It didn’t take long for the Democrats’ demoralizing failure to pass their sweeping elections bill to spur Bernard Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and other liberal senators to call for ending the filibuster.
“If we are serious about calling ourselves a democracy we must make it easier for people to participate, not harder. Now is the time for majority rule in the Senate,” Mr. Sanders of Vermont said in a statement Tuesday shortly after Republicans used the long-standing Senate rule to block the bill.
“We must end the filibuster, pass sweeping voting rights legislation, and protect our democracy,” said the self-proclaimed socialist who caucuses with Democrats.
Ms. Warren, an icon of the far left, took to Twitter to demand an end to the filibuster.
“#AbolishTheFilibuster now — our democracy is at stake,” tweeted Ms. Warren, Massachusetts Democrat.
Their frustration is only compounded by the zero chance that they will get their way.
It would take all 50 Senate Democrats, and a tie-breaking vote cast by Vice President Kamala Harris, to change the rules. And moderate Democrats, most notably Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, say they won’t go along.
Under the Senate’s filibuster rule, 60 senators have to agree to bring up bills for consideration, protecting the party in the minority from being run over by the majority.
In Tuesday’s vote on the Democrats’ sweeping elections bill, all 50 Democrats supported keeping the bill alive and advancing it to a debate by the full Senate. The bill, among other things, would have imposed national standards to expand mail-in voting and lowered voter ID requirements.
Democrats failed to win over a single Republican vote toward clearing the 60-vote threshold.
Anticipating the defeat of the bill would spur calls to end the practice, Ms. Sinema penned an op-ed that appeared in The Washington Post hours before the vote.
“The filibuster compels moderation and helps protect the country from wild swings between opposing policy poles,” she wrote. “To those who want to eliminate the legislative filibuster to pass the For the People Act (voting-rights legislation I support and have co-sponsored), I would ask: Would it be good for our country if we did, only to see that legislation rescinded a few years from now and replaced by a nationwide voter-ID law or restrictions on voting by mail in federal elections, over the objections of the minority?”
The argument didn’t sway Democrats to her left. Democrats including Sens. Alex Padilla of California and Kirsten Gillibrand of New York issued tweets after the vote calling for killing off the filibuster.
Sen. Edward Markey of Massachusetts also urged fellow Democrats to end the filibuster and ram through the elections bill.
“It’s time to abolish the filibuster so that we can debate and pass voting rights and electoral reform legislation to ensure our democracy represents all Americans,” he said in a statement.