This wasn't a good day for American democracy. In fact, the past four-plus years -- ever since Trump was elected -- have all been bad days for our democracy.
Today Senate Republicans filibustered a bipartisan commission that would have looked into the January 6 insurrection at the Capitol, making recommendations to prevent something similar from ever happening again.
Equal number of Democrats and Republicans. Subpoenas would require at least one Republican vote. Everything that Republicans had asked for, they got.
But Trump didn't want anyone looking into the insurrection, because he urged the crowd to march on the Capitol and did nothing to stop his supporters from breaking into the building, trashing legislator's offices, and injuring dozens of police officers.
So the Senate vote wasn't even close, 55 to 34.
Oh, guess I should mention that 55 is the number of senators who voted in favor of forming the commission to look into the January 6 insurrection. Only 34 senators opposed doing this.
Usually when 55 people want to do something and 34 people are against it, that thing gets done, because majority rules. Not in the United States Senate, though, where it takes 60 votes to pass a bill if just one senator threatens a filibuster.
This isn't the way a democracy is supposed to work.
The filibuster isn't part of the Constitution. The founders of our country wanted a majority to pass legislation not a super-majority, which gives a minority of legislators the power to stop bills from passing.
There's plenty of outrage being expressed at Republicans for doing what they did today. But outrage isn't going to stop Republicans from continuing to undermine our democracy.
Democrats need to use every bit of power at their disposal to ditch the filibuster. This may not be enough to save our democracy. However, it's our best chance.
In most or all of the states they control, Republicans are busy passing laws to make it more difficult for those who don't lean Republican to vote. They're also preparing to gerrymander redistricting following release of the 2020 census results.
Meanwhile, a recent piece in The Atlantic asks, "If Democracy is dying, why are Democrats so complacent?"
If you’ve followed recent Democratic messaging, you’ll have heard that American democracy is under serious attack by the Republican Party, representing an existential threat to the country. If you’ve followed Democratic lawmaking, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the threat is actually a rather piddling one. The disconnect, in this case, isn’t attributable to Democratic embellishment, but to inexcusable complacency.
...Even with the filibuster removed or substantially modified, H.R. 1 and the John Lewis Voting Rights Act would still face barriers to becoming law. But to simply accept these barriers is nonsensical, the product of a fraudulent and conservative “realism” that is really defeatism by any other name. What, after all, is more important: the death of democracy, or the preservation of a Senate tradition that has been leveraged for decades to protect conservative minority rule?
Chuck Schumer, the Senate majority leader, says that S 1, a vitally important bill to protect our democracy, will come up for a vote in late June. It will fail unless Democrats do away with the filibuster.
And the filibuster can't be eliminated unless Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema, two Democratic senators, agree to do this.
So it isn't an exaggeration to say that American democracy rests on whether Manchin and Sinema, plus other wavering Democratic senators, decide to put the good of the country above their belief that bipartisanship is still alive and well in the Senate, despite all the evidence to the contrary.
Here's a few Twitter tweets from my feed today that I'll end with.