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The Democrats and the filibuster

Ezra Klein has moved to the New York Times, and he has a very good piece up today.  His argument is familiar to anyone who follows his work, but well-argued and definitely worth reading. 

He begins with this:

President Biden takes office with a ticking clock. The Democrats’ margin in the House and Senate couldn’t be thinner, and midterms typically raze the governing party. That gives Democrats two years to govern. Two years to prove that the American political system can work. Two years to show Trumpism was an experiment that need not be repeated.

Two years.

This is the responsibility the Democratic majority must bear: If they fail or falter, they will open the door for Trumpism or something like it to return, and there is every reason to believe it will be far worse next time. To stop it, Democrats need to reimagine their role. They cannot merely defend the political system. They must rebuild it.

Klein believes that Democrats understand the need for bold action that provides clear benefits to people who are struggling and skeptical of government.  And he thinks they know what needs to be done.  However, he is worried that good policy intentions will die in the Senate unless the filibuster is eliminated, which he believes is unlikely:

But none of these bills will pass a Senate in which the filibuster forces 60-vote supermajorities on routine legislation. And that clarifies the real question Democrats face. They have plenty of ideas that could improve people’s lives and strengthen democracy. But they have, repeatedly, proven themselves more committed to preserving the status quo of the political system than fulfilling their promises to voters. They have preferred the false peace of decorum to the true progress of democracy. If they choose that path again, they will lose their majority in 2022, and they will deserve it.

Klein makes the case for structural democratic reform as well as anyone, I recommend his piece.  Here I just want to add two additional perspectives.