In a new opinion piece for USA Today, Rep. Val Demings (D-Fla.) — who is running for Senate in her home state of Florida — came out rhetorically swinging against the filibuster, dismantling some of the shoddy arguments in favor of keeping that procedure in place in the Senate. At present, filibuster rules in the Senate demand the agreement of at least 60 Senators in the 100-member chamber before moving forward, including to a final vote, on most bills. This procedural requirement, which supporters have touted for its supposed ability to force bipartisanship, allows members of the minority party in the Senate the chance to stop progress, no matter if a majority of the people’s representatives in the chamber are in favor of it.
Rep. Val Demings: Voters didn't elect us to do nothing and blame the Senate filibuster. Get rid of it. https://t.co/BZ0I0EjFVW
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) June 30, 2021
Supporters of the filibuster in the Senate have included Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), although other, less vocal Senate Democrats could very well have their own serious reservations about going after the procedure. Recently, Sinema argued that eliminating the filibuster in order to pass progressive measures like voting rights protections could be essentially pointless in the event of Republicans regaining legislative control and passing something to undo those steps forward. Demings directly responded to this argument in her new article. As she put it, “It’s true that, perhaps, the other party will take power, and perhaps they will pass legislation that I believe would be bad for middle class families across our nation. But that’s how a democracy works.”
Demings added as follows:
‘[When] we allow a political faction to block critical legislation, it takes away that voice from the voters. No matter your political party, you should know that when you win a free and fair election, your representatives can govern… Our challenges are great. But our ability to rise to those challenges is equally great. The solution to all our problems is more democracy, not less. More voting rights, more support for working families, more liberty and justice for all. Empower the people. Allow their representatives to work on their behalf. Trust in government of the people, by the people, for the people. When we embrace our heritage and our potential as a free people, we can accomplish anything – and we should do it with the majority. In the Senate, that’s 51 votes.’
Demings is running in — and currently the apparent favorite to win — the Democratic Senate primary in Florida, after which she is hoping to unseat Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.). While Donald Trump won Florida in 2016 and 2020, recent statewide elections have been close. Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis originally won in 2018 by a little over 32,000 votes out of over 8.2 million cast. When Rubio was first elected, his two main challengers, including then-independent Charlie Crist and Democrat Kendrick Meek, together earned more votes than he did. The problem was that the non-Rubio vote was split.