Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., announced this week she would support efforts to end the legislative filibuster, arguing that it’s racist.
“The filibuster has deep roots in racism, and it should not be permitted to serve that function or to create a veto for the minority,” Warren told Axios. “In a democracy, it’s majority rules.”
The claims flew only two months since Democrats retook the Senate majority in the evenly-divided chamber, following years in which the filibuster’s use hit “historic highs” during the Trump presidency, according to Politico.
The legislative stall-tactic requires 60 votes to overturn, which means it stands in the way of the Biden administration’s most radical policies, forcing them instead to seek compromise with Republican colleagues.
But Warren—herself accused of racism for having falsely appropriated Native American culture to advance her career— argued the legislative filibuster was only created to allow “the South the ability to veto any effective civil rights legislation or anti lynching legislation.”
Indeed, Democrats—including then-Sen. Al Gore Sr., D-Tenn.—notoriously used it for that purpose during the mid-20th century as Republicans strove to pass the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Warren isn’t the only Democrat trying to invoke the race card in the Left’s effort to drum up support for ending the filibuster.
Several others appeared to have gotten the talking-points memo as Democrats plot to secure permanent majorities through a controversial election overhaul package, HR1, which the House already passed on a party-line vote.
• Rep. Hank Johnson, D-Ga., said the filibuster was a means of oppression, specifically against black Americans.
“It’s important that we not continue to allow the filibuster to be a tool used to suppress the right to vote, that black people have fought and died for,” Johnson told Axios.
• Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., argued the filibuster is “rooted in a racist past, and it’s used today as a way of blocking the progressive agenda.”
• Rep. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, claimed the filibuster “has historically been used to block civil rights,” calling it the “Jim Crow filibuster.”
However, Democrats don’t have enough support to overturn the filibuster just yet.
Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., said he won’t support efforts to eliminate it.
“I’m still at 60 [votes],” he told CNN on Wednesday. “That’s where I’m at. I haven’t changed.”
But Manchin did hint at possible reforms—including a reversion back to the “talking” filibuster required under Senate rules during Democrats’ historic attempts to block civil rights.