Senator Joe Manchin remains as one of the only voices of reason left within the Democratic Party. In a party that seems to have rendered the conventional American liberal as an endangered species, replacing them with left-winged ideologues who all share a mutual disdain for the Constitution, Joe Manchin continues to stand his ground, unwilling to compromise with the radical left’s desire to consolidate power for themselves.
Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) pushed back against progressive Democrats on Sunday who had called him a “roadblock” to their far-left policy initiatives, after Manchin had asserted that “I am not going to be part of blowing up this Senate of ours or basically this democracy of ours or the Republic that we have,” in opposition to the Democrats’ effort to get rid of the Senate filibuster.
It is not often to see a Democrat in Washington (or a Republican for that matter) with much of a spine. Senator Manchin is one of the last remaining voices on Capitol Hill whose beliefs are more reminiscent of the healthy discourse that used to occur between liberals and conservatives. It is this once thriving discourse that has guided America through turbulent times. Sure, liberals will always harbor their reservations towards conservatives, and vice-versa. But there was once a time where both liberals and conservatives shared a mutual respect for the Constitution, and the procedures that each congressional chamber had adopted along with it to further strengthen the continuity of our Republic.
The Democrats’ sudden collective desire to rid the Senate of its legislative filibuster is indicative of a party that has abandoned any previous intention of working with Republicans in pursuit of ridding their political opponents from the halls of power. This trend is further exacerbated by a generation of young Americans who are worryingly unappreciative of the severe implications of tearing down traditional constitutional safeguards in pursuit of making the government “more democratic.”
As Americans, we are admittedly often frustrated with the legislative gridlock that Congress is known for. It would seem that, almost every day, it is becoming increasingly obvious that the legislature is not listening to the citizens in which it was elected to serve. Such frustration, therefore, has merit. However, there is another reason why the Congress is a naturally gridlocked institution: the Founders designed it that way.
Democracy is often regarded as pivotal to our nation’s existence. The term “democracy” is laced in almost every political speech, and young Americans are taught how the United States is the strongest democracy in world history. To a certain extent, this is true. Our government allows for the democratic selection of our representatives, who (in theory) work for us.
However, Manchin’s lone and adamant opposition to ending the Senate filibuster is a grim reminder of what happens when democracy is taken to unhealthy extremes, as well as to why our Republic is skeptical of simple majority rule.
The Senate filibuster requires a 60-vote concurrence to end debate and bring a bill to a vote. Critics of this measure have argued that this is used by the minority to delay and hold up bills that they don’t like.
The filibuster, however, is an imperative component of encouraging thoughtful debate within the Senate. It encourages our lawmakers to act with deliberation when creating policy, instead of a bare 51 majority being able to push through whatever legislation they want without regard for the other 49. Granted, the filibuster is technically not a built-in component of the Constitution, but rather a procedure the Senate itself decided to adopt; but such procedure is based upon the founding principle that calls for governments to act with deliberation, instead of relying on blind passion to force legislation without any regard for those who object.
Ending the filibuster will not serve as a remedy for the hyper-partisanship that bogs down Washington. Such a move would only allow a slim majority to circumvent such partisanship. Instead of slow and thoughtful debates on policy, we will have party majorities who will be more incentivized to ram their policy agenda down the throats of the opposition with little to no legislative discourse.
If the filibuster is successfully eliminated, the Democrats will most likely seek to reinstate it when they are once again reduced to a Senate minority. Nonetheless, Senator Manchin deserves credit where credit is due for his strong stance against stripping our nation of valuable safeguards that prevent tyranny of the majority.
Luke Lattanzi, Staff Writer and Contributor at American Pigeon