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You think the GOP doesn't want to restrict abortion rights in California? Re-write immigration law? Rewrite the Clean Air Act to eliminate EPA's ability to regulate carbon? Impose nationwide "voting security" rules? Maybe pass some sweeping protections preserving the liberty to contract, or take another shot at a beefed up Religious Freedom Restoration Act? How about a nationwide firearms carry permit that pre-empts state licensing requirements?

Of course the would like to. But, as you so often point out, most of the GOP politicians aren't stupid. Trying to pass some of these things at the federal level would cost them too much. The last two elections taught us a lot.

The GOP is a minority party. So are Democrats, if you want to get picky. Neither have more than 50% of the voters. Currently, I believe independents are the largest group by voter registration, with Democrat second and Republican third. If the GOP wants to retain power, they can't get the independents too mad at them. They'll lose too many independent voters to third parties or <gasp!> to the Democrats.

There is a decent argument that electing Trump in 2016 cost the GOP the House in 2018, then the Senate and White House in 2020. If they got the House and Senate back in 2022 (something that is realistically possible) and then did away with the filibuster to pass these laws (and ignoring the fact that Biden would undoubtedly veto several of them and the likelihood that there won't be enough GOP votes in the Senate to override), there would undoubtedly be a backlash in 2024.

The reason the GOP works on these laws at the state level is that there are several states where these laws are popular enough to get support by their electorate. But they are not popular across the entire country. So they get these laws in place in the states where they can. That makes the GOP ideas look at least plausible. Then they can use that success to carve out enough districts here and there elsewhere in the country to remain viable at the national level. (Plus do a bit of gerrymandering at the state level to keep their thumb on the scales in the states where they are popular.)

But the GOP never really needs to pass national laws to keep their agenda moving forward. They only need do so at the state level. At the national level, it is sufficient to be an impediment to Democrats. That blocking action is on a par with passing laws, at least from what I can tell. And the laws the GOP can pass via reconciliation - like tax cuts - are also extremely popular with their voters.

On the other hand, the Democrat platform hinges significantly on actually doing things - on making government bigger in various places. Blocking the GOP agenda is not a sufficient action in the eyes of those voting for Democrats.

Remember, the main GOP idea is smaller government. You don't get smaller government by passing more laws. But you can keep it from growing by blocking Democrat's new laws.

So the filibuster is an asymmetric tool. It helps the GOP greatly, but isn't as useful to the Democrats. Yes, it would prevent some of the things Democrats see as excesses. (Abortion restrictions, voting restrictions, firearm UNrestrictions.) But the GOP doesn't need those things to be popular with their base. They only need to keep government from growing to get an OK rating from much of their base. But Democrats get a failing grade if they don't pass laws. To get to an OK rating, they need to actually do something - to pass laws. And that would be easier without the filibuster.

--Peter
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