Unity, bipartisanship and cooperation are all things our country desperately needs right now. However, if Senate Democrats eliminate the filibuster, achieving these goals will be impossible, and we will only be divided further.
The filibuster is a long-standing institution in Congress used to foster bipartisanship and give each state, no matter how big or small, a seat at the table. Some Senate Democrats want to eliminate the rule so that their party will be able to advance legislation such as the Green New Deal without bipartisan consensus. However, removing the filibuster would set a dangerous precedent for the future of politics as we know it.
Being able to seamlessly pass legislation sounds great — as long as your party is the one holding the power. As our country’s political history shows us, power shifts from one party to the other quite frequently. In our ever-present political game of “hot potato,” with a different party taking control every few years, a free pass for each party to pass partisan legislation whenever they’re in control will only fuel turbulence, revenge politics and a deeper partisan split down the aisle.
Luckily, some Senate Democrats recognize the benefits of the filibuster, such as Arizona’s own Sen. Kyrsten Sinema. She and Sen. Joe Manchin have been vocal in their opposition to efforts that would weaken or remove the filibuster, as doing so would be detrimental to bipartisanship amongst lawmakers. By standing up for the filibuster, Sen. Sinema is standing up for the institution of the Senate and walking the walk on bipartisanship.
We learn from each other and discover new ideas by listening to one another. Simply blocking the other side is not the answer for either party’s goals, and removing the filibuster would do just that. The filibuster is a vehicle for conversation and cooperation across party lines and serves to provoke meaningful legislation that betters our country as a whole. Sen. Sinema even said herself that the Senate’s job is “to craft bipartisan solutions to solve the challenges we face in our country.”
In a time when our political parties seem more divided than ever before, we in Arizona are thankful that Sen. Sinema is standing up for democracy by choosing to protect the filibuster. Sen. Sinema has always prided herself on listening to both sides of every argument and respecting the wishes of her constituents. By protecting the filibuster, she’s ensuring that everyone continues to have their voice heard in Congress.
Removing the rules and institutions that have directed our political processes for decades is not the solution to getting an agenda passed.
State Sen. T.J. Shope, R-Coolidge, represents Legislative District 8.