The Filibuster Is One More Way SLAVERY Continues To Torment America — It HAS TO GO!

It almost always sucks when an unintended consequence punches far above its weight and delivers a knockout blow. That’s the filibuster. This bizarre tactic gives one person — one US Senator — the ability to stop what the majority wants in its tracks. In the 1960’s, Southern Democrats (now known as Republicans — as Heather Cox Richardson writes in her excellent “To Make Men Free: A History Of The Republican Party” our two parties, the Democrats and Republicans have, in essence, switched names since the Republican Party’s founding in the 1850’s) used the filibuster to block passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Back then, filibusterers were made to actually filibuster. The Senate’s Racist Coalition had to filibuster for 75 hours straight including a 14-hour and 13 minute address by Senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia (before Byrd had his “come to Jesus” moment and repented his racist ways). The filibuster failed when the Senate invoked cloture for only the second time since 1927. The filibuster is antithetical to democratic governance — that’s why it’s the tool-of-choice of racists.

The filibuster has to go. Screw its giving the minority a voice against a hostile majority. That bullshit celebration of the “rugged individual” standing heroically against the forces of evil is actually a lone racist stemming the tide of equality. Or a handful of racists as with the Southern Democrats. It’s the few holding sway over the many. In America, that always means rich, Christian white men having power far beyond what they’re entitled to. That the filibuster still exists is a quirk of American politics and history. It arises from an accommodation made in 1806 to Aaron Burr — then the Vice President — before he left office. It was never intended to be used for ordinary business; (this is from Wikipedia: “a small number of super-majority requirements were explicitly included in [the Constitution], including conviction on impeachment charges (2/3 of Senate), expelling a member of Congress (2/3 of the chamber in question), overriding presidential vetoes (2/3 of both Houses), ratifying treaties (2/3 of Senate) and proposing constitutional amendments (2/3 of both Houses) — see the Wikipedia article “Filibuster In The US Senate” for footnotes and sources).

By 1846, the Senate tired of even casual abuse of the filibuster “rules” such as they were. This “addition by subtraction” was regularly bringing the Senate and its business to a dead stop while one Senator dead set on having HIS way, got up on his little pegs and spewed until either he got his way or 2/3 of the Senate (finally!) told him to shut the hell up already. Not the point of the exercise.

In the 1970’s, the Senate — trying to have it both ways — voted to keep the filibuster alive but make it more “practical” to apply: just what WAS NOT needed. Now, instead of having to actually get up in the Senate and speak for as long as they possibly could, Senators could now “threaten” to filibuster — and get all the benefits of a filibuster’s obstruction without having to any of the heavy lifting of actually filibustering. How white guy of them!

The fear is that destruction of the filibuster will make most every Senatorial decision a simple majority proposition. That proposition scares conservatives more than it does Progressives.

Let’s remind ourselves — the Senate, like the Electoral College, is, by nature and design unfair. The EC stands between each American voter and the president they vote for. We only pretend to vote for president; the Electoral College is the actual mechanism that picks a POTUS. And make no mistake — the EC exists solely to soothe the furrowed brows of slavers. There has always been dynamic tension in America between the populated, diverse cities — Blue America — and the unpopulated, white-ruled rural parts — Red America. On a map, all that red ink represents real estate way more than it does any people who might live on it.

Imagine a presidential campaign where voters in Ohio or Florida didn’t have the potential to literally decide a presidential contest for the whole country. Think of the undue but very real political weight this gives voters in one state over another — almost always rural over urban. Candidates chase “undecided voters” in specific states because their eye’s on the EC. That’s why they’ll go to diners in Iowa and listen to farmers like they were sages. Hey, they might indeed be very bright people with smart things to say. But how they vote should have far less impact on my life than it does just as how I vote should have less impact on theirs.

That the farmer’s vote matters more than mine at present — that’s a problem. The Senate’s design exacerbates it. Again, by design, rural voters get hyper-represented while urban voters get hypo-represented. Wyoming’s 445,000 voters get two US Senators. Same goes for California’s 45 MILLION voters. Each Wyomingite has a far better chance of getting their Senator on the phone — and doing what THEY need than any Californian does (unless they’re super rich). So, a sheep rancher in Wyoming stands a better shot at seeing his needs legislated than a Black single mom in Los Angeles who’s struggling to pay her bills. Such is equality in a system designed to deliver the opposite.

