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Yes, The Filibuster Is In Fact That Stupid. Can We Be Done With It Now?

By Emily Cutler | Last Week Tonight | September 9, 2019 |

By Emily Cutler | Last Week Tonight | September 9, 2019 |


As the headline has already given away, I’m not a supporter of the filibuster (subtlety has never been my friend). But I think it’s still very worth watching the segment from Last Week Tonight in order to fully understand how stupid the filibuster is.

So not smart, yes? Like, not only does it not actually accomplish what we think it does (preventing an overzealous majority from infringing on the rights of an oppressed minority), but it also doesn’t require what we think it does in order to be accomplished (namely, no one had to listen to Ted Cruz blather on for hours both because that’s a terrible thing to subject anyone to and because we’re at a point with filibusters where someone can just pinky promise that they and their 41 closest friends will make a big stink about something, and everyone backs off). So yeah, there’s a lot to dislike about the filibuster, including the fact that Senators from the 21 least populous states can dictate the entire country’s legislation.

But there’s a small voice that sometimes pops up, and that voice’s name is Wendy Davis. Remember? In the midst of several Republican-controlled states’ attempts to pass wildly punitive TRAP laws, Texas State Senator Wendy Davis, she of the pink-shoe fame, attempted to filibuster new laws that would essentially close every abortion provider in the state of Texas. And I say “attempted” not because she didn’t rock the sh*t out of that filibuster, delivering almost thirteen hours of testimony from the providers and women most affected by the new laws, but because Republicans pulled some very late night shenanigans in order to pass the bill after the deadline. And when I say “shenanigans” I mean total f*cking bullsh$t.

Which is really the only point that matters. The current system was designed (sort of) with the idea that both parties would work together (sort of). The current administrators of the system (mostly Republicans, unfortunately) consider the point of the system to be fair and impartial in matters of the general public to do whatever the f*ck they want it to. They’re going to cheat. They’ll pass bills after the deadline if that’s what they want. They’ll refuse to allow time for members to review and debate a massive tax bill that had some of the lowest approval ratings in history. They’ll confirm a clearly biased, wildly unqualified judge with a credible sexual assault accusation against him despite having nothing near an investigation into those accusations and then apologize to that motherf*cker during the confirmation hearings because this is so obviously hard for him. They. Do. Not. Care.

Of course, that raises the argument that if we’d had the filibuster in place for judicial confirmations, the Democrats maybe could have stopped it. Maybe? Maybe Kavanaugh wouldn’t have been confirmed, but someone equally bad, just less obviously offensive, would have been sworn in? Maybe Leader Moscow Mitch McConnell would have done away with the judicial filibuster himself? Or he would have changed the rules so that filibusters could only be used when the party in power in Congress is the opposition party to the President because seriously, he’s just making this sh*t up as he goes along? Yeah, I’m pretty sure it’s that last one.

The filibuster is a remnant of an era that probably never actually existed. It was something we made up with sayings about saucers, and now Democrats are afraid that Republicans will somehow use getting rid of the filibuster against us. They will. Also, they’ll use not getting rid of the filibuster against us. They’ll use the system in literally any way they can because all they really care about is remaining in power for as long as their old, white asses can. We can’t worry about what Mitch and Co. might do or might not do. Do we think it’s a good idea that 42 Senators could hold the entire government hostage just by telling people that they will? No, man, that’s really stupid.

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