McConnell's "scorched-earth" filibuster threat needs to be tested for democracy's sake

Republicans are increasingly open about the cold logic of what they’re attempting: The harder it is for Democratic votes to count, the more likely Republicans are to win. Michael Carvin, a lawyer defending Arizona voting restrictions, recently responded to a question by the Supreme Court about voting access by saying: “It puts us at a competitive disadvantage relative to Democrats. Politics is a zero-sum game.”

So how do you solve this kind of zero-sum problem while maintaining a voting rule — the filibuster — that’s supposed to encourage compromise? Maybe you can’t. Maybe there are certain principles that are too important, too essential, to allow a minority to hold them hostage…

Hence the clear case for a democracy exemption from the filibuster. Democracy really is special. Without fair and equal standards for elections, no other compromise can be legitimate. Without voting rules that treat every voter equally, all other processes are built on sand. Bipartisanship may be a nice goal, but bipartisanship is irrelevant when democracy vanishes.

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