Fixing the Senate is a Big Job that will take a super majority of Democrats to accomplish. Don’t pooh-pooh the possibility. In “normal times”, the coming off year election in 2022 (and why the hell is anyone thinking about THAT already?) would advantage the party OUT OF power because the party IN POWER screwed up. But — cue the “Breaking News” banner — these aren’t “normal times”. The first job the Democrats now controlling the reins of power must accomplish is to undo as much of the damage Trump did as possible. That’s not the Democrats being political. That’s the Democrats GOVERNING.

Our news media — drunk off their asses on the “Both Sides Do It” kool aid — have convinced themselves and half of America that anything anyone does is motivated first by politics. This isn’t just cynical, it’s flat out wrong. They now think that both sides behave the same way and for the exact same reasons. Oy. Just… oy. Before the Democrats can even think about putting forward their “socialist wet dreams”, they FIRST have to solve the pandemic. Do that, they can solve the economy. In between all of that, the Democrats have to deal with the fact that the GOP just sponsored a coup d’etat against the rest of us.

And, on top of THAT, the Democrats have to deal with the fact that the entire Republican Party either participated in multiple acts of treason or stood by while treason and traitors threatened America. Countries that allow traitors to walk free will not be countries for very much longer. The traitors will see to it.

Right now, Mitch McConnell — our Treason Turtle MINORITY LEADER — is attempting to keep the filibuster alive both to protect racism but also to protect the traitors in his party. The fact that racists, bigots and seditionists would benefit — well, to Mitch, that’s all just icing. Odds are, if Mitch McConnell is FOR something? That something is rotten. Or Mitch is doing it for rotten reasons.

Repeat: the filibuster has to go. The people defending it have to disabused of their bullshit excuses (history, fairness, the tyranny of the majority) and made to fess up: they are standing in the majority’s way mostly because they’re racist — and keeping racism alive in America is more important to them than almost anything.

Now We Will Get To See: It Was NEVER Just Donald Trump Betraying America; It ALWAYS Was The Entire Republican Party

People around the globe felt the dark cloud lifting from America yesterday as Donald Trump returned to his Florida swamp and Joe & Kamal were sworn in. Ding dong, the witch is dead! Hit the road, Jack — don’t ya come back no more, no more! People are still talking today about how good yesterday felt. I bet we’ll still be talking about it tomorrow. Donald Trump was the equivalent of America getting cancer — nearly dying from it — but surviving, if just. But, the thing is, cancers like Trumpism are rare. They may infect parts of a body politic like ours, but killing the patient entirely? That suggests our body politic had other co-morbidities undermining our health at the same time.

Republicanitis, you could call it. Our Republicans are all infected and they came shockingly close to killing us with it.

In their defense, most Republicans tried to protect themselves from Trump at first. They supported other candidates in 2016. Yet, one by one even the other Republican candidates all succumbed — Ted Cruz (whose wife Trump called ugly and whose dad he accused of conspiring to assassinate JFK)… Marco Rubio (who honestly HE could win the nomination — HA!)… Even Mitt Romney who was just a Republican eminent gris

Want to know what it looks like when your soul flees your body, its hair on fire? Look at Mitt Romney’s eyes. You can practically hear the sound of Mitt’s soul: “Feets, don’t fail me now!” Mitt, to his credit, was the only Republican Senator to vote FOR convicting Trump during his first impeachment trial. That’s worth a lot. But so is the fact that Mitch still keeps plenty of Republican secrets. Mitch doesn’t have to KNOW for a fact that his fellow travelers are corrupt, seditionist traitors, but if he so much as suspects it, he’s obligated by the law — OBLIGATED — to say something to someone who might could stop it.

Strangely, Moscow Mitch McTreasonTurtle decided to zip it up good and tight.

Some time just as the Reagan years were ending, the Big Republican money (the Koch Brothers, the Mercers, etc) came to a stark realization: their day in the sun was done. In a generation or so, white, Christian males would be a minority in America and, they feared, likely to lose the political power they’d held onto since the republic’s founding. It never occurred to them that they might share political power with the growing, diversifying majority of Americans. Maybe they doubted they could learn. Instead, America’s right wing declared war on the rest of us.

Newt Gingrich himself said as much out loud. During the Clinton years, the Republicans committed themselves to NOT working the Democrats, to doing everything they could to deny the majority its voice and engineer a state of permanent minority rule. To do this, they first went after the judiciary. After Reagan, the Republicans have lost pretty much every single popular vote. If not for the Electoral College’s weighting our presidential elections toward slavery’s vote, Republicans would never win another presidential contest. Imagine presidential campaigns that didn’t focus on states like Ohio or Florida because there’d be no point. Every Floridian’s vote has the same weight as a Californian’s vote.

