Democrats in Congress have recently made the bipartisan U.S. Senate tradition of the filibuster a racial issue. While it is not surprising that Democrats have turned yet another thing into something to divide the nation on, it is shocking they are choosing to attack the filibuster as racist when Democrats used it 327 times last year alone.
The trend by Democrat leaders in Washington D.C. is to label anything they disagree with as racist when they know it really isn’t. In most cases these Democrats make claims of racism about a political opponent without applying the same label to themselves or their colleagues for doing, saying, voting or supporting the exact same thing. That hypocrisy is not only causing voters to distrust their false claims, but it also dilutes valid claims of racism which lose their impact.
Now that Democrats control the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, they are going for an all-out power grab because they know they only have two years to enact some of the most radical changes to everything they can control from election laws to the way they operate in Congress. They are playing the race card from the bottom of the deck, not because they truly believe things like the Senate filibuster are racist, they just want voters to believe it is because Democrats know how emotionally charged and divisive any claim of racism and Jim Crow can be in today’s society.
According to the U.S. Senate, “The Senate tradition of unlimited debate has allowed for the use of the filibuster, a loosely defined term for action designed to prolong debate and delay or prevent a vote on a bill, resolution, amendment, or other debatable question. Prior to 1917 the Senate rules did not provide for a way to end debate and force a vote on a measure. That year, the Senate adopted a rule to allow a two-thirds majority to end a filibuster, a procedure known as ‘cloture.’ In 1975 the Senate reduced the number of votes required for cloture from two-thirds of senators voting to three-fifths of all senators duly chosen and sworn, or 60 of the 100-member Senate.”
The filibuster is basically a tactic used by Senators to stall debate to prevent a bill from moving forward. It has been used in a wide variety of bills that have sadly included the Civil Rights Act many years ago. However, the filibuster has also been used by Democrats, on bills like the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, also known as the CARES Act.
Former U.S. Senator from Illinois Barack Obama said in 2005, “if the majority chooses to end the filibuster, if they choose to change the rules and put an end to Democratic debate, then the fighting and the bitterness and the gridlock will only get worse.” The liberal media did not call him a sell out or an Uncle Tom for advocating for what he now, conveniently and politically, refers to the filibuster as a relic of the Jim Crow era. That was a relic he was willing to defend when it was advantageous for him to do so. It is hypocritical and it needs to stop.
The disingenuous false rage does not end with former President Obama, it continues with the current President who must have forgotten that he said as a U.S. Senator 2005, “at its core, the filibuster is not about stopping a nominee or a bill, it is about compromise and moderation. That is why the Founders put unlimited debate in. That is what it is about, engendering compromise and moderation.”
Remember the JUSTICE Act sponsored by Senator Tim Scott, in response to the tragic death of George Floyd? Democrats opposed it and Senator Dick Durbin called it “token legislation.”
The JUSTICE Act focused on law enforcement reform, accountability, and transparency. Some of the commonsense changes offered in Senator Scott’s bill were ending the practice of utilizing chokeholds by law enforcement, more de-escalation training, reforming police hiring practices, more resources to help diversify police departments so they better matched their communities, ensuring that police departments had full access to any prior disciplinary records for candidates, more body cameras, requiring full reporting to the FBI after any officer involved shooting or use of force, creating two important commissions and making federal lynching a crime.
The JUSTICE Act’s commonsense reforms were fully supported by President Trump and would have made a difference in the lives of many Americans, especially Black Americans who were looking for action from the U.S. Congress.
In case you missed it, Senate Democrats shamefully used the technique known as the filibuster to successfully block The JUSTICE Act from ever becoming the law of the land. Democrats won’t call out their own members for using their self-described “racist relic.” Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, all of them have no issue when Democrats use this so called-Jim Crow procedural move. The filibuster is not racist, and Democrats know this. They are playing politics with the emotions and fears of Black Americans.
Paris Dennard is the National Spokesperson and Director of Black Media Affairs for the Republican National Committee (RNC). Follow him on Twitter: @PARISDENNARD.