About this episode:
The filibuster is one of the better-known bits of procedure in the Senate. It might conjure images of politicians droning on for hours, or simply partisan gridlock, but the rule has an insidious, racial history. Senators have used it as a tool to block civil rights legislation since the later part of the 18th century.
But this history isn’t confined to the past. Today, the threat of a filibuster is colliding with a fight over the future of voting rights, as Republicans vow to block a bill called H.R. 1, which expands voting protections for Black folks and other minorities.
There are growing calls to reform or even abolish the filibuster. But Republicans, and a few Democrats, won’t let go of the filibuster without a fight. Host Trymaine Lee talks with New Yorker staff writer Jelani Cobb about how the filibuster has been weaponized and racialized over time and asks whether American Democracy might be better off without it.
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Find the transcript here.