This past weekend, 43 out of 50 Republican Senators voted to support sedition. On January 6th, just hours after Donald Trump launched an insurrectionist attack on The Capitol, Congress and his own Vice President, 136 of 211 Republicans in the House voted for sedition. In 28 Republican-run states, there are at least 106 bills already filed to suppress voting. There’s even one Republican bill in Arizona that would literally give the state legislature the power to throw out election results if they don’t like them and just award the state’s electoral votes to whichever candidate they choose. They should call it the Fascism First Bill.
Adding it all up, there is absolutely no doubt that the GOP is now the POS, Party of Sedition. Oddly, they have one foot planted solidly in the world of legitimate political parties (due to their past) and one foot firmly planted in the rotted garbage heap of autocracy (their current identity).
One sad-but-true fact about the GOP that can’t be disputed when looking at their legislative track record is that they oppose democracy. This is the mentality of a minority party. They can’t win elections fairly because they can’t appeal to a majority of voters anymore. They no longer have positions on issues to sway voters to come over to their side, they only have lies, conspiracy theories, racism, and authoritarianism because it’s the opium to which their cultish supporters are addicted. The GOP can’t afford to lose the cuckoo bird they have in the hand to chase the many sane birds in the bush.
The GOP uses gerrymandering, Voter ID, purging voter rolls, shrinking the number and available hours of polling places, and all manner of legal and illegal methods or suppressing people’s right to vote (primarily people of color and others who are more likely to vote Democratic).
So let’s dispense with the diplomatic facade. The GOP is an anti-democracy, pro-tyranny clan. They are hollowed out as a political party and now exist solely as an authoritarian cult of personality that worships one deranged man over their country. The GOP is now The American ISIS, they have a strict, religious-styled pro-dictatorial dogma and they will politically behead anyone who does not conform to their faith in hatefulness.
They have been working hard to infect Americans with doubt in the legitimacy of their elections. They have unleashed a rabid mentality of racism, hyper-partisanship and delusion in their followers, turning them into a violent, private army for their Dear Leader.
The obvious question is, how can our democracy survive if the GOP stands a chance of winning back power in the future through their undemocratic sabotage of elections?
It can’t. It won’t. Had Trump’s buffet of election rigging worked and if he was successful in stealing the election, our democracy would now be gasping its last breath. We came that close. While we may have won this critical battle in 2020, the war is not over and we may still lose our democracy in 2024.
And know this, Trump and his fellow GOP fascists have learned from their experiences, they won’t make the same mistakes that helped defeat them in 2020 and they will pour more resources behind the mercenary efforts of theirs that proved most effective.
The simple proposition is this, Democrats can’t allow this current incarnation of the GOP to regain power or our country will be lost to a dictatorship. Yet, in a democracy, how can this be accomplished without turning to The Dark Side ourselves?
By killing the filibuster.
Democrats only have two years to try and fortify our democracy before the GOP tries to undemocratically kick down that door again to seize power. Republican-pandering Dems like Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema, who oppose removing the filibuster, need to have a come-to-Jesus meeting with Democratic leaders. They should be told, “If you want to keep the power and chairmanships you have now by being in the majority, you better vote with the rest of us to kill the filibuster.”
Any Dems who aren’t on board with ending the filibuster must be pressed to the wall to support it. With the filibuster gone, big, systemic changes could be made that prevent a minority from suppressing votes to steal elections and prevent the majority from having bills passed that it wants and needs. The downside of being in the minority without a filibuster will be less of an issue for Democrats if they repair our democracy, their stands consistently attract majority support.
BILLS THAT DEMOCRATS SHOULD PASS WITH THE FILIBUSTER ENDED
- The John Lewis Voting Rights Bill
The first important bill that could be passed with the filibuster gone would be the John Lewis Voting Rights Act. This would prevent much of the voter suppression Repubs are leaning into more and more each year. Enshrining early voting, unrestricted vote by mail, automatic registration, providing for sufficient polling places in urban areas to limit wait times, ending gerrymandering, and more. Without having the power to prevent the majority of voters from electing Democrats, Republicans will be forced to change as a party from the cult they now are to a viable party with arguable positions on issues. Until they attract a majority of voters, they will fail to hold power. That’s the way a democracy is actually supposed to work.
