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End the Filibuster, End Minority Rule

The filibuster allows a group of multi-millionaires elected, in the worst case, by 11.2 percent of the American public (forty-one senators from the twenty-one smallest states) to undo the work of the Senate and the House. The filibuster allows, in every case, a minority of senators to block the will of the majority of the Senate and the majority of the House.  Overview of the problem.

Senator Tom Udall of New Mexico has put an honest description of the antidemocratic filibuster rule on his website and he plans to call a point of order at the start of the next Congress to allow a vote that would eliminate or at least seriously reform the filibuster rule.

The filibuster rule just isn't very popular among those who know what it is.  Recently Pew found that 26% of Americans knew how many votes were needed to get around a filibuster. Zogby reports that 32% want to get rid of that anti-democratic blockage.  And these two polls were probably looking at samples of the same population, given Zogby's findings confirming vast ignorance: Only 34% knew Republicans use the filibuster more. Only 28% knew the House represented public opinion better than the Senate.

Two weeks after those polls came out, a CBS/New York Times poll found that 50% wanted the filibuster rule thrown out.   But it all depends how the pollster asks the question.  This one asked if people would prefer simple majority rule to minority rule by 41 senators.  The Zogby poll asked people whether the filibuster rule was undemocratic rather than pointing that fact out to them.

Chris Bowers at Open Left has a whip list of Senators willing to throw out the filibuster rule.  Get whipping!

A lawsuit is another path to reform.

Here's Senator Tom Harkin's view.



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