The left’s fake Senate majority – By Damon Linker (The Week) / January 27 2021
The left wing of the Democratic Party has a plan, and it goes like this:
With the party controlling both houses of Congress along with the presidency, Democrats in the Senate need to vote as a bloc (with Vice President Kamala Harris casting the winning 51st vote) to eliminate the filibuster, the parliamentary procedure that enables the minority party (in this case, the GOP) to require 60 votes to advance most forms of legislation. With this accomplished, the Democrats should then ram through a long list of policies, ranging from additional trillions of dollars’ worth of pandemic relief to various institutional reforms that will enhance the party’s electoral prospects going forward.
That’s the plan, but it’s already falling to pieces. That’s because former Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell demanded as a condition of reaching a power-sharing agreement with Democrats that the new Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer promise to keep the filibuster in place. This was never a serious threat because any such promise was unenforceable; Schumer could agree to it and then break the deal the moment Republicans filibustered something the Democrats passionately cared about passing.
Yet if the goal of McConnell’s gambit was to preserve the filibuster, it must be judged a smashing success. That’s because by forcing the issue right up front, McConnell prompted two Democrats — West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin and Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema — to state forthrightly on the record that they have no intention of supporting the elimination of the filibuster, now or in the future.