Editor, Casa Grande Dispatch:
After reading Sen. Shope’s inspired defense of the U.S. Senate’s filibuster rule (Casa Grande Dispatch May 22), I am hopeful he will soon introduce a filibuster rule for the Arizona Senate.
But why would Sen. Shope want to do that when the Arizona Senate operates on majority rule and Republicans have been in the majority and passing bills on party-line votes since Mr. Shope was a toddler?
First, Shope believes a filibuster would encourage unity, bipartisanship and cooperation. All good. Also he says, “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.” Also good. We could sure use some of that in the Arizona Legislature.
Shope knows the filibuster as it is used today in Washington is a minority tool for blocking the majority agenda. He also knows it would work the same way in Arizona, and he is good with the idea of majority rule, so he would never consider a filibuster rule here as long as Republicans are in the majority. Darn.
Sen. Shope applauds Democratic Sen. Sinema for standing up for democracy by protecting the filibuster and the minority voice in the U.S. Senate. The minority voice is protected by its ability to speak, not by its ability to gain the power of an elected majority through invoking a Senate rule. Majority status is won through election, not through Senate rules.
As long as the filibuster remains, the Senate minority has no incentive to seek unity, bipartisanship or cooperation. It gets what it wants by throttling the majority voice. Sen. Sinema can better serve democracy by voting to remove the filibuster so the Democratic agenda approved by a majority of Americans can go forward.