End the Filibuster:

How a Relic of Jim Crow Could Block Our Progressive Agenda

Imagine this: you and your team have played nearly 40 official games, clocked somewhere between 1400 to1600 minutes of refereed ball time, and countless hours of practice. At the sound of the buzzer of the championship game in the NCAA tournament, your team is ahead by 1 point. Victory is yours! Your entire collegiate career for the last 4 years has led you to earning this moment. You are the official winner of the NCAA title. BUT—and this is a huge but—by some obscure rule that is a relic of days gone by used to help smaller schools make it to March Madness, the governing body of the NCAA announces that you and your teammates cannot walk away with the trophy because unfortunately winning by 1 point is insufficient; you needed to win by 10.

If you are an athlete, a sports fanatic, or simply a person with a moral compass, a ruling like this confuses you, to say the least. Well, unfortunately, there’s more fairness and justice in college sports than there is in American politics. Despite Democrats winning the U.S. Senate after Black and Brown voters delivered first the presidency and then Georgia,1 Republicans are relying on an antiquated and convoluted rule— the filibuster—to deny the majority party the right to govern over the next 2 years. They demand Democrats should have won by 10 votes (a supermajority of 60) as opposed to 1 vote (a majority of 51) in order to advance legislation in the Senate.

And Black and Brown Americans, as always, are bearing the brunt of this distortion in our democracy. The filibuster is a racist remnant of a Senate designed to entrench white minority rule. It actively stifles the legislative process, and throughout history has been used to protect racial terror, like lynchings, and prevent progress on civil rights legislation and other issues Black and Brown communities care about. In obstructing legislation that would advance racial and economic justice, the filibuster also undermines organizing, democratic participation, and electoral victories fueled by Black and Brown communities.

This brief breaks down what the filibuster is, examines its roots in white supremacy, and explains how, unless we get rid of it, the filibuster will continue to thwart progress on the issues our communities care most about.