The Daftness of Chuck Schumer’s Filibuster Gamble


Philip Mahoney, Staff Writer


I’m feeling ever so inclined to buy Chuck Schumer a lovely fruit basket, as he may have just condemned Democrats up for reelection in competitive battlegrounds to doom. The Democratic Senate Majority leader forced a vote on using the so-called “nuclear option” to override Republican resistance to his supposed voting rights bill. “We hope our Republican colleagues change course and work with us,” Schumer began, “but if they do not, the Senate will debate and consider changes to Senate rules on or before January 17, Martin Luther King Jr. Day.” 


This is a very different take from that of the New York Senior Senator sixteen years ago, when he said that Republican Senate Leader Bill Frist was holding Democrat’s hostage by threatening the idea of using the nuclear option to allow the nominations of federal judges by President Bush. In an impassioned speech, Schumer blasted Republican leadership saying, “[They] want to turn what the Founding Fathers called ‘the cooling saucer of democracy’ into the rubber stamp of dictatorship. We will not let them. They want, because they can’t get their way on every judge…to wash away 200 years of history. They want to make this country into a banana republic, where if you don’t get your way, you change the rules. Are we going to let them? It’ll be a doomsday for democracy if we do.”


Schumer ironically seems to have changed his tune when it became quite apparent that Senate Democrats cannot get Republicans to go along with federalizing elections. Now, he elects to use the nuclear option in a legislative way that has not been used since the Affordable Care Act. Senators Joe Manchin (WV) and Kirsten Sinema (AZ), however, broke rank with party leadership and voted no, leading to the latter’s censure from the Arizona Democratic Party. Sinema’s impassioned speech on the Senate floor, prior to the vote, was followed by a surprise visit from the President, who was already under heavy fire for his divisive and angry speech in Georgia.


Scrapping the filibuster is an unpopular opinion, once you leave the progressive sphere of Twitter. The problem? Democratic leadership has shown that they care less about how the country feels and more about their base’s emotions. The reason I personally celebrate Schumer’s decision to hold a vote with glee is that it will absolve the Democratic Senators Republicans seek to unseat of their label as ‘moderate.’ Mark Kelly, Arizona’s other Democratic Senator, has been thrust into a state of political panic. 


He tried to keep silent about filibuster reform, yet he was forced to vote “yes”, condemning himself to a barrage of Republican attacks in the red state, but saving himself from the wrath of a progressive challenger. Raphael Warnock’s war chest is lagging behind Herschel Walker’s, the presumptive GOP nominee in Georgia, and Warnock will no doubt vote for the nuclear option.


Indeed, Democrats seem to be acting like the right to vote is under some sort of drastic and coordinated attack by the evil Republican state legislatures. Is it? 158,383,403 people voted in the 2020 presidential election, the highest percentage of voter turnout since William McKinley’s re-election in 1896. Almost every state broke records for how many votes were cast, and several minority groups including African-Americans and Hispanics ended up voting in droves influencing the results in key battleground states. Republicans are not attacking the right to vote; state legislature laws are just enforcing Voter ID, which is wildly popular


Conversely, universal mail-in-voting, a provision in the voting rights bill, HR1, is less so popular, and is easily susceptible to fraud and harder to account for, proven by results of a commission headed by none other than former President Jimmy Carter. With high spoiled ballot rates during the Democratic primaries of 2020 and the commission’s report on absentee voting being “the largest source of potential voter fraud,” the Republican legislatures seem merely to be taking actions to ensure election integrity.


Quite honestly, at the end of the day, if states seek to pass voting laws, it should be litigated and decided at the state level as specified by the constitution. The more we enlarge the federal government with power, the more inefficient and corrupt the government potentially becomes. To those concerned about the former President’s actions in regards to attempting to overturn the 2020 election, would you have wanted him, as head of the federal government, to have been able to directly control the electoral processes in these states? I didn’t think so.