There is today a lot of flaming rhetoric heating up the debate over its future. Support and opposition flow back in forth between the parties, depending upon which is in the minority and which is in the majority. It’s the Democrats’ turn in opposition. Both Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin are vociferously advocating for its termination. But that wasn’t the case when they were in the minority.
In 2017, Schumer declared:
“The legislative filibuster is the most important distinction between the Senate and the House. Without the 60-vote threshold for legislation, the senate becomes a majoritarian institution just like the House, much more subject to the winds of short-term electoral change. No senator would like to see that happen.”
Senator Durbin, who now says the filibuster “is making a mockery of American democracy” told ABC in 2018:
“I can tell you that would be the end of the Senate as it was originally devised and created going back to our founding fathers,” Durbin said at the time. “We have to acknowledge a respect for the minority and that is what the Senate tries to do in its composition and in its procedure.”
It is no surprise that the future of the filibuster floats untethered in the high winds of political parochialism and not in the calm air of common sense or bipartisan consensus. The atmosphere in which governing, or the lack of it, takes place in these times, does not lend itself to dealing honestly with issues such as this one that has many sides, rich history, and solid arguments for and against.