Bernie Sanders: ‘I’m not crazy about getting rid of the filibuster’ – Washington Examiner
Socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., who on Tuesday announced he was running for president, surprisingly said, “I’m not crazy about getting rid of the filibuster.”
In reality, maintaining the requirement that major legislation needs 60 votes to pass makes it effectively impossible that his sweeping proposals will ever get enacted.
In an interview with CBS This Morning, host John Dickerson asked Sanders, “Is it possible to have bipartisan ‘Let’s reason together’ in Washington, or do you need to do things like get rid of the filibuster to get through some of the systemic things that block Republicans and Democrats?”
“No, I’m not crazy about getting rid of the filibuster,” Sanders replied. He went on to say, “the problem is, people often talk about the lack of comity, but the real issue is you have a system in Washington that is dominated by wealthy campaign contributors.”
Eliminating the filibuster would seem to be a prerequisite for passing items such as free college, free healthcare, job guarantees, and many other of the massive proposals that Sanders is known for championing. It will be hard enough to get to 51 votes for any of them, but 60 Senate votes would mean getting Republicans to vote for the most radically Left agenda in the history of the U.S.
What’s bizarre is that even as Democrats are embracing policies that are way outside where the median Senator is, they have been so reluctant to call for the end of an enormous roadblock. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., who has endorsed both “Medicare for all” and the “Green New Deal,” also recently dismissed the idea of nixing the filibuster, saying, “if you don’t have 60 votes yet, it just means you haven’t done enough advocacy and you need to work a lot harder.”
But it was somewhat more understandable in her case, given that earlier in her career she was more of a traditional liberal.
Sanders, however, has been openly fantasizing about a revolution for decades, and yet he’s somehow attached to this procedural requirement?
One wonders if the experience of the Trump presidency, while in one sense has made Democrats feel less beholden to norms, has in the other sense made them reluctant to remove institutional barriers that could be used by a future Republican president. After all, Democrats have seen how former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s nuking of the filibuster for nominations has allowed Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., to confirm a flood of Trump judges with relative ease, including two Supreme Court justices.
Though there’s little space to Sanders’ left, his comment has created an opening for an enterprising opponent to making killing the filibuster a central part of his or her campaign, thus demonstrating more commitment to the nuts and bolts of enacting a transformative agenda.