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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.


6 Responses

  1. As most people probably know, Steve Kerr’s father, who was president of American University of Beirut, was killed in a terrorist shooting in Lebanon in 1984. I remember unutterably classless fans of his rival school Arizona State chanting “PLO” at him during a game between the two schools.

    Yes, too many people do not understand why Democrats cannot pass any but reconciliation bills in the Senate. If democracy falls, a major reason for it will be the awful electoral system which might have seemed reasonable in 1791, but is not now. And the filibuster rule which was not part of the Constitution, is an abomination, designed to give the minority a tyranny over the majority–if the minority uses it, and of course the Republicans,, use it over and over to block everything, since all they care about is their version of winning, and not about humanity.

    And of course people get upset, and blame Democrats, “Why don’t they do something?!,” when the truth is that they can’t. Only if people realize that the Republicans are the problem, and vote a number of them out, will anything possibly be done about guns. They could do it in New Zealand and Scotland, but they can’t do it here, because the political system is warped. Only the voters could possibly change it, and it will take an enormous number of votes, in a political landscape which is vastly tilted toward rural “Red” districts and states, and further gerrymandered because a Far Right-owned Supreme Court lets them do it. it is not impossible, though, if people actually avoid being distracted when they vote.

  2. Beto O”Rourke or Steve Kerr are what this country needs right now. Only one of them is in politics, though.

  3. Somewhat off topic, from “Colin in Las Vegas” on the post and thread to which I linked above:

    From an article on Microsoft today:

    “Russian army units previously lost dozens of military vehicles when they tried to cross the Seversky Donets River near the village of Belogorovka in eastern Luhansk Oblast.

    The Washington-based think tank Institute for the Study of War said that up to 485 of the 550 soldiers of the 74th Separate Guards Motor Rifle Brigade who tried to cross the river were killed or wounded.

    The General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU) said on May 24 that Russia had lost about 29,350 troops between February 24 and May 24.

    It added that Russia had also lost 1,302 tanks, 3,194 armored fighting vehicles, 606 artillery systems, 201 multiple launch rocket systems, 93 anti-aircraft systems, 205 aircraft, 170 helicopters, 2,213 motor vehicles and fuel tankers, 13 vessels, 480 unmanned aerial vehicles, 43 units of special equipment and 112 cruise missiles over the same period.

    Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Russian troops are trying to destroy ‘everything living’ in the embattled Donbas region.”

    Colin writes here:

    If these numbers are accurate, I really don’t see how Russia can even begin to try to maintain any resemblance of a superpower. Russia has only about 2,500 tanks. If they lost 1,302 in Ukraine, they have diminished their supply of tanks by half. And their steel plants have closed and are unable to make any more. There are diminishing returns in this war for them. If they continue, it’s time for them to welcome third world country status. Putin is wrecking their nation. Something is going to have to give. And, from all indications, it sure isn’t going to be Ukraine.


    Third World country status, indeed.

    Russia will become an economic basket case and vassal state of China, only with its own nukes–a much larger North Korea.

    In a huge irony of history, the Russians will once again become the vassals of Asian overlords.

  4. Also: Don’t tell me you’re pro-life, while you bow down and kiss the taints of Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump and Viktor Orban as your false messiahs of your false religion, which is not Christianity by a long shot, but rather, White Male Supremacism.

    And let me say this as a white male: You fascist sons of bitches do not speak for me, and you never will.

    Let me say this as well: White supremacism is inextricably linked to male supremacism, because for white supremacism to be maintained, whites must remain an overwhelming numerical majority–and that numerical majority, in the long run, can only be maintained by forcing white women to become human brood mares, and controlling their sexuality to ensure that they only mate with white men.

    How long before our right-wingers emulate their Nazi (pseudo-)intellectual ancestors, dispense with the smokescreen of “family values” altogether, and just call for an (un-)American version of the SS Lebensborn program, to produce “superior” “Aryan” white kids for the Confederacy–er, the USA?

  5. To the right-wing gun-worshipping “Christians”:

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