60 is the New 51: Republicans Win Forever in the Senate

It happened again today. The Washington Post says the Democrats lost in the US Senate because they were “unable to muster the 60 votes needed.” As a result, states won’t get help paying for Medicaid, long term unemployed won’t get relief, and hedge fund managers will continue to enjoy their $35 billion loophole that could have helped pay for it.

More frightening than the substance is the process, and the reporting of it. Republicans have been so successful in their obstruction — filibustering everything — that 60 votes is now reported as if it were “needed.”

Let’s be clear. 60 votes are not “needed.” 60 votes are extraordinary.

In 2008, we exhaustively documented how record-breaking Republican obstruction was paralyzing the Senate. For a short time, the media reported it as obstruction.

But no more. Today the Washington post describes 60 votes as “needed.” Last week the Associated Press reported that Senate sponsors of a climate and energy bill are “still short of the 60 votes they need to advance the legislation.”

So it goes. 60 is the new 51. A majority is no longer enough. The Republican minority has amended the constitution.

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