Florida Democratic Representative Val Demings, a former police chief who is challenging Republican Senator Marco Rubio for his seat in 2022, called for ending the filibuster in a USA Today editorial over the weekend.
“When we allow a political faction to block critical legislation, it takes away that voice from the voters. No matter your political party, you should know that when you win a free and fair election, your representatives can govern,” Demings wrote. “It’s no secret that the filibuster’s main use over the last century has been to block efforts to make this country freer and fairer for all its citizens.”
For decades, GOP lawmakers have made incremental changes to the Senate rules surrounding the filibuster effectively turning it into a weapon of legislative death.
“Anti-lynching legislation introduced in 1918 was, as the NAACP put it, ‘lynched by a filibuster‘ despite thousands of racist killings happening across the country. There is still no federal anti-lynching law over 100 years later. Opponents of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 blocked a vote for 60 days,” noted Demings.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has staked his entire legacy on usurping the majority’s power to fulfill the will of the voters (unless his party is in charge). In this case, it is the Democrats with their one-seat advantage and who represent 42 million more Americans than the Republicans.
Demings believes that the GOP is playing a very dangerous game and if liberals fail to fight for democratic principles, we could lose everything.
“I worry that if we do not act to strengthen American democracy, we will see future violence as well,” said Demings, referring to the January 6th insurrection at the Capitol.
Demings added that in a representative democracy, the elected majority has earned the right to govern.
“More voting rights, more support for working families, more liberty and justice for all. Empower the people. Allow their representatives to work on their behalf. Trust in government of the people, by the people, for the people,” she said. “When we embrace our heritage and our potential as a free people, we can accomplish anything – and we should do it with the majority. In the Senate, that’s 51 votes.”
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Brandon is a political writer for the Hill Reporter specializing in current events, breaking news, and scientific discovery. Brandon holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Indiana University. He lives in New York City.