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You Can’t Be A Progressive And Support The Filibuster

A simple fact of politics that is not stated enough: The Senate’s relatively new and insane rules about the filibuster are the complete antithesis of the small “p” progressive movement. You cannot claim to be a progressive and support the weird, unconstitutional, 60-vote threshold for legislation in the Senate. It does not matter how liberal a senator’s voting record is, or how left-leaning their ideology, if they support the idea of a filibuster, then they are opposed to progressivism. . . and are inherently a conservative.

The filibuster stands for everything that progressives should stand against. It is a tool to thwart the will of the people. It is the great maintainer of the status quo. It prevents even the possibility of progressive legislation ever being passed by “mandating” that it is watered down to a dramatically right-of-center bill.

I have heard only one defense of the filibuster from the “left.” It is people who claim, “but what if we lose Congress, we will then need it to stop the Republicans.” This is not the argument of a progressive. This inherently the argument of a staunch, small “c” conservative trying to wrap themselves in progressive clothing. Fearing the future, fearing change, saying that it is better to keep what we have now instead of taking a risk to try to get something better is the arguments of a conservative. They have no place in the progressive movement for this fear of a change.

An elected representative may ideologically claim to agree with the progressive movement, but as long as they support the single greatest obstacle against change, they are at their heart a conservative. There will never be progressive legislation passed until there is a systematic change to our system of government, which has been perverted to maintain the status quo. Eliminating the filibuster is just one of the biggest and easiest changes that must be made.

If you really want to see progressive change, you need to start holding your elected officials to a higher standard. It is time to stop accepting this myth that the Senate needs 60 votes to pass a bill. At anytime, this rule can be eliminated by a point of order and a simple majority. If a senator claims to support something, but says it will not happen because it needs “60 votes,” he or she doesn’t really support it. If Senators really supported something, we would expect them to do everything in their power to make it happen. If a senator decides maintaining a stupid, worthless tradition is more important than the needs of the regular Americans, they are no progressive. There is no excuse. A simple majority is all our Constitution requires for a bill to pass the Senate.

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Jon Walker

Jon Walker

Jonathan Walker grew up in New Jersey. He graduated from Wesleyan University in 2006. He is an expert on politics, health care and drug policy. He is also the author of After Legalization and Cobalt Slave, and a Futurist writer at