Republican Senator Tim Scott pulled no punches in decrying the Democrats’ tactics in trying to eliminate the filibuster. He accused them of flip-flopping on the filibuster and using race as a “scare tactic” by claiming the practice is rooted in racism.
“Here’s what we know about the Democrats,” Scott said. “They were for the filibuster before they were against the filibuster. I keep asking myself, ‘Will the real Chuck Schumer please stand up?’ Is it the one who was for the filibuster or is it the new one who is now against filibuster?”
Indeed, Democrats filibustered Scott’s widely praised police reform bill last year that would have mostly helped black people. But that’s no surprise.
Scott added that Democrats “use the word ‘racist’ whenever they are trying to scare people into their corner. It has nothing to do with race. But they don’t care. Winning at all costs means losing at some point.”
Turning to House Democrats’ massive election reform bill, the For The People Act, Scott said “every single part” of the measure “is designed to maintain power at all costs … even if they have to do things that are unethical.”
“[H.R. 1] eliminates all voter ID laws. They are going to allow for ballot harvesting to become the law of the land,” he said. “Legalized ballot harvesting, taxpayer-funded campaigns and prohibition of state voter ID laws should be a big, loud ‘fraud alert.'”
But in order to pass the bill, Democrats have to get rid of the filibuster. And the way they’re going about trying to do that is cynically dishonest.
There’s no doubt the filibuster was used to block some civil rights legislation in the 1950s and 60s. Of course, Democrats forget to mention that it was Democrats in the Senate who filibustered these bills.
But the tactic has been used hundreds of times. It’s been used to block appropriations bills, military spending bills, judges, cabinet nominations, ambassadors — any issue that has come before the Senate in the last 175 years that has been overly controversial.
To claim that the filibuster is “racist” is a strawman argument. It cherry-picks instances where it was used to block civil rights legislation and ignores the hundreds of other times it was used to prevent measures from reaching the Senate floor.
A historian against the filibuster inadvertently proves that point.
Of the 40 filibusters that took place in the Senate from 1837 to 1917 (when the cloture rule was established), at least 10 directly addressed racial issues. The use of filibusters to block Black political rights significantly expanded during the 20th century, as civil rights activists across the country fought to introduce legislation to empower Black Americans and white senators turned to the filibuster as one method to block their efforts. This continued through a series of coordinated filibusters from the post-World War I era to the advent of the modern civil rights movement.
Ten out of 40 times the practice was used is 25 percent. That means 75 percent of the time, the filibuster was not used to black racial progress. How can you make the argument that the practice itself is “racist” when it was used so many times to block bills that had nothing to do with race?
Everything can’t be seen through the prism of race and racism. You’d be able to make the argument that chocolate ice cream is racist using that logic. This paranoid obsession with race by the Democrats must end. But as long as they profit politically from their obsession, it will continue.