Political Education

Rules Are Rules

When asked about athlete Sha’ Carri Richardson’s suspension for marijuana use, President Biden said,

“The rules are the rules.” 

The rules of the U.S. Senate are rules, too- fair or not.

When a Senate minority uses the filibuster, it requires 60 votes to pass legislation. The filibuster rule, known as the Senate cloture rule, requires a united 50 Democrats to get an additional 10 Republicans to pass legislation.

The so-called ‘nuclear option‘ involves setting a new precedent- created by a Senator raising a point of order or claiming that a Senate rule is being violated. If the presiding officer agrees, that ruling establishes a new precedent, allowing a simple majority to pass legislation.

Since no Senate Republican supports the nuclear option, a change to the filibuster will require all Democratic Senators to vote for the rule change.

Progressive leader Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez has said,

“Call me radical, but I do not believe a minority of Senators should be able to block voting rights for millions of people, but I guess I’m just from that far-left school of thought that legislation should pass when a majority of legislators vote for it.” 

On NBC’s Meet the Press, she added,

“Political systems all across the country, I mean all across the world, pass legislation with majorities and they’re fine…”, 

U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar added,

“Our democracy is more important than the Senate filibuster. Pass it on.” 

However, Democratic Senator Joe Manchin says,

“Right now, 60 is where I planted my flag, but as long as they know that I’m going to protect this filibuster, we’re looking at good solutions.”

When Lyndon Johnson, pictured above, was Democratic Senate Majority Leader, he was famous for giving his fellow Senators the LBJ Arm Twisting Treatment to form a consensus.

Progressive Democrats, it’s not your morality or empathy that is in question. What is in question is your legislative, political skill.

The ability to build a party consensus and get to 50 votes in the Senate is critical… because rules are rules.


Thanks and a tip of the hat to Yoichi Okamoto – Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum. Image Serial Number: W98-30 http://photolab.lbjlib.utexas.edu/detail.asp?id=14899 for the image of’ the LBJ arm twisting treatment’.

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