2. Admitting Washington DC and Puerto Rico to the union
As with many of the injustices in our American institutions, the composition of The Senate was a compromise by The Founders. It favored states and states rights over the American people. Small conservative states were given outsized power, equal to that of states with far greater populations. Due to this, the current structure of The Senate gives Republicans a big advantage in holding the majority despite their representing 41 million fewer Americans. The primary reason for giving DC and Puerto Rico statehood is the principle of no taxation without representation, a bedrock aspect of American democracy. But secondarily, it would also help tilt the scales back towards fairness in The Senate with 4 likely Democratic Senators added. Power should be won based on ideas and principles, not arcane, compromises that are inherently undemocratic and slanted.
3. Immigration Legislation
Democrats could and should pass long-awaited legislation that grants paths to citizenship for Dreamers and other immigrants who have been and will be contributing to the nation. The cruelty and torture that Trump inflicted on those seeking sanctuary at our southern border should be outlawed from ever happening again. Legal immigration which invigorates our society and economy could also be better structured and protected from abuses such as Trump performed. And sacrificing the filibuster for this humane legislation would be far outweighed by the support Democrats would gain out of gratitude from these new citizens who have been demonized, attacked and abandoned by Republicans.
4. Gun Control Legislation
This is definitely legislation that will never be passed as long as there is a filibuster in The Senate. Thousands of lives could be saved each year including those of innocent schoolchildren and other Americans doing nothing more than visiting a mall, going to a concert or watching a movie. Here too, the worship of an arcane, slavery-stained process over protecting the lives of thousands of Americans is unacceptable. With the NRA back on its heels right now and a wide majority of Americans strongly wanting this to happen, Democrats would once again have a winning and life-saving issue to deliver on that can only help them politically too.
5. Anti-Corruption Legislation
One thing Donald Trump demonstrated is that we are greatly lacking in concrete guardrails to restrain a corrupt president. The Founders never imagined an ersatz gangster/con man would ever be elected president so most of the restraints in place were traditions, precedents and understandings that a maniac like Trump just plowed through. We need legal restraints put in place to prevent what happened under Trump from ever happening. outlawing nepotism, putting teeth in the Emoluments Clause and Hatch Act, preventing presidents from using the DoJ for personal or political benefit, blocking a president from firing and replacing Inspector Generals without full Congressional approval, implementing inescapable processes for storing documents, all emails, communications, etc., requiring 10 years of tax returns to be eligible to run for president, etc.
6. Climate Change Legislation
It’s always helpful to remember that there are good people (including Dem voters) in every state. So while one may feel some Schadenfreude towards the climate deniers, regulation haters and secessionists in Texas, Climate Change is causing the suffering of millions of good people down there. Throughout the year, Americans across the country will continue to be harmed by Climate Change and this too would never be addressed while Republicans have the filibuster to block all legislation. Passing bills that provide for mitigation of Climate Change damage, reduce carbon pollution, protect forests here and abroad, invest in green energy technology and more would not only benefit and protect Americans but turbo-charge job growth and the economy.
7. Judicial Reform
When it comes to the corruption and politicization of the judiciary in this country, Trump and Moscow Mitch McConnell abused the process so hugely and publicly, it’s now common knowledge. Many judicial nominees who the ABA tagged as “not qualified” are now serving in courts across the country. McConnell stonewalled Merrick Garland for nearly a year claiming it was wrong to install a SCOTUS judge in an election year then turned around and foisted the inexperienced, religious zealot Amy Coney Barrett onto the SCOTUS in 6 days, just weeks before the election. That’s now two SCOTUS seats stolen from Democrats that have unfairly shifted the court’s balance profoundly. This needs to be fixed. President Biden is moving forward with a commission to advise him on reforms that should be made to the judiciary but in order to implement them, he will need the filibuster killed in The Senate so legislation can be passed. It would be nice if a bill could include increasing the SCOTUS to 13 seats (giving it the Dem majority it should have had), enlarging lower courts, implementing a rotation system so SCOTUS judges are moved to other courts and vice versa after a set period of time (10-12 years?) and a review board is instituted that roots out and submits for impeachment, judges who are failing in their professionalism and duties.
