mark pryor

Senator Mark Pryor (D-AK) one of four Democrats at the center of a new gun reform campaign

Some gun control groups are thinking about targeting the four Democrats who voted against Toomey-Manchin background amendment. Sadly this move would just plays into the myth that is ruining democratic accountability in our country. It not only completely ignores the real problem, but makes it much worse.

The simple fact is even if every Senate Democrat voted for the amendment it would not have received 60 votes. The four reluctant Democrats didn’t prevent the amendment from winning approval in the Senate.

The senators that should truly be blame are the 51 Democrats who voted for the amendment but still haven’t voted to eliminate the filibuster. If the 51 Democrats who voted for the amendment really wanted to see it passed in the Senate, they could have passed it. They could have voted to eliminate the filibuster and than pass the bill with a simple majority vote like the Constitution specifies.

Senate Democrats have created many excuses for not reforming the filibuster but the biggest reason is the idea of plausible deniability. It allows them to pretend to support things that they know will fail to get 60 votes and the ability to blame Republicans. They can get credit for voting for things while also exploiting the threat of a filibuster only to let it fail without their finger prints on it.

Going after the reluctant Democrats will only reinforce the idea that senators can hide behind the filibuster. There are already enough votes in the Senate to pass a background check bill, if Senate Democrats were serious about governing. The ones that voted for it, but would rather let it die than change an idiotic Senate procedure, should be the ones force to defend their position.

Photo released under Public Domain