Democrats are already preparing to make abolishing or amending the filibuster a plank of future campaign platforms, after efforts to break the filibuster to pass a pair of federal election takeover bills failed in the Senate.
The Hill reported Tuesday that Democrat politicians and strategists see opposition to filibuster reform as increasingly untenable, and both moderate and progressive Democrats are making it an issue in their campaigns.
“I really do think [Arizona Senator Kyrsten] Sinema and [West Virginia Senator Joe] Manchin are the last two members of the Senate Democratic Caucus that will ever support keeping the filibuster in its current form,” Brian Fallon, Co-founder and Executive Director of the progressive super PAC Demand Justice, told The Hill. “It’s hard to imagine anybody getting elected in the future that won’t arrive on a platform of getting rid of the filibuster.”
Multiple candidates in contested Senate races, many of whom are running as moderates, have already voiced support for abolishing the filibuster. Democratic Pennsylvania Senate candidates John Fetterman and Conor Lamb have both supported abolishing the filibuster. Ohio Senate candidate Tim Ryan echoed the sentiment in a recent MSNBC interview. Three Democratic candidates in Wisconsin, including current Lieutenant Governor Mandela Barnes, have also called for ending the filibuster. Even incumbent Arizona Senator Mark Kelly, who is running for re-election in 2022, voiced support for an amendment to the filibuster for the election bills specifically.
Moreover, The Atlantic reported last week that a number of progressive advocacy groups, including the Black Voters Matter Fund, the Latino Victory Fund, EMILY’s List, NARAL Pro-Choice America, and others, announced that they would not support any candidate who opposed amending or abolishing the filibuster. A group of former Democratic Senators also wrote a letter to current Democratic members last week urging them to pass filibuster reform.
“It’s nearly unthinkable now to imagine the subject of Senate reform not being a very serious and broadly discussed component of any 2022 Senate race, certainly for the primaries,” said Ray Zaccaro, a former advisor to Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley, via The Hill.
While the effort to break the filibuster failed, Democrats see the political winds shifting toward a party-wide consensus for permanent reform. “I do truly think that there was progress made toward real filibuster reform. The conversation has shifted from being one where filibuster reform was seen as a progressive position where now it’s seen as a consensus position across the Democratic Party,” said Eli Zupnick, a spokesman for the advocacy coalition Fix Our Senate.
“It’s a matter of when, not a matter if, ” he added. “If Democrats win another few seats in 2022, hold the House … then I think they will quickly move to adjust the filibuster.”
“No matter what, the filibuster is not long for this world and this month has done a lot to move us in that direction,” he said.
The Senate failed to amend or abolish the filibuster last week in their effort to pass a federal takeover of elections. Manchin and Sinema joined all 50 Republicans in voting down the effort.