John Oliver Ends the Filibuster Debate Once and for All
In the latest installment of “Last Week Tonight,” host John Oliver takes on “the country’s second most influential body after Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson,” the Senate. More specifically, he examines the ignominious history of the filibuster—a parliamentary procedure by which the upper chamber of Congress can delay or prevent a vote on a given piece of legislation absent a 60-vote majority.
One by one, he dismantles the arguments in favor of preserving such a procedure: we’ve always had it (it was neither included in the Constitution nor the Federalist Papers); it enables political debate (see Cruz, Ted); it protects minority groups (Strom Thurmond actually relieved himself in a bucket with one foot on the Senate floor while filibustering civil rights legislation), and it encourages bipartisanship (Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., sends his regards). As the HBO host points out, “Theoretically, senators from the 21 least populated states, representing just 11 percent of Americans, could overrule everyone else.”
While Oliver acknowledges that ending the filibuster presents its own dangers, he nonetheless argues that it’s a risk Democrats can’t afford not to take, especially if they hope to pass Medicare for All or some version of a Green New Deal. Watch the full segment in the video player above.
—Posted by Jacob SugarmanWait, before you go…
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