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.

“The Gilded Age”

We watched the opening episode of “The Gilded Age” yesterday. It’s been getting negative reviews online. Ignore those reviews. If you liked “Downton Abbey,” you’ll enjoy “The Gilded Age.”

Such a great cast! Three particular stand-outs from an all-around terrific line-up: Christine Baranski is playing another tough, smart, older, aristocratic woman, which is a kind of role she specializes in. And Cynthia Nixon is a meek spinster, a very different role for her from “Sex and the City.”

And of course show is visually gorgeous.

The show is unabashedly un-progressive, which bothered me in the weeks before. I thought: Do we REALLY need a show about how great rich white people are, given the historical moment we live in today? But my reservations disappeared while we watched, because it’s such a good, and good-hearted show. I encourage separating one’s politics and entertainment; it makes life more pleasant. Watch “The Gilded Age” in the evening, and donate to and volunteer for the progressive cause of your choosing—Black Lives Matter, Planned Parenthood, the Democratic Party, whatever.

And the show manages to sneak in progressivism around the edges. One character is gay, and of course, closeted. Women are clearly operating within the confines of their gender roles.

And in a pleasantly surprising move—sorry if this is a spoiler—there is not only a major Black character, but she seems to be a member of the historical Black upper class, which is not a group we see represented much on TV, so nice move there.

Some thoughts on the California recall election

  • The official party line from the Democrats is vote NO on the recall, then stop. Sign the back and mail it in.
  • That’s the party line from the San Diego Democrats, at least. I suspect it came down from the state.
  • I may deviate from party line and vote for Angelyne in part two because mandatory bubble baths.
  • Because the recall election is a shitshow, we could end up with Newsom getting 49+% of the vote and Elder getting 18% and Elder getting sworn in as governor in October.
  • If you have any elective medical procedures on the to-do list for this year, get ’em done now. Because we could have a Republican governor in October, and a few weeks after that, hospitals will over capacity, canceling elective procedures, and lining up the refrigerated trucks on the street to hold the excess dead bodies.
  • You think that last bit is hyperbole? That’s what’s going on in Texas and Florida, where Republicans are anti-mask and vax mandates because ‘MURRICA.

Bad news for Newsom—and California

New Poll Suggests Low Democratic Turnout Could Doom Gov. Newsom

Chris Jennewein at the Times of San Diego:

A new poll of California voters released Tuesday suggests low Democratic turnout could doom Gov. Gavin Newsom and finds talk show host Larry Elder leads a divided Republican field.”

It’s not surprising that Newsom is in jeopardy. Most registered voters oppose the recall, but the way the election is structured, the pro-recall faction has a substantial advantage. It’s just a badly structured election.

I was surprised by Elder’s lead—I would have thought Faulconer had the edge—but I guess Elder’s big talk-radio platform works for him.

Democrats need to get out and vote and get their neighbors to do the same.

Two-thirds of Southern Republicans want to secede

Secession sentiments are common in states with dominant parties. In the northeast, Democrats are OK with it.

Christopher Ingraham at The Why Axis:

It sure is a good thing there aren’t any troubling historic precedents for what happens when large numbers of Southern conservatives, motivated in large part by a sense of grievance and victimhood, want to break away from the Union.


The headline here is that 66% of polled southern Republicans want to secede from the US, but really everyone wants to get the hell away from everyone else.


Across the country, Bright Line Watch finds, people have more favorable views toward secession when their political party is dominant in their region….

In the liberal Northeast, for instance, Democrats are the group most supportive (39 percent) of secession. Ditto for the West Coast. In the Midwest and Great Lakes states, by contrast, Independents like the idea best, reflecting the divided politics of the region. And across the board, these numbers are trending upward.

‘Conservative Porn Star’ Expelled After First Day Of TPUSA Student Event

Testing the Trumpified GOP’s newfound love for freedom of speech, a right-wing porn star [Brandi Love] planned to attend the conservative youth organization Turning Point USA’s annual Student Action Summit 2021, which began this weekend in Tampa, Florida.

[Josh Kovensky at Talking Points Memo]

They started the conference by condemning liberal cancel culture. But what they meant is that cancel culture is ok when conservatives do it.