“’There is no third option,’ reads the letter, which is organized by Fix Our Senate and includes groups such as MoveOn, the Communications Workers of America, Common Cause, Indivisible, Stand Up America and Battle Born Collective.”
“Jentleson, Reid’s former deputy chief of staff, is an author and an advocate for abolishing the Senate filibuster; he and Katz, formerly Reid’s communications director, run Battle Born Collective, a progressive messaging shop.”
Democrats grapple with the enemy within: What to do about the filibuster rule that could kill their agenda
“I 100 percent believe that the fate of the Democrat Party in the foreseeable future is in the balance,” said Adam Jentleson, former senator Harry M. Reid’s deputy chief of staff and author of “Kill Switch,” in which he proposes that a bill should be able to pass with a simple majority vote, not 60 votes in the 100-member Senate, as can now happen due to the filibuster.
“The strongest defenses tend to emphasize that it’s a long-standing tradition and has a history of promoting bipartisanship,” Jentleson told me, adding that the “low level of awareness” of those folk theories means the coming P.R. battle is “much more of a jump ball situation.”
President Biden made major commitments to the American people rooted in his core promise to “restore the soul of the nation.” One hundred days into his administration, with unified Democratic control of Congress, strides have been made toward erasing the stain of the previous administration and setting the country on a different path. Regarding COVID-19, the administration’s actions on distributing and administering the vaccines are particularly laudable. Additionally, the American Rescue Plan was an important step toward stabilizing the country, and we applaud the administration for prioritizing its passage and not capitulating to Republican demands for insufficient relief.
“We would not be in a moment where we are even talking about the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act without grassroots efforts, without Black Lives Matter, without all of the individuals who took to the streets last summer,” said Tré Easton, a former Senate staffer working with the progressive group Battle Born Collective.
As Adam Jentleson points out, many civil-rights bills that were blocked by the the filibuster had enjoyed overwhelming public support: In 1941, 63 percent of the American public favored ending the poll tax. In 1937, 72 percent supported anti-lynching laws.
“I think it has played an enormous role in protecting the filibuster because it portrayed it in a favorable light,” says Adam Jentleson, the author of Kill Switch: The Rise of the Modern Senate and former deputy chief of staff to Senator Harry Reid. He says that the movie comes up in just about every interview he does and “a big part of the current debate is, ’This is not what the filibuster is anymore.’”
Jentleson, who wrote “Kill Switch,” a book about the filibuster as a “crippling” force, described Democratic senators as a “lagging indicator” of where the party is heading and predicted that eventually they will fold amid intense pressure from their own supporters.