The Senate filibuster is the one thing that stands between President Biden and the Democratic Party from being able to implement their transformative agenda, jump-start our ailing democracy, and protect the thin grasp on power that they’ve clawed their way to in the wake of the disastrous Trump presidency.
This is why Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell will stop at nothing to defend it. It is the key to his ability to bring all Senate business to a grinding halt and bury bill after bill after bill in the legislative graveyard where all progress in America goes to die. It is a thoroughly undemocratic institution that enables a radical minority to hamstring the entire body and was created to protect and enshrine white supremacy as the foundation of American political life — as it does right at this very moment, preventing the Democrats from passing a historic voting rights bill that aggressively combats right-wing efforts to deny minorities their political voice.
Seeking to delegitimize this argument against its abolishment. McConnell argued on Tuesday that the filibuster has “no racial history at all” and even had the nerve to claim there was “no dispute among historians” about that.
Mitch McConnell defends the Senate filibuster: "It has no racial history at all. None. There's no dispute among historians about that." pic.twitter.com/lR0drfNuQi
— Sahil Kapur (@sahilkapur) March 23, 2021
Even the most basic of civics lessons proves that to be false. The longest Senate filibuster in American history was made by notorious white supremacist Strom Thurmond in opposition to the Civil Rights Act in 1957, speaking continuously for 24 hours and 18 minutes to try to keep Black Americans from having the same rights and protections as any white person did. “The histories of the filibuster, civil and voting rights, and race in America are intertwined,” says Steven S. Smith, a political scientist at Washington University in St. Louis. As far back as 1922, the filibuster was being used to block anti-lynching bills.
White supremacy and the filibuster go hand in hand, and if we are really intent on transforming America as we know it and undoing the damage of the Trump presidency, abolishing the filibuster is the only option.
McConnell’s office quietly tried to walk it back later, claiming that he only meant the “origins” of the filibuster — but it’s not hard to know what he really meant.
— legal observer (@legalobserver1) March 23, 2021
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