Democrats would be smart to protect the filibuster

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After Joe Manchin killed President Biden’s ambitious Build Back Better spending bill, some Senate Democrats have moved onto a plan to pass voting rights legislation by exempting the topic from the filibuster’s requirement of 60 votes. This is the wrong lesson to take from their legislative defeat, which actually shows why Democratic leaders have been wise to preserve the filibuster. Until maverick Democrats Joe Manchin and Krystin Sinema become reliable partisans, getting 50 votes for legislation will be almost as difficult as getting 60.

Democrats are rightfully frustrated by their inability to pass legislation. But their problems are rooted in the politics of 2020, not 1837, the year of the first Senate filibuster. Democrats cannot lose a single vote in the 50-50 Senate, yet Manchin and Sinema regularly break with the party on issues like rolling back the Trump tax cuts and…

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