For years, Mitch McConnell has been using the filibuster as a tool to withhold cooperation while calling for bipartisanship, but Democrats have figured him out.
This has worked as follows: GOP senators have withheld support regardless of the concessions made to win them over, because they calculate the president’s party will take the political hit for failing to make bipartisan deals.
The paradox here is that using reconciliation — moving to pass something by a simple majority — actually could bolster the conditions for good-faith bipartisanship. GOP senators who might be gettable will no longer have a built-in incentive to oppose a particular bill.
In McConnell’s hands, the filibuster was never used to spur bipartisan cooperation. The filibuster was a tool to grind the Senate to a halt, and then blame Democrats for nothing getting done. McConnell’s scam was to claim a desire for bipartisanship while making a bipartisan legislative process impossible.
Contrary to conservative mythology, Mitch McConnell is not a gifted Senate tactician. McConnell’s greatest strength was his willingness to ignore precedent and make up his own rules.
By using reconciliation and ignoring Sen. McConnell’s bellows, Democrats are not playing into his con. Without the ability to filibuster, Mitch McConnell has little power.
Senate Democrats understand that voters don’t care about how many Senators from each party vote for a bill. People only want results, and by becoming a results based Senate, the Democratic majority is finally solving McConnell’s scam.
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Mr. Easley is the founder/managing editor, who is White House Press Pool, and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association