Ending the filibuster won’t fix the Senate’s dysfunction

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The 1980 election was an important signpost. Ronald Reagan swept into office on a tide of conservatism, bringing Republican Senate candidates with him. The GOP took control of the Senate for the first time in 28 years — ending the longest dominance of the chamber by one party in American history. In all, the Republicans gained 12 seats, and many of the liberal lions of the Senate, such as Frank Church (D-Idaho) and George McGovern (D-S.D.), lost. Significantly, arch-conservative Republicans such as Steve Symms (R-Idaho) and Jeremiah Denton (R-Ala.) supplanted them. The chairmanships of major committees shifted to conservatives such as Jesse Helms (R-N.C.), Strom Thurmond (R-S.C.) and Barry Goldwater (R-Ariz.).

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