The reason Republicans can’t bear the thought of losing the EC is because the Republican Party (ironically) NEEDS slavery’s vote in order to stay relevant.

Without extraordinary measures, the GOP muckety-mucks realized, a Republican winning the presidency had become unlikely bordering on impossible. That left the Congress and the judiciary. The House is too tricky to try and control. Everyone has to run every two years. The Senate is easier to control and maintain. Like the EC, the Senate is weighted toward real estate rather than people. California with its almost 40 million people (39.78 million to be exact) gets the same number of US Senators as North Dakota which (hooray for them) just broke 800,000. See how much political power that gives each North Dakotan relative to each Californian? Hey, ever wonder WHY there are TWO Dakotas? It wasn’t because one Dakota wasn’t enough to contain all the Dakotans.

Republicans have been gaming our system for years. It’s WHY DC is not yet a state. Ditto Puerto Rico. And Republicans have been suppressing Democratic voters (especially the Black and brown ones) pretty much forever. You’d think Republicans have NEVER had faith in what they were selling and ALWAYS had to resort to cheating in order to win elections.

Democrats taking the Senate this election was a shocker to Republicans. Mitch has been playing forever with the electronic voting machines padding his numbers. There’s simply no other reasonable way to explain how Mitch McConnell keeps winning elections by a ton in a state where registered Democrats outnumber registered Republicans and where Mitch is only slightly more popular than herpes.

Mitch knows how to steal elections. He knows how to run the Senate to his corrupt advantage. When his right wing money task masters decided the only way forward was to hijack the judiciary and fill as many lifetime posts as possible with young, delusional, conservative minds, the loopier the better, they turned to Mitch and said “Do it”. And damned if the Treason Turtle didn’t say “Yes, sirs!”.

While a handful of Republicans — Liz Cheney, Mitt Romney again — have forcefully condemned what the rest of their co-religionists have done, the overwhelming majority of Republicans haven’t. The Ted Cruz’s, the Josh Hawley’s, the Devin Nunes’, the Jim Jordan’s and the Matt Gaetz’s are all in for the long haul. They’re riding the crazy train all the way off the cliff and all the way down onto the rocks below.

I suggest “I Alone Can Fix It” for Donald Trump’s tombstone. Unfortunately, Trump has no sense of humor so the irony will be wasted on him. The biggest punch in the line is how staggeringly untrue it is. “I alone can fix it” isn’t true of anyone, least of all Trump. That includes how Trump “fixed” America.

Trump alone did not do this to us. He had plenty of help. Granted, plenty has a Russian accent. But the “R” next to MOST OF the names on the list of Trump’s co-conspirators stands for “Republican”.

It’s The Corruption, Stupid!

The “Ragin’ Cajun”, James Carville, coined “(It’s) The economy, stupid!” during Bill Clinton’s 1992 presidential campaign. Why would people vote one way(for Bill Clinton) vs the other (for GW Bush)? Back then, in those heady, carefree days (relatively speaking), the economy was our biggest, baddest problem. Oh, the luxury of only having to deal with one mega-crisis at a time! Nowadays — in Donald Trump’s America, every day brings a whole new mega-crisis. Or it seems to. If we’d just pull the lens back as far as we can so we could see Donald Trump, the GOP, election 2016 and election 2020 with the widest possible perspective — we’d see that, really, just like in 1992, we’re only facing ONE mega-crisis: Donald Trump’s takeover of the Republican Party was the GOP’s final and total surrender to the corruption that’s been stalking it… well, forever.

The Republican Party prides itself on being the Big Money Party. Anyone in class today who thinks money doesn’t corrupt? Anyone who doesn’t think that the more money there is the more likely corruption there is? Good. Everyone’s a realist then. That helps.

Politicians and the money that owns them rely on corruption to have their way because relying on the majority of voters to vote for their ideas is pointless. The majority of Americans want the OPPPOSITE of what corrupt Republicans want. That’s why the majority voted the way it did in 2016 and 2020. Let’s stop pretending that the Electoral College reflects anything other than how slavery would vote. In 2016, the Republican Party managed to use both slavery’s vote and a silent vote from Russia to overcome the majority’s will. When you factor in the fact that Russia is and has been waging CYBER WAR against us, you can only conclude that Republicans were SO desperate to win that they even resorted to TREASON.

