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How many voters get this?

Steve Kerr, coach for the Golden State Warriors nearly breaks down over the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas and states the truth about why universal background checks can’t get passed in the Senate:

There are a lot of voters who place the blame for everything from high gas prices to Covid to inflation to <name your current malady> on Democrats. It’s because Democrats are in charge of both the House and Senate.

But while Nancy Pelosi can get legislation passed in the House with a simple majority, Chuck Shumer has to get the consent of 60 senators just to get a piece of legislation to the floor for a vote. If even one ornery Republican senator starts a filibuster, it takes 60 votes to kill it before an actual vote on a bill can take place.

Does Shumer have 60 Democrats who can kill a filibuster? No, he does not. He has 48 solid votes. Even in the best of times he only has 50 votes if Manchin and Sinema aren’t obstructing votes.

But 50 votes are 10 less than 60, which is what Shumer would need to move a bill to the senate floor for a vote.

I keep repeating this because it doesn’t seem to sink in to voters’ heads what is going on. Most people aren’t political junkies. They’ve got better things to do with their time. The filibuster rule doesn’t make any sense when there are bills out there with 90% popular support and the sane party is in charge. Why don’t they do something?

It’s because it takes 60 votes to get a bill moved to the senate floor for a simple majority vote. The House doesn’t have this problem. It passes bills all the time. But bills get stuck in the senate because of the filibuster and because Democrats don’t have 60 votes to override it.

But wait, you may say, why don’t some Republicans vote to end the filibuster? Steve Kerr tells us why. Mitch McConnell has vowed to block any bill the Democrats want to pass. There has been an exception on funding for Ukraine’s weapons requests. But Rand Paul was able to block a vote on the last bill by calling a filibuster. After he gave putin’s army a boost by putting the Ukrainians on hold for a week, he eventually relented. But you can see that one senator from either party can be the asshole who can constipate a bill in the senate.

Shumer could get around the filibuster by invoking the nuclear option. That is, he holds a vote on abolishing the filibuster and he only needs a simple majority for that. But Manchin and Sinema won’t do it.

So we’re stuck until we get more Democrats in the Senate. I’m sorry that it falls on us to get the members needed to do it but we can’t count on Republicans to yield an inch on anything. Their whole schtick is to prevent meaningful legislation from passing the Senate and looking like Democrats are getting anything accomplished and it is working for them because most voters don’t understand how the filibuster works. It’s all about numbers and even with a razor thin majority, Democrats don’t have them.

I realize that most people on this site know how this works and want to defenestrate Manchin and Sinema but the best we can do is hope that we gain a couple of seats in the SenAte in November if voters wise up.

Then we can pass universal background checks. But until then? Don’t count on Mitch and the Republicans to lift a pinky to help.