demanded that the party take lots of useless votes in Congress - the party's repeated useless state measures are enough to assuage them that the party is committed to fighting abortion.

McConnell knows that the abortion bill I described above would probably poll well enough that it would be to his members' advantage to pass it. But he also doesn't want his members to get into an internal debate over what it means to "protect the life of the mother," or what the enforcement mechanisms should like, unless he knows the bill will pass. The bill can pass if the filibuster is gone (under a GOP trifecta), but under the filibuster it's dead.

There is a world of federal legislation that the GOP could and would pass if the filibuster went away. Both the popular things dealing with hot button issues (like above), but also the myriad things that the public will just never focus on but that GOP constituents will love.

Albaby
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No. of Recommendations: 3
My view is the next time the Republicans get in power they get rid of the filibuster so they can do what ever they want...

As the Republicans are not afraid of exercising raw nekkid power.

And in general what the Republican's want, along Democratic "conservative" politicians want, is also what their paymasters want -- America's 740+ billionaires, the corporations they own, and the executives that run them..

The interests of average Americans has no baring...
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No. of Recommendations: 0
We just have to continue to rely on Stacy Abrams and black women voters to save us again.

Ken
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No. of Recommendations: 1
For example, you noted abortion. If the GOP put together a package that prohibited all public funding for abortion services (not just federal, but state and local tax proceeds as well), outlawed third-trimester abortion altogether, prohibited second-trimester abortions except for rape, incest, and life of mother, and required abortions to be provided in facilities that had some minimum standards that sound reasonable (but are really restrictive in practice) - all of those things individually poll pretty well. Put them together in a bill, and you probably have a political winner. For the base, that would be a vast improvement over current conditions, and would sharply curtail abortions in states they can't reach. They'd love to curtail abortion access in CA and NY.

I think an omnibus abortion restriction bill such as this would not poll as well as you think, except in red states. It all adds up to "severely restricting access to abortion nationwide", which is against the preferences of a comfortable majority nationwide, and against huge majorities in blue states, and in the suburbs, where I think it would mobilize young people and women (even more) against the Republican party.

Gordon66
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No. of Recommendations: 7
We just have to continue to rely on Stacy Abrams and black women voters to save us again.

I love Stacy Abrams, and if I could pick any person in America to be president, it just might be her.

But I don't see how she's going to keep the partisan hacks that Republicans are installing on Michigan's election certification board from refusing to certify election results in Wayne county in 2024 in the event a Democrat wins Michigan. Or from doing the same in enough other states to ensure the election will go to the House of Representatives to be decided by Republican State delegations.

Gordon66
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No. of Recommendations: 0
I think an omnibus abortion restriction bill such as this would not poll as well as you think, except in red states.

I think it might poll better than you think, except in blue states. There's pretty strong support for a middle ground position on abortion that neither party really pushes for - entirely legal in the first trimester, and mostly illegal in the second and third trimesters:

https://apnews.com/article/only-on-ap-us-supreme-court-abort...

Restricting taxpayer funding for abortion services also polls very highly:

In every poll, a plurality of Americans opposes public funding of abortions. In every poll but one, that plurality is a majority. The questions vary, but the result is the same. Respondents support “banning federal funding for abortion” except in rape cases or to save the woman’s life (Politico/Morning Consult, 2019). They believe that “government health insurance programs for low-income women, like Medicaid,” should not “cover abortion” (PRRI, 2018). They oppose “using tax dollars to pay for a woman’s abortion” (Marist, 2019). They oppose allowing “Medicaid funds to be used to pay for abortions” (Politico/Harvard, 2016). When they’re told that “the Hyde Amendment prohibits federal funds from being used to fund abortions, except in the case of incest, rape or to save the life of the mother,” they endorse the amendment (YouGov, 2016). These polls aren’t close. The average gap between the pro-funding and anti-funding positions is 19 percentage points.

https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2019/06/joe-biden-hyde-a...

It's true that sometimes rolling up a bunch of propositions that have strong majority support for the individual components results in an amalgam that's less popular than the sum of its parts. But that almost never slows down the momentum within a party for passing it - so I doubt very much that the GOP would refrain from their omnibus abortion bill when every individual component polls with huge margins.

Albaby
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No. of Recommendations: 0
"Corporate Democrats" (they tend to refer to themselves as "Moderate Democrats") are as much to blame as Republicans for their lack of action. They are not going to wake up and see that if they do not work as a team, the GQP will simply render them irrelevant. It is already happening. The minority party has not had to do much of anything to block Biden's agenda. Democrats have managed to do that to themselves. Corporate DEMS are also never going to address the advantage Republicans have gotten over them (even as Republican numbers have dwindled and made them a minority party). That advantage is primarily the development of multi-billion dollar propaganda machine. Democrats continue to rely on the "truth" as reported by mainstream media to sell their message and their party. But Republicans no longer even have to try to spin the news or sell their message. They simply let Fox News and the rest of the right wing echo chamber lie for them. GQP voters do not even listen or watch actual factual news anymore.

