Democrats should get rid of the filibuster. It really isn’t a close call.
President Biden’s agenda is popular. It was popular when he received 81 million votes for it, and it’s popular now that he is beginning to implement it. Republican ideas on a host of issues, from government spending to climate change and the minimum wage, are not popular. In a clean electoral environment, which does not exist, Democratic ideas would overwhelm Republican ones in a popular vote.
The way to achieve this is through killing the filibuster. Republicans are relying on the inherent conservatism of Democrats, who despite the party’s liberal factions, prefer status quo and to keep things as they are — stability is best, they believe.
If Democrats keep the filibuster in place, Republicans will wield it as a weapon to prevent Democrats from passing their agenda (which is already tough because Democrats have to deal with conservative members like Sen. Joe Manchin).
The bulk of voters do no understand how Congress works in the nitty-gritty detail, and if they even know that Democrats have a Senate majority, they will believe that the party has the power to do what it wishes. Republicans are relying on this, and when Minority Leader (!) Mitch McConnell gums up the works, it is a lock that those same Republicans will attack Democrats for not enacting their own agenda.
Explaining this to voters in an election year will be for naught. People don’t understand congressional procedure and frankly they shouldn’t have to in their day-to-day lives.
This can be solved by destroying the filibuster and turning to a majority rules system like in the House.
At some point it is possible that Republicans will use this system to enact their agenda, as they did when packing the court with conservative judges. So be it. That is why we have elections. The voters in the most recent cycle gave Democrats control of government. That is a mandate for enacting a Democratic agenda (which happens to be popular).
If it works out, voters will reward Democrats with more years of control. If it doesn’t, Republicans will get a turn in the lead. That is how it should work. With the levers of power in their hands, Democrats have an opportunity to pass legislation like the John Lewis Act which would ensure that more voters get to have their say as the levers of power shift from either party to the next.
Trying to game out what Republicans might do is folly. For too long Democrats have tried to out think and strategize the other party, tying themselves into knots that the right has been able to exploit, often too easily.
More often than not, the simple solution is best. Help as many people as possible, brag about that help, and let the chips fall wherever they may. This is much more likely to succeed than hoping voters understand the vague nuances of the parliamentary system on election day (they won’t).
And the way to get that help to the people is to remove the filibuster and to cajole Democrats to accumulate the 50 votes plus the vote of Vice President Kamala Harris to enact their agenda.
So do it.