In the face of obduracy, the only way Democrats can get democracy reform, universal background checks on guns, climate change laws, minimum wage increases and immigration reform will be to overcome the impossible 60-vote hurdle. To do so will require all 50 Democrats to agree, and several, led by Manchin and Sinema, are resistant.
But it is still doable, not by eliminating the filibuster or weakening it, but by restoring it. For most of its existence, the rule and norms surrounding filibusters put the burden on the minority to go to extraordinary lengths, and pain, to block or retard action in the Senate. Now, the burden is entirely on the majority. The best reform, promoted by former Sen. Al Franken and me for a decade, is to flip the numbers, from 60 required to end debate to 41 required to continue it, with the 41 having to maintain the floor continuously while debating germanely. Manchin has spoken favorably about this approach. If Democrats do it, they will have a fighting chance to do much more to cement their legacy. [Continue reading…]