When you say things like this on this discussion board, you will quickly learn that "Moderate Democrats" will be the ones that attack what you post, not the GQP. It is sad to watch my country sink into third world status because "Moderate Democrats are more interested in whining about dishonest and corrupt Republicans than they are about implementing the modifications to our election system, preserving Democratic voting, or insuring actual majority rule in Washington. I cannot tell whether the Moderate DEMS simply do not want to admit what is going on, or whether they really are as clueless as they appear to be.
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My view is the next time the Republicans get in power they get rid of the filibuster so they can do what ever they want...

As the Republicans are not afraid of exercising raw nekkid power.


Well, they didn't the last two times they were in power. The GOP held a trifecta in both the W and Trump Administrations. But just like Schumer, McConnell probably doesn't have the votes to eliminate the filibuster if he only has a small majority. Trump was pushing him to eliminate it during the 2017-2018 Congress, but McConnell largely ignored it. He was able to get the votes to expand the judicial exemption to cover SCOTUS appointments vey easily, but stopped there. I suspect there are at least a few GOP Senators who like the limits that the filibuster puts on the deeply 'out there' base in the party - and as the recent experiences of Manchin and Sinema illustrate, it's a mixed blessing being the focal point of all of the pressure from your party's base.

If 2024 is a very strong GOP election, though, they might get a larger Senate majority than they had in either W or Trump's time. If they get a majority in the 54+ seat range, they might be able to ignore the handful of more center-leaning Republican Senators and push through a filibuster change on their own.

But regardless, it's much easier for them to start moving their legislative agenda if they don't have to have that filibuster fight themselves if the Democrats remove it.

Albaby
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No. of Recommendations: 7
albaby1: The GOP held a trifecta in both the W and Trump Administrations. But just like Schumer, McConnell probably doesn't have the votes to eliminate the filibuster if he only has a small majority.


Please remember that the last time the filibuster presented a serious obstacle to the GOP agenda, Moscow Mitch did a carve out of the filibuster and got things done (Supreme Court justices).

But the real reason Moscow Mitch didn’t completely end the filibuster is that he could pass the bulk of his agenda without doing so (and he was concerned about losing the senate in the next election cycle).

There are three ways to bypass the 60-vote filibuster. One, must-pass bills. Two, budget reconciliation. Three, packing the courts.

Must-pass bills allow for only minor tinkering -- no sweeping changes. The must-pass bill is available to some conservative priorities and almost no progressive ones.

Budget reconciliation favors republicans. Republicans can achieve their top priorities — shrinking government and cutting taxes for rich people — through budget reconciliation. Not democrats... fighting climate change, banning assault weapons, and expanding voting rights don't pass the reconciliation test.

We're beginning to see the results of McConnell's success at packing the courts right now.

Reagan republicans placed tax cuts above all else. Trump republicans already got their tax cuts. Next up are culture wars and voter suppression, neither of which will pass the reconciliation test. So expect republicans to demand results over procedure and dump the the 60-vote filibuster. And which republicans will resist? Romney? Murkowski? I wouldn't hold my breath.
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But the real reason Moscow Mitch didn’t completely end the filibuster is that he could pass the bulk of his agenda without doing so (and he was concerned about losing the senate in the next election cycle).

Perhaps - but I think it's still wishful thinking. Assume that the GOP didn't have any legislative agenda they wanted to pass for the last twenty years (to explain why they didn't abolish the legislative filibuster), but then posit that they suddenly now have a legislative agenda (so they'll abolish the filibuster anyway if the Democrats don't do it).

I still think the most likely explanation is the simplest one - the Republicans have a legislative agenda that they would have acted on if the filibuster wasn't in place. Heck, the ACA repeal is an excellent example of that - they certainly could have crafted a bill that would have repealed Obamacare that could have gotten 50 votes if they weren't constrained by the filibuster to only those provisions that could pass in reconciliation (yes, the BCRA notwithstanding). They didn't abolish the filibuster for the same reason the Democrats hadn't previously - they either don't have the votes internally or they recognize (sensibly) that the filibuster offers them a lot of protection against the opposing party passing things they hate. Or both.

And which republicans will resist? Romney? Murkowski? I wouldn't hold my breath.

Why not? McCain gets all the credit because of his dramatic gesture, but Murkowski and Collins were just as willing to defy the President and their entire party on the single biggest domestic priority of the GOP in voting against the ACA skinny repeal. I have no doubt that Romney would be perfectly happy to join them. Especially since he'll almost certainly never have to face the voters again after making that choice (the earliest this becomes relevant is after the 2024 election, where Romney will be 77 years old with a full six year term ahead of him).

Albaby
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No. of Recommendations: 3
Budget reconciliation favors republicans. Republicans can achieve their top priorities — shrinking government and cutting taxes for rich people — through budget reconciliation. Not democrats... fighting climate change, banning assault weapons, and expanding voting rights don't pass the reconciliation test.


Many/most climate change programs involve changes to the budget, so they are amenable to reconciliation ... Dems are just having trouble with it now because they need EVERY Democrat Senator to get on board to pass a reconciliation bill, and Manchin is balking at the climate legislation that was proposed.
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