WASHINGTON, DC, June 7 — It would appear that the only thing standing between the rights-based government our Founding Fathers left us and totalitarianism is the Filibuster, with a capital F. Democrats, a party riddled with progressives, socialists, and even communists, are in the driver’s seat in Washington, ready to make another sharp left turn. They have the majority in the House and a tie in the Senate with Vice President Kamala Harris ready, willing, and able to break it. And they have a president they can count on to run the country as they see fit. It’s the makings of totalitarian governance — and that is, indeed, pretty scary.
The Filibuster is a means of checking outlandish attempts to turn dodgy legislation into the law of the land — legislation that might easily bankrupt the nation and, perhaps, limit or terminate some of the rights we have under the Constitution. It’s a setup for a one-party takeover, which would stymie the checks and balances of an elected opposition, loyal or otherwise.
In the past, when Senate Republicans held all the cards, Democrats embraced the Filibuster, which allowed them to block or delay action on a bill by taking the floor and making lengthy, very lengthy speeches. Not long ago, they used the maneuver in efforts to stop President Trump’s border wall and to prevent restrictions on abortion access. And, in 2017, a bipartisan group of 61 senators, 31 of whom were Democrats, “signed a letter calling the filibuster crucial to maintaining ‘the world’s greatest deliberative body.”
The Democrats no longer see it as “crucial,” not when they are inches away from having absolute power.
Their only thing standing in the way is the troubling presence of Senator Joe Manchin, the kind of old-fashioned Democrat of yesteryear when the party was known as “the loyal opposition.”
Veteran reporter Stephen Collinson explained it this way in a recent analysis: “Manchin is the most prominent moderate Democrat who could block future efforts to ram infrastructure spending, voting rights reform, climate change legislation — and anything else — through a 50-50 Senate without Republican votes. His steadfast positions not only infuriate more progressive members of his party, from far more liberal parts of the nation than deep-red West Virginia, but they also spark endless fascination with his motives — and questions over exactly what he is trying to achieve.”
In fact, Manchin has publicly stated that he would likely vote against passage of partisan legislation, such as the proposed bank-breaking infrastructure bill; nor is he ready to do away with the Filibuster.
In an opinion article written by Manchin and published in the Charleston Gazette-Mail over the weekend, he announced that he would vote against the For the People Act, calling it legislation that would destroy the “already weakening binds of our democracy.”
He confirmed his decision to vote against abandoning the Filibuster and concluded that “American democracy is something special, it is bigger than one party, or the tweet-filled partisan attack politics of the moment. It is my sincere hope that all of us, especially those who are privileged to serve, remember our responsibility to do more to unite this country before it is too late.”
The good news is that there may be more support in the Senate for keeping the Filibuster alive than one might think.
Independent Senator Angus King from Maine recently told the Washington Post: “I know there are people that want to just say, ‘Let’s get rid of the filibuster.’ I don’t think they’re thinking ahead in terms of what the long-term implications could be for policies that they like. Every member is wrestling with this. There are all shades of opinion . . . I’m one of those in between.”