Democrats must fight to keep Republicans from getting a ‘filibuster-proof’ majority: journalist
Democratic Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, a staunch defender of the Senate filibuster and a frequent source of frustration to the progressive wing of her party, has stressed that if Republicans had a filibuster-proof majority in the U.S. Senate, Democrats would not be happy with the laws they would pass. Washington Post opinion writer Greg Sargent, in his April 28 column, tackles the possibility of Republicans performing so well in 2022 and 2024 that they end up with a majority in the U.S. Senate that would be large enough to overcome the demands of the filibuster.
Sargent notes what Simon Bazelon, a Democratic data analyst, and J.B. Poersch, president of the Senate Majority PAC, have had to say.
“The case for long-term Democratic calamity is this: Polarization and declining ticket-splitting mean Democratic Senate candidates are overperforming presidential candidates by increasingly negligible margins,” Sargent writes. “This threatens to interlock with the Senate’s bias against Democrats. That bias is the result of the Senate’s overrepresentation of rural and working-class voters, which is exacerbated for Democrats by deepening polarization along college/non-college and urban/rural lines. And so, Bazelon argues, doing well in the national popular vote will prove less and less helpful for Democrats. As it is, he says, they’ll likely get 47 to 48% of the two-party vote in 2022, leaving them with 46 or 47 seats.”
Sargent continues, “But even if they get 51% of the national two-party vote in 2024, they’ll still lose numerous seats — again, because of the Senate’s rightward lean — in places such as West Virginia, Montana and Ohio, and possibly even Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Even a 51% victory in the 2024 two-party vote could leave Democrats with 39 Senate seats, Bazelon argues, giving Republicans a filibuster-proof majority.”
Poersch, according to Sargent, isn’t as worried as Bazelon. Interviewed for Sargent’s column, Poersch told him, “It was just one year ago that a lot of Democrats were surprised when we won two seats in the state of Georgia. With every cycle, you have successes.”
Nonetheless, Poersch told Sargent that “every cycle, Senate Democrats have to scramble” — and he urges fellow Democrats to do as much as possible to fire up voters in 2022 and 2024.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts has been sounding the alarm about the 2022 midterms, urging members of her party to get voters excited in the weeks and months ahead. Describing some of Warren’s proposals, Politico’s Burgess Everett reported, on April 27, “She wants anti-price gouging legislation and a ban on lawmaker stock trades on the Senate floor ASAP and quick work on a drug pricing and tax reform bill to wash away the bad taste of Build Back Better’s failure…. In tandem with Congress, she also wants President Joe Biden to cancel student loan debt, raise overtime pay and use executive actions to bring down drug prices.”
Poersch, similarly, believes that Democrats need to aggressively campaign on the economy in 2022 and 2024.
“A key threshold question is whether you believe the Democratic Party’s image has broken down in non-cosmopolitan America in some fundamental sense,” Sargent writes. “Pressed on this, Poersch didn’t seem to accept the diagnosis. If Democrats continue centralizing working people, the economy and ‘fairness and opportunity,’ Poersch said, they’ll ‘succeed in all sorts of states.’ But he allowed the party thinks ‘a lot’ about how to boost margins with rural and non-college voters.”
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