Senate Democrats: The Front Lines

Author: Brennan E. Wells;

Yes, Donald J. Trump is the 45th President. Yes, both houses of Congress are controlled by the Grand Old Party. Yet all hope is not lost and never really was. Even before the results of the 2016 election came back, the number of seats in the United States Senate that were up for reelection would not allow for the GOP to break through to a sixty member super majority. The 2/3 super-majority or sixty votes in the Senate are of supreme importance, because without sixty members of one party controlling the majority in the U.S. Senate cloture cannot be invoked.

One significant difference between the House of Representatives (House) and the Senate is the time granted for members of Congress to speak. Since the House has by far more members, speaking time is constrained for that reason. In contrast, the Senate has only 100 and allows its members to speak without end. Only if a cloture vote is agreed upon by the Senate does debate come to a halt. Cloture is a U.S. Senate procedure by which, a vote is brought to the floor of the Senate to determine if debate shall come to an end. Cloture is agreed upon by a 2/3 majority. In the Senate that 2/3 majority is 60 members.

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This is important to keep in mind as the Trump administration begins its legislative agenda because if Republican members of the Senate want policies to reach the desk of President Trump, Republicans will either have to do their best to avoid a filibuster by Democrats or persuade enough Democrats to agree with them to reach the 60 vote threshold.

As it currently stands, Democrats are dead set on feeding back the Grand Old Party the same dose of “medicine” they administered to Democrats under the Obama administration, which amounts to obstructionist politics. Meaning, that Democrats will oppose most if not all of what President Trump has in store for America by way of filibustering. At the time of this writing, mass protests have taken place throughout this country, as well as, overseas in London and Rome. But Americans would be wise to remember the filibuster measure Senate Democrats have in their toolkit.This measure may prove to be just as powerful as those very same protests. How willing are Senate Democrats to engage in this brand of obstructionism? This is a question I do not yet have the answer to, so I advise Americans opposed to the new administration to follow the politics closely and become strategic about what policies we ask of our Senators to filibuster.

But I say again, that all hope is not lost and never was lost. For 2018 is just around the corner and now is the time to gather those willing to run for office and offer support. Now is the time gather those willing to support candidates and prepare them for the political battle ahead. Democrats may be in the minority in, Congress, States Houses, and in Governor’s mansions across the land, but never discount what a small minority can accomplish when they are dedicated to a goal undergirded by a purpose.

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