In the past election, Obama won the election, Carl Rove freaked out on live television because the hacker group Anonymous prevented his computers from stealing the election again.. and the Republicans had to retreat with their tail between their legs..
Actually.. that’s not true.. even though they lost the election and remain a minority in the Senate, the Republicans are using an antiquated rule called the filibuster, to effectively shut down the government down unless the winning party, the Democrats give them everything they want. What? That doesn’t sound right, right?
And as a response, the Democrats are threatening to invoke the Nuclear Option to assure that they can govern as they were elected to.
Filibuster? Nuclear Option? What the hell is going on here?
The filibuster is a tool used by Senators to seize control of the Senate if they don’t want a law enacted.
Some people mistakenly think that it was created to PROTECT the Minority but this can’t be further from the truth.. in fact.. the Filibuster was created by mistake!
Let me explain.
In the early days of the Senate, the simple Majority ruled.
Then one day in 1805, Vice President Aaron Burr, fresh off of killing Founding Father Alexander Hamilton in a duel, decided to get rid of rules in the Senate that he thought were useless. And one such “useless” rule that was eliminated was the Previous Question rule that simply allowed the majority of senators to move on to the next topic if the previous topic seemed to be going nowhere.
Seems pretty innocuous, right?
Well.. no.. in fact, once they eliminated this rule, they suddenly realized that they no longer had the power to stop a Senator from speaking at the podium forever.
Thus the Filibuster was born!
And it’s been used to stop such legislation as Anti-Lynching laws and the Civil Rights act.
And more recently, it’s been used by the minority of Republican senators, to shut our government down, unless they get everything they want. Which doesn’t seem very democratic right?
Which is where the Nuclear Option comes in. On the first day of session, the Senate has the right to change its rules by a simple majority.. which means that they can do away with the Filibuster and return the Senate back to simple majority rule.. which is what it was meant to be in the first place.
So.. what now that you know that the Filibuster was created by mistake, what do you think about this whole Nuclear Option?