The New York Times editorial board has acknowledged that there is clearly a serious problem with the rules currently governing the Senate and has called for modest reform. Yet, despite calling for reform, the New York Times, for some reason, has a problem with the democratic principle of majority rule that governs almost every other free and open democracy. From the New York Times:
A filibuster — the catchall term for delaying or blocking a majority vote on a bill by lengthy debate or other procedures — remains a valuable tool for ensuring that a minority of senators cannot be steamrollered into silence. No one is talking about ending the practice.
This is frankly a ridiculous sentiment. Allowing the duly elected majority to pass the legislation it was elected to enact is a foundational principle of democracy. That is the way it works in our House of Representatives, the UK House of Commons, the Parliament of Norway and almost every other democracy’s national legislative chamber. Eliminating the filibuster would simply have the Senate function like almost every other democratic legislative chamber in our country and around the world.
I fail to see how having a bill winning the support of a majority of members elected to the House, then having the same bill win only a majority votes from the elected members of the Senate, then having it not vetoed by the President and finally having it upheld as constitutional by the courts can be seen by anyone as a legislative steamroller.
It is amazing that ending the filibuster is somehow too radical for the New York Times. All ending the filibuster would do is simply return the Senate to the majority-rule chamber the founders clearly intended when they drafted the Constitution. The filibuster wasn’t even allowed by the original Senate rules and only developed later, accidentally, due to a failure to adopt a rule allowing for a motion to end debate.