8. Police Reform
No setup is needed to introduce the crucially needed reform of police forces across the country. It is important to recognize that just as the policemen who have murdered innocent people of color are far too plentiful, those like the Capitol Police who risked their safety and lives to protect our Capitol and representatives are plentiful as well. So while there are good cops and bad cops out there, bad policing is both a problem of police culture as well as racism. It is not something that has been or will be solved by the police departments themselves, Congress will need to pass legislation that helps reorient policing back to protecting and serving all people equally in their communities and remove Qualified Immunity which prevents most bad cops from being prosecuted for their crimes.
9. Thwarting Citizens United
Unfortunately, due to the RW majority on the SCOTUS deciding that corporations are people with the constitutional rights of people and that money is free speech (this remains insane), it would take either a constitutional amendment or a change in the balance of the SCOTUS to get rid of this decision that has so badly damaged and warped our democracy. Congress could pass bills though that throttle the flood of dark money into our elections. Laws that required transparency on all donors and shell companies, limit contributions to SuperPACs, enforce better oversight on walling off candidates from coordinating with SuperPACs, being more aggressive on stripping political entities of their 501(c)(3) status, being a non-profit, non-political and non-taxable charity, etc. As in most of the other bills proposed above, Republicans are addicts to dark money so they would filibuster this in a heartbeat so it’s another argument for killing the filibuster.
10. Reversing Economic Injustice
While some of these fixes could be included in a reconciliation bill on the annual budget, some may not qualify. We nod helplessly at news such as the top billion dollar corporations paying no income tax, the wealthy getting wealthier in a rapid acceleration during COVID-19 times when regular Americans are losing jobs or dealing with pay cuts, trillions in tax cuts handed to the wealthiest while taxation on the middle class is set to rise this year (a mean budget trick Republicans passed in their bill, a temporary tax cut then it rises for the 99%), etc. A majority of Americans are being left behind, working for less than their parents earned when adjusted for inflation, struggling with college debt and stagnant wages at best and the middle class is being obliterated. There is so much economic injustice in this country, especially for Americans of color and women but in truth, for most workers. While the GOP may love to claim they are the party of the working man, you can bet all you own on the fact that they are owned by the wealthy and Corporate America, they would filibuster any bill trying to reduce economic injustice as “class warfare”. So, to rescue the 99% from the oppression of the wealthy, the filibuster must go.
There are more bills on major issues that could be passed in addition to these but they would profoundly reinvigorate justice, democracy and equality in this hobbled nation. There’s no guarantee that Democrats will retain unified power in DC after 2022 so the time to take action on all of these, by tossing the filibuster, is now.
The twofer on this is obvious. Passing all of these bills (in addition to an infrastructure financing bill which will likely use reconciliation to pass, steering around the use of a filibuster), will earn the support of many communities around the country and benefit all Americans in concrete ways that they will feel in their daily lives. It will also earn Democrats broader support in subsequent elections, to continue the profound change and help for the majority of Americans that deserve and need it.
Or, if the Manchin and Sinema mentality of protecting an undemocratic and slavery-based protocol over rescuing the nation and democracy was to prevail, it would result in Biden’s failure as president to solve the big problems and Trump and Republicans would run on that, re-taking power in 2022 and 2024 and ending our democracy for once and all.
Kind of an easy choice.
Our democracy has been collapsing under the weight of corruption that accompanies minority rule. The majority should rule and should have their will followed by their representatives. All of the issues listed above are supported by a solid majority of Americans who have been constantly thwarted by the perversion of our elections and government.
It is a time for action. Democrats must all band together, return majority rule to The Senate and make the changes that Americans have been yearning for over decades.
It’s time to Kill The Fil!