This Is Happening

This week from The Signal

Freedom Money
How Bitcoin could become a global liberation technology


Old Elite, New Story
Why exclusive private schools are taking up the language of social justice


The Last Confederate Monument
Is the death penalty on the way out in America?


Populist Nationalism After the Trump Show
Where does the American right go from here?


The 2022 U.S. Elections Are Happening Now

Why one Democratic senator could control the outcome

The Republican Party can almost certainly secure a majority in the the U.S. House of Representatives next year—and foil the Democratic Party’s agenda—because the Republicans hold majorities in the key state legislatures that will redraw the maps of each state’s congressional districts, a process that occurs every 10 years, after the U.S. census. Republican-controlled statehouses—in states such as Texas, Florida, Georgia, and North Carolina—can gerrymander congressional maps, drawing new district lines that will give Republican candidates for Congress far better chances. The Democrats have a chance to stop the Republicans from gerrymandering, if the Democrats can pass the For the People Act, which would require states to create independent commissions to draw congressional districts.

The problem is, the Democrats have only 50 senators in the Senate, not the 60 senators necessary to overcome the filibuster, a parliamentary procedure used to block most legislation that can’t get 60 votes. The Democrats can simply vote to abolish the filibuster or to exclude it for individual bills. But one Democratic senator, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, has repeatedly said that he will “never” vote to abolish the filibuster, and he said on Wednesday that he wanted bipartisan support for election-related legislation. Could Manchin’s devotion to the filibuster—a procedure historically used largely to keep Blacks from voting—hand control of the House to the Republicans in 2022?

According to Lee Drutman, a senior fellow in the Political Reform program at New America, a think tank in Washington, D.C., that possibility is yet another reason why getting rid of the filibuster is such an imperative for American democracy. The institution is an anachronism, and it’s hard to justify requiring a supermajority of 60 percent of senators to approve even the most mundane pieces of legislation. Drutman says that the U.S. political system regularly gets stuck in gridlock because of the exceptional number of ways in which bills can be vetoed, whether by the majority party in either chamber, the president, or in any number of judicial reviews—or by a minority of senators.

Read the article here.


Feature

The 2022 U.S. Elections Are Happening Now

Why one Democratic senator could control the outcome

After four years of the multiple-exclamation-point presidency of Donald Trump, many Americans are taking solace in the calm, familiar gravity of Joe Biden. Those appalled by Trump might feel heartened by his retreat to Florida and general absence from Twitter and the news. But the more than 74 million voters who wanted to keep him in power last November—close to 11 million more than any other Republican nominee in U.S. history—and the majority of Republican voters who say they want him to run again in 2024, aren’t going away.

What did Trump offer America that resonated so deeply with so many people?

Read the article here.


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