The Corner

Politics & Policy

Misunderstanding the Filibuster

Senator Joe Manchin (D., W. Va.) doesn’t want to abolish the filibuster, but he does want to “make it a little bit more painful.” It’s a recurring idea that bringing back the old-timey talking filibuster would impose some discipline on the practice, thus respecting minority rights while facilitating majority rule. But I think Jonathan Bernstein gets this right: “The truth is simple: The Senate switched from talking filibusters to the current silent version because it’s better for the majority party. Bringing back talking filibusters to punish the minority gets it backward.”

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

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