We The People felt corruption’s grip on us the instant 2016 was called for Trump. Democrats felt (rightfully) cheated of the result THEY’D WON in 2000 when Antonin Scalia stepped in and STOPPED the vote counting in Florida, crafting a mountain of bullshit into an argument that completely contradicted the very originalism he’s been selling from the trunk of his car like hot merchandise. Bush v Gore is the picture portrait of bullshit. Al Gore didn’t concede because he thought he lost to W. He conceded for the good of the country.

In retrospect, OY!

Corruption got us again. It caused us to make a terrible decision; we chose appeasement. Compromise. But, while WE compromised with corruption, corruption did not compromise with us. It simply caused us to NORMALIZE that much more corruption. It caused us to grow that much more cynical about ourselves and our democracy. Want to know why so many Americans went into the streets the moment it became a fact that Joe Biden was President-Elect? Because we’re sick to death of Donald Trump and the corruption he imposed onto our lives.

Remember: we did not vote for Trump. We voted against him. We voted against what he’s doing to us, to our Allies, to the planet.

Our news media needs to stop framing the Donald Trump story from corruption’s point of view as if corruption was just “another way of doing business”. It’s only “another way” if we let it be. If we put our collective foot down every time corruption reared its ugly head, corruption would quickly learn — don’t rear your ugly head (it could get stepped on)! But, when you indulge the boy who cries wolf every time he falsely cries wolf (without ever making him pay a price for doing it), he will cry wolf every chance he gets. If our news media would stop giving credence to the boy crying wolf — if they’d see him for what he is (a fraud) — maybe they’d turn their attention to more important parts of the story.

Like the fact that he’s a traitor.

The ONLY Reason We “Think” This Election Was “Close” Is Because Of The Electoral College

As of right now — the counting still incomplete — Joe Biden and Kamala Harris have nearly FOUR MILLION more popular votes than Donald Trump. At nearly 73.4 million votes, that’s more than anyone has EVER gotten. Let’s put that fact aside — mandate that it is. If we were like every other democratic country, we, too, would elect our leader directly rather than via a system as bizarre, creaky and loaded with racism as the Electoral College. The Electoral College — this isn’t even controversial — was a direct nod to slavery. It gave the agricultural, less populated slave states undue political power while usurping political power from the more urban majority.

America has lived out of balance ever since. We fought a damned Civil War because of it. We’re still dealing with the consequences today.

Hell, we think a mandate election was close — when it absolutely was not.

How many elections have we had to sweat out over one state’s vote? Why in the name of democracy should one clump of people in one racist county have so much sway over the very people the racist hates in a city at the other end of the country? The EC — and the Senate — make that possible. The Senate also gives way too much weight to too few people — in the most rural parts of the country. While a touch of balance is good and appropriate, this much balance isn’t “balance”.

But then, it was never meant to be balance. The EC was always meant to create un-balance — just like it is today.

If we really want to know what “originalism” feels like in practice, it’s the Electoral College. See how well “originalism” works in a modern country? See how well it tackles our problems and issues? It doesn’t. It was never meant to — because it was never the intention.

Slavery was America’s original sin. The Electoral College was the mechanism that kept the sin in place. If removing it via Constitutional amendment is too arduous and time consuming, we need to support the states that are already hitching their wagons together to, in essence, “ignore” the Electoral College going forward. With the EC no longer a good way to play that state in an election — the state’s votes will be cast as if in a large, general election for POTUS — most if not all gaming of the EC will stop. There’ll be no point anymore.

Imagine getting a real picture of the electorate and the electorate’s voice. Imagine a simplified, more transparent, more direct political process that demands greater accountability to more people.

Imagine having a transformational election that we got to see in all its transformational glory because it wasn’t framed incorrectly by slavery.

Election 2016 wasn’t close. Hillary Clinton WON it by more than three million votes. That’s how other democracies perceived it. Joe Biden will top that.

We’re going to have a dithery conversation in America about how divided and conflicted we are. We’ll think that because the Electoral College game says so. The Electoral College game lies.

We’re not nearly as divided or conflicted as we’re being led to believe. Taking Donald Trump out of the equation will help quiet things. In time, as we all begin to breathe again, reason WILL take over. Never mind the craziest of the crazy. On the day he resigned because of Watergate, Richard Nixon’s approval rating still sat at 29%. It’s just a fact: 30% of this country don’t like the rest of us and never will. We get it.

We’re not talking to them. We’re talking to the rest of America.