Home Politics Abolish The Filibuster - "Shut The Hell Up And Vote!"

Abolish The Filibuster – “Shut The Hell Up And Vote!”



AOC has demanded that the filibuster must go. Which is pretty good going for someone not even a member of the chamber that it applies to:

AOC slams filibuster after Republicans block voting rights bill: ‘Call me radical’
Tuesday’s vote was 50-50 with no Republicans voting with Democrats to advance the bill to debate

U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., slammed Republicans’ successful filibuster of the Democrats’ sweeping voting rights bill on Tuesday, saying she doesn’t think a minority of lawmakers should have that much power.

“Call me radical, but I do not believe a minority of Senators should be able to block voting rights for millions of people,” she wrote on Twitter. “But I guess I’m just from that far-left school of thought that legislation should pass when a majority of legislators vote for it.

You and I can both see the majority there in that 50/50 figure, right? But of course this is all about getting a bill passed that AOC approves of so who cares about trivia like facts? Or even that there are 100 members of the Senate, plus the VP as having a vote in the case of a tie. So where did that last one vote go?

But of course this wasn’t actually a vote on the bill itself.

But if GOP senators continue to stonewall reasonable legislation to protect the right to vote, those two reluctant Democrats must be pressed to recognize that — at least where protecting democracy is concerned — the filibuster must go.

What this is is about whether the measure should proceed to a vote. Which is what the filibuster is. It’s pretty much the same as guillotining a bill in the Commons, as opposed to talking one out.

So, just for those who don’t know. The Senate is a legislative house, supposedly the deliberative one too. The deliberation is done by people talking – often past each other but still. So, when a bill comes up it’s normal, this is how it is supposed to happen, that people talk about what’s in the bill, whether it’s all a good idea or not and all that. After all, it’s only Nancy Pelosi who thinks that laws should be passed and we find out what they are later, after we’ve done so.

Except, of course, there will be times when folks realise they’ve not got enough votes to actually oppose a bill. But they’re politicians, they sure can talk. So, they talk and talk until there’s no more time to actually vote on the bill. That’s a filibuster. There’s also an answer to this, it’s possible to pass a little thing that says “Shut Up And Vote, Damn You!”. This is also known as cloture.

So, we have that solution. Except, of course, being a deliberative house we – or at least past politicians did – believe that the necessary vote to get everyone to shut up and vote needs to be a bit stronger than just a simple majority. Thus you need 60 votes for cloture and only 50 to pass a bill. Or, perhaps, 51 including the VP.

Hey, perhaps this should all go. I’d be more likely to think so when the arguments in favour of doing so are more evenhanded, apply to bills that the other side wish to pass perhaps. But as is usual with politics they’re all demanding the wrong thing anyway.

It’s not that the filibuster must go at all. What they’re actually demanding is that the rules of cloture must change, the necessary majority be reduced. But then how unlike politics that is, to misunderstand the problem, give it the wrong name and not even know how it might be solved. Most unlike politics.



  1. I might take this a trifle more seriously if people like AOC weren’t always whining that the vile white majority aren’t giving the black or Mahometan or whoever minorities the special privileges they deserve.

  2. Is there any purpose served by the legislators talking? Don’t they all ignore what is said and vote on party lines anyway?

    If it does matter, why not limit each person to one hour – so maximum 100 hours if everyone speaks. If you cannot get your points across in an hour, it’s not worth listening to you.

  3. This is a feature, not a bug. The wisdom of the Founding Fathers was to make the Senate a roadblock to passing legislation. The House was designed to be close to the people, hence the two year term and apportionment by population. The Senate was designed to take a longer view. Six year terms and originally election by the state legislatures.

    That is why a constitutional amendment takes a supermajority in Congress and ratification by the states. It is designed so that major changes have broad support of all regions and the people. The founders were very afraid of the tyranny of the majority and mob rule.


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in British English
expunct (ɪkˈspʌŋkt)
VERB (transitive)
1. to delete or erase; blot out; obliterate
2. to wipe out or destroy

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