A Perverse Form of 'Minority Rule'

In making a case to abolish the filibuster for legislation (“that’s arguably where the most damage has been done”), Steven Hill details recent Senate filibusters where Democrats tried and failed to obtain the necessary 60 vote. This doesn’t include the cases where Senate Democrats, under threat of a filibuster, didn’t even try to reach the 60 vote threshold.

“There is one other rarely discussed aspect to all this that illustrates why the Senate today, far from being “’he most deliberative body in the world,’ is one afflicted by the most perverse form of ‘minority rule.’ Because of the Senate’s distorted and malapportioned structure, in which every state has two senators regardless of population … the 41 GOP senators who block legislation often represent only about a third of the national population, since Republicans disproportionately represent sparsely-populated states.”

Hill concludes that, in addition to the three ‘kill points’ (The president, House, and Senate) created by the Constitution for rejecting federal legislation, “frequent filibuster abuse has created a fourth kill point: the Senate minority. Since it’s necessary to run the gauntlet and overcome all four kill points to enact a law, it’s no surprise that this has been an historically unproductive Congress.”

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