James Fallows: The filibuster is a perversion of the Constitution

Fallows, on his Breaking the News Substack

1. The filibuster is not in the Constitution.

2. Its modern abuse realizes the founders’ greatest fears.

3. We are living through a super-cynical, stealth version of the filibuster.

4. Let’s at least force its abusers out into the light.

The Founders explicitly required a majority vote in the Senate, not a supermajority. The Founders acted after 13 years under the Articles of Confederation, which required a supermajority, which nearly destroyed the US—just as the US is teetering on the verge of destruction today.

We no longer have even a “talking filibuster,” as in the movie “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.” Instead, any Senator can simply and silently force a supermajority vote on any measure—and they routinely do. This is great for the minority party, because it operates from stealth and shadows. The majority party gets all the blame for gridlock and failure, even though it’s the majority party that’s at fault.