“Kyrsten Sinema sold us all out.”
“Kyrsten Sinema facilitates fascism!”
“Parents: make sure to give your children all the attention they need, so they don’t grow up to be Kyrsten Sinema.”
What did the maverick Arizona Democrat do to prompt this unhinged outrage? Simply take a stand for the filibuster, part of our system of checks and balances that keeps us free, a position that until quite recently was uncontroversial even among Democrats.
“The danger of eliminating the 60-vote threshold is that the Senate becomes the House,” Sinema said at an event earlier in the week. “And I remind everyone, I left the House and ran for the Senate for a reason.”
The senator made a compelling case for maintaining the Senate filibuster, which requires 60-votes to pass legislation instead of a bare majority, 50 votes.
“When Republicans are in control, they pass a little bit of crazy legislation,” she argued. “When Democrats are in control, they pass a little bit of crazy legislation. And the job of the Senate is to cool that passion.”
Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) says she's not only against abolishing the filibuster, she's for strengthening it: "The best thing you can do for your child is to not give them everything they want… We should restore the 60-vote threshold for areas in which it has been eliminated." pic.twitter.com/OR53ymuE4x
— Heartland Signal (@HeartlandSignal) September 26, 2022
“There’s a saying, the House is the cup of hot tea,” Sinema continued, “and the Senate is the saucer in which you cool that tea. The Senate was designed to be a place that moves slowly, to cool down those passions, to think more strategically and long-term.”
“The best thing you can do for your child is to not give them everything they want, right?” she asked. “And that’s important to the United States Senate as well. We shouldn’t get everything we want in the moment.”
Sinema even took it one step further. She went on to argue that not only should we preserve the Senate filibuster, we should restore it for the narrow areas where it has already been eroded, such as budget legislation and judicial nominations.
Suffice it to say these compelling, principled arguments did not go over well on the Left. They desperately want partisan priorities like abortion legislation, election overhauls, and gun control forced through Congress, and the filibuster is a barrier to those short-term objectives.
LMFAOOO, a new poll has found that Kyrsten Sinema is despised by Democrats, Independents, and Republicans all equally.
Finally, some unity. 😜
— BrooklynDad_Defiant!☮️ (@mmpadellan) September 24, 2022
Kyrsten Sinema said she supports “strengthening” the filibuster.
I support primarying Kyrsten Sinema.
— Jack Cocchiarella (@JDCocchiarella) September 27, 2022
6 weeks until the midterms, and Kyrsten Sinema is at an event with Mitch McConnell bragging about her ‘friendship’ with him.
Are you f*cking kidding me?
— Jo 🌻 (@JoJoFromJerz) September 26, 2022
Kyrsten Sinema is uniting this country. We can all agree she’s a dogshit Senator.
— Tim Hannan (@TimHannan) September 25, 2022
This social media hatestorm is completely unwarranted and utterly misguided.
For one, Sinema is right on the merits. The Senate filibuster is a crucial part of our system of checks and balances that prevents us from wildly see-sawing on major destabilizing policies every two years. It forces compromise, careful consideration, and bipartisanship before major overhauls do occur. And for many, many years, everyone from Barack Obama to Joe Biden could see this, and defended the filibuster robustly.
The senator deserves credit, not condemnation, for sticking to her guns on the issue.
The backlash is always just extremely short-sighted. If Democrats were to scrap the filibuster, they would very quickly live to regret it. In just a few years, when Republicans inevitably retake control, they would be able to usher in a nationwide abortion ban, universal gun rights legislation, huge cuts to social programs, or any number of other progressive nightmares. By undermining a check on the system in pursuit of short-term goals, Democrats would hamper not just the good of the country, but also their own interests in the long run.
We don’t have to ponder this as some hypothetical: it’s already happened.
Remember that Democrats were the ones to initially remove the filibuster for judicial nominations, in 2013 under Harry Reid. They soon lived to regret it.
“Back in 2013, frustrated by Senate Republicans’ blockade of then-President Barack Obama’s judicial nominees, Reid changed the filibuster rules to not apply to federal judgeships below the Supreme Court level,” CNN reports. “In the near term, the change allowed him (and Obama) to get a bunch of judges confirmed.”
“But, after Republicans took over the Senate, new leader Mitch McConnell announced he was getting rid of the filibuster on judges at the Supreme Court level too,” CNN continues. “Which, in turn, led to President Donald Trump nominating – and the Republican-led Senate confirming – three new Supreme Court justices over the past four years, judges who almost certainly would not have been able to make the previous 60-vote hurdle.”
The appointment of those judges is what ultimately culminated in the 2022 decision overturning Roe v. Wade.
It’s impossible to know for sure what would’ve happened in an alternate universe where the judicial filibuster had remained intact. But it seems quite likely that President Trump would’ve been forced to nominate more moderate justices who would not have gone on to entirely overturn Roe.
Yet Democrats just refuse to learn their lesson. So, they continue with their senseless campaign against the filibuster, and rail viciously against those few among them, like Kyrsten Sinema, who dare dissent. But if Democrats do ultimately erode the filibuster, history will vindicate Sinema’s position.