How Republicans are Killing the Constitution and the United States
The Republicans are explicitly standing against the founding fathers concept of "majority rule" and their understanding that a nation ruled by a minority voice is a nation ruled by tyranny.
Our nation is built on the premise of majority rule, with checks and balances to ensure reason is the final outcome of the day.
We have a congress with two Houses, the House of representatives and the Senate. Each house is based on passing a bill by majority vote. No more, no less.
Is it time to ban or change the Hastert Rule and the Filibuster?
The House under Newt Gingrich devised a manner of filibuster -- only allow a bill to the floor if the majority of the majority approved the bill. So essentially, a bill only passed to the floor for a majority House vote if the majority could pass the bill on it's own. If less than half the majority voted, even if the minority would push the bill through in a full House vote, the bill would not make it to the floor to get that vote.
This rule was later named the "Hastert Rule" after the next Republican Speaker of the House, Dennis Hastert, who took the rule to new heights, so to speak. During the most contentious times, House Republicans bought wholesale into partisanship and literally cut the Democrats out of the process in many ways, and the Hastert Rule was a common way to do this.
Our current Speaker of the House re-established this rule under his tenure after Nancy Pelosi refused to continue it under her term as Speaker. Boehner has successfully blocked a multitude of bills that may have made it through with a bipartisan vote simply because the majority didn't support it as a majority.
Confused yet? Don't worry about it -- what it means is that there is no real bipartisan effort to bring solutions to fruition from the House of Representatives. That if the third in line to the presidency is willing to step on the voices of the people from the opposing party, you will ultimately end up where we are today - in deadlock with the country failing to thrive and well-paid elected officials failing to do their job.
- Before Obama, 20 executive branch nominees were filibustered. Under Obama 16 have been filibustered
- Majority Leader Lyndon Johnson faced one filibuster. Majority Leader Harry Reid has faced more than 400
- Republicans are trying to nullify or change agencies using the filibuster, like the NLRB and the CFPB
Then we have the Senate. The Senate has a long established rule that was used as a gentleman's tool -- to be used rarely and wisely and with a lot of effort. The Senate has since established the "silent filibuster" and has used it endlessly during the Obama administration and when the Democrats took control of the House for a 2 year period.
If you look at the chart above you can see the unprecedented spikes in cloture votes. Understand a cloture vote is a vote to end a filibuster and allow the Senate to vote on a bill. A cloture vote is not filed for every filibuster. It's just not worth the effort. So since we now have a silent filibuster where you simply have to say you are filibustering a bill, and not all filibusters receive a cloture vote, we really have no idea exacly how far the Republican party has gone to roadblock the legistlative branch of our nation. But we can see clearly that it is a concerted and unprecedented effort.
These two tools the "Majority of the Majority" rule and the Filibuster have effectively removed the concept of majority rule from our government. Completely eliminated it.
So say if 78% of our country said they wanted immigration reform today, it doesn't matter -- the Republicans filibustered it and successfully ended that.
If 90% said they wanted a clean bill approving universal background checks for gun control, again, it doesn't matter, the Republicans filibustered it.
Unfortunately those "ifs" are reality. They happened, along with hundreds of other bills and presidential appointments that were blocked by Republicans.
Why? Well, we all want jobs, and they say they do too. We all want better tax law, and they say they do too. We all want more effective government, more efficient spending, less pork, more responsibility -- and they claim they do as well.
However actions speak louder than words. The Republicans have blocked all the above -- the single common denominator is that they refuse to negotiate or compromise on a single point. And when the other side bends, they move the goal posts and start over again with the refusal to work together.
There are 317,000,000 people in this country. We have no room or time for a party unwilling to compromise or negotiate. We have to work together and there is no one person in this country that has a guaranteed right to a government that does exactly what they want, how they want and when they want -- only that they have a voice via representation in a majority process.
Yes, we know, the majority doesn't always get it right. Which is why we have an executive check and balance, and yes, the Congress can override a veto with a 2/3 votes (yes, a super majority is actually required here).
If the bill passes and the people still have a complaint they are entitled to redress through our court systems.
It's a system that works and has worked for a couple hundred years. It's a system that the Republicans are slowly dismantling and destroying for a minority rule government. A form of government that our founding fathers specifically chose not to pursue.