If GOP Hates Democracy So Much, Make Them Stand Against It 1

Love, like, or hate him, Senator Joe Manchin is right about one thing: If Republicans are going to filibuster, they should have to really filibuster.

For context, as things stand now in Washington, Democrats handily control the House of Representatives, but just barely control the Senate, which has 50 Democrats and 50 Republicans, with Vice President Kamala Harris providing the tie-breaking vote. (Technically, Bernie Sanders is not a Democrat but “caucuses with Democrats” so that counts. Ditto Maine’s Angus King.)

Trouble is, since 1917, supermajorities—originally two-thirds, lowered to three-fifths in 1975— have been required in the Senate to end debate on most subjects. (Before that, thanks, I kid you not, to a change made by Aaron Burr, it was impossible to close off debate at all.) That means that, functionally, Republicans can now stop the Senate from doing all sorts of things if just 10 of them refuse to go along with it. They can just keep talking and talking and talking; they can “filibuster.”