“The filibuster compels moderation and helps protect the country from wild swings between opposing policy poles,” U.S. Senator Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) wrote in the Washington Post last week. “To those who want to eliminate the legislative filibuster to empower federal agencies to better protect the environment or strengthen education: Would it be good for our country if we did, only to see federal agencies and programs shrunk, starved of resources, or abolished a few years from now?
Sinema is half-right: without the filibuster, there could be wild swings in favor of repealing progressive policies and restoring constitutional government.
From the first day of a constitutionalist president, the progressive administrative state would be comprehensively blocked. In one session of a constitutionalist-majority Congress, the progressive state would be fully repealed.
Sinema is wrong that these massive increases in freedom would be followed by wild swings back to progressive coercion.
Fact is, it has taken since 1894—127 years and counting—to build up the progressive state to its current mass.
Eliminating the progressive state would put tens of thousands of government employees out of work, so this would undoubtedly feel like a disaster to Sinema’s friends.
But it would return a substantial fraction of taxpayer dollars back to the people. Outside the D.C. and progressive media bubbles, such efforts would be wildly popular, to an extent that might catch many progressive politicians totally off guard.
The last time we managed to keep for ourselves a stimulus of this magnitude, first the American colonies’ people substantially outpaced the world-power England’s people in purchasing power. Next, the new nation’s people rapidly grew to become the world power ourselves.
Freedom brings good results fast, and good results are self-reinforcing. Freedoms were restored to various degrees in the nations of the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. In 25 years and counting, the restored freedom almost never fell back, even temporarily. What differed among these nations was only how fully various freedoms were restored, and how quickly.
Sinema is dead wrong to think that once we restored some freedom, we would swing, wildly, back to tyranny. It didn’t happen that way in America in the first place, it didn’t happen that way in the nations of the former Soviet Union, and it wouldn’t happen that way in America in the future.
Unfortunately, Sinema also is likely wrong that the progressive state might be abolished a few years from now, at least by her current Republican colleagues.
Examples abound, from Republican majorities’ failure to repeal Obamacare, to Republicans’ near-universal embracing of an obscure Juneteenth holiday that permanently rewards Progressives for the 2020-2021 jailbreaks and the Black Lives Matter/Antifa riots, destruction, attacks of nonblacks, and killings of nonblacks.
Even the five-year-average Conservative Review Liberty Scores show that among the Republican senators, the swing voter—Susan Collins of Maine—casts major votes on behalf of the Progressive state 88 percent of the time.
The current Republicans, who failed to repeal Obamacare, who embraced Juneteenth, and whose legislative votes are decided by Collins, wouldn’t even begin to abolish the progressive state, at least according to what clues we can glean from their abysmal track records. Abolishing the progressive state would take either new actions by Republicans newly threatened with reelection defeats, or new Republicans elected in their places.
Consider that Republican state legislators, all through the 2020 election, and even now, have done nothing effective to defend their constitutional duty to direct the manner of appointment of presidential electors. It would be one step up from this inaction, and another step up beyond that, for Republican state legislators to push back effectively against a progressive H.R.1/S.1 or H.R.4 statute that attempts to nationalize election law (right after 2020 election-safeguarding state laws were openly defied by state executives, state judges, and national judges).
But then, desperate times do call for desperate measures. Also, current legislators can be voted out of office.
Consider that a Republican president and Republican legislators, when most recently in power, tried to push through their own brand of Obamacare, ceded power to so-called “public health” bureaucrats who proceeded to disrupt the use of the existing antiviral medications hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin, and passed massive “stimulus” bills. It would be something new for a Republican president and Republican legislators to repeal and not replace Progressive orders adopting critical race theory racist socialism and green energy socialism, and a step far beyond that for these Republicans to also repeal long-standing progressive edifices.
Despite the majority-Progressive histories of current Republicans, Sinema is right to fear that an opposition could one day rise up.
In reality, the very thing that would push an opposition to rise up the fastest would be for the current opposition-in-name-only Republicans to be deprived of their go-to rationalization for not taking constitutional action: the filibuster.
Arguably, the filibuster is unconstitutional. It unconstitutionally treats 40 minority votes as equivalent to 60 majority votes. It unconstitutionally deprives vice presidents of their power to cast tie-breaking votes. It defies these rules in the Constitution, which is the nation’s supreme law, and elevates the Senate’s rules, which are inferior to the supreme law.
In practice, the filibuster ratchets into place the progressive state.
Constitutionalists should take every opportunity to eliminate this ratchet, and let the chips fall where they may in the near term. Freedom will rise back as strong as ever.