Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) told Chuck Todd that Democratic policies are popular and wrecked the argument for keeping the filibuster.
Ocasio-Cortez was asked about the argument for keeping the filibuster and said:
It is essentially an argument of saying well, why do anything at all but in case something in our future may have changed it. Political systems all around the world pass legislation with majorities, and they are fine, and here is the thing.
Democratic legislation once enacted is popular. Republicans have tried to gut Social Security. They’ve tried to reverse the ACA. They’ve tried to claw back on legislation that has passed by simple majorities in the Senate, and they have not been able to because Democratic policies are popular. And, once they are enacted, they are very politically difficult to undo.
So I do not believe in the defeatism of saying we’ll lose in the future, and this will automatically mean that anything we do now is going to be reversed, so we’ll not do anything now.
Our job is to legislate. Our job is to help people. Our job is to do as much as we can. Even if that’s the case, wouldn’t it be better to get people health care and voting rights for three years instead of zero years? Even if you concede the point that I don’t think it is true in the first place. Beyond that, the argument is okay, why 60 votes and why not stop at 70 votes or 80 votes to pass any legislation.
Why defend a 60 vote filibuster when the Senate amplifies minority power. so that the 50 democratic senators already represent millions more Americans than the 50 Republican Senators , and so I would argue that 50 Republican senators is already a built-in kind of filibusteresque firewall.
AOC was correct. The argument for the filibuster is based on the idea of sacrificing accomplishment today to protect potential minority power in the future.
The filibuster was not intended to be used to promote a tyranny of the minority. The filibuster was supposed to be a last-ditch option, not a lazy go-to move that can be phoned in to stop legislative progress.
Members of Congress are elected to serve and accomplish for their constituents. They are not sent to DC to protect their own political power. The filibuster is going to be gone soon, and Rep. Ocasio-Cortez made a compelling argument for not getting rid of it now instead of waiting for Republicans to do it later.
Mr. Easley is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association
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