“We pour our legislation into the Senatorial saucer to cool it.” — George Washington
Thank you @SteveDaines for being willing to go with the so-called nuclear option in order to win on DESPERATELY NEEDED Border Security! Have my total support.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 21, 2018
In 2013, Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) nuked the filibuster option for lower court judges and cabinet nominees. Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) returned the favor in 2017 when Democrats filibustered imminently qualified Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch. I had been in favor of both changes since 2005 and it really didn’t matter much to me who implemented them. They made sense, especially for Republicans.
However, at Donald Trump’s urging, we’ve moved on to discussing the nuclear option for ALL legislation. It’s understandable why he wants to do it. Both parties have become heavily incentivized to block almost everything the other party wants and it’s rare for a side to control the presidency, the House and 60 votes in the Senate, which is essentially what it takes to pass whatever you want. Make no mistake about it, this is a huge problem for the country. However, the only thing that would be worse than the problem we have now is the disastrous new problems that would be created by getting rid of the filibuster for all legislation. Why would it be a problem?
1. It would dramatically decrease the stability in the country
If Republicans were to have control of the House and Senate, it’s true that they could ram through legislation near and dear to the hearts of conservatives if the filibuster were nuked. During this short lame-duck session, that would mean we’d get funding for the wall and probably not a lot else before Democrats take over the House. However, let’s assume a best-case scenario happens in 2020 and Trump gets elected, the GOP holds the Senate, and the GOP takes back the House. Sounds great, right? Then we could theoretically kill Obamacare, push through a free market-oriented health care system, make tough changes to immigration laws, get rid of the capital gains tax, push through entitlement reform, roll back Dodd-Frank, make it tougher to get an abortion, etc., etc., etc. It sounds wonderful, right? Except, let’s then imagine the best-case scenario for DEMOCRATS in 2024. Let’s say they take the House, the Senate, and the White House. What are they going to do? Well, the first thing they’re going to do is roll back everything the Republicans did. Then, they’re going to move on to their wish list, which will feature things like Medicare for all, draconian tax rates, huge tax credits to their base, opening up the borders, making all illegal aliens American citizens, etc. Of course, that will only last until Republicans take over again and reverse course. In other words, we could have radical shifts in policy every few years. In fact, the bases of those parties would be DEMANDING that we have those radical shifts. This would have a lot of ramifications, but most importantly…..
2. It would decimate the economy
It would be extremely difficult to run a business when the laws you operate under whipsaw back and forth between those preferred by Karl Marx and Milton Friedman every few years. It would make planning for the future impossible; it would drive the cost of regulation/legal expenses into the stratosphere as corporations try and fail to keep up with the radical shifts; and it would send many of the biggest corporations out of the country to more stable, business-friendly environments. Not only would it hurt businesses….
3. It would hurt Republicans more than Democrats
While both parties would ruthlessly make changes when they are in power, the number of changes that would remain after they lose power would in large part depend upon the ruthlessness of both parties. So, ask yourself some questions. Which party fights harder to get what it wants? Which party keeps tossing out olive branches to the other side no matter how many times it gets slapped in the face? Which party is more committed to its position on Obamacare? Which party is more likely to embrace a position that 51 percent of the public supports — even if it goes against everything it believes in — and which party is willing to completely ignore public opinion to please its base? Which party does things it doesn’t really want to do because it’s trying to be the adult in the room and which party is more like a child holding his breath until he gets his way or turns blue? So, would getting rid of the filibuster produce major policy shifts? Yes, but the Democrats would keep more of their legislation in place because of the nature of Republicans. The other enormous danger would be that….
4. Democrats would change the rules to cement themselves in power:
Over and over again across the planet, we’ve seen revolutionaries who talk freedom and democracy take power and then it turns into “one man, one vote, one time.” Do you think it would be any different if Democrats were to acquire the ability to rewrite all the laws, including ELECTION LAWS, pretty much any way they want? Do you trust people like Nancy Pelosi, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and Chuck Schumer with that kind of power? Remember that whatever they do to tilt the field in their favor will be called “fair” and “long overdue” by the mainstream media while the courts have historically proven reluctant to challenge congressional rulings on election laws. Once we get to that point, we might still have votes, but the America we know and love would be as good as dead and likely headed for bloodshed and violence the likes of which we haven’t seen since the Civil War.
Now, some people believe the Democrats will nuke the filibuster for legislation the next time they have an opportunity to do it. Maybe they will. If so, let them be responsible for ending America’s run as a great nation, not us. A temporary victory on building a wall — that would immediately become irrelevant the second Democrats take power under the same rules we put in place — just isn’t worth it.