There are 100 senators in the United States.
The math doesn’t have to be as simple as the House does, which is where an overwhelming majority of the House rules. Very little The Senate is complicated. Cloture rules mean that you must have 60 votes in order to prevent a filibuster from being imposed on a number of items. Other times, a mere 50–50 tie is good enough—as long as you’ve got the vice president on your side to cast the tie-breaking vote.
You can’t pass legislation with only 48 senators to your support and 52 votes against. There are also 100 United States Senators.
These facts are essential for any member of the most important legislative body in America. So when Sen. Bernie Sanders (I–Vt.Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who has been a senator since 2007, suggested that 48 people are preventing the others from getting the things they want. He’s not just displaying a lack in basic math skills, which, considering Sanders’ position as head of the Budget Committee might help explain much about America’s fiscal condition.
He is also stating that he has no idea how democracy works. He even said that he doesn’t understand how democracy works. ThisAlthough it wouldn’t seem so awful if Sanders were an engineer or professor, it is still a disturbing fact that Sanders is one of those people who some Americans choose to represent in democratic government.
Sanders maintains this. It was tweeted last week by Sanders:
Two senators can’t defeat 48 senators or 210 House members. It is our duty to stand by the country’s working families. Climate change must be stopped. The Infrastructure Bill must be renegotiated before it can be passed.
— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) October 1, 2021
On Wednesday, he repeated it once more. He accused “two senators” again of trying “sabotage” the bill.
RECONCILIATION. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), says it is “not fair” that two Senators “sabotage” a bill every member of the Democratic Party wants. However, he admits that they might want to negotiate some aspects. pic.twitter.com/YIAgL32h8A
— Forbes (@Forbes) October 6, 2021
Each case has the two people standing against Sanders’ distorted version of democracy: Sens. Joe Manchin (D–W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D–Ariz.). Due to concern about America’s massive national debt, and the disparity between the amount the government receives in tax revenue and how much it spends on its spending, the senators have publicly resisted supporting the $3.5 trillion spending spree.
Sinema and Manchin may not agree to support the package. However, 48 senators would still be able to pass the reconciliation bill. The 52 senators opposed to what 48 want would make it 53.
Of course, Sanders is aware of this. However, the persistent attempts to portray opposition to reconciliation bills as an anti-democratic plot against rightful majority is quite telling on several levels.
For one, it says something about how the progressive wing of the Democratic Party—for which Sanders is an apt avatar—views its ascendant position within the party and Congress and a whole. While it is true that the progressives don’t have as much control over Washington’s policymaking for decades, they are using this opportunity to push a bill which would forever increase power and costs of the federal governments in many ways. While President Joe Biden has not been a big proponent of change, but he also knows the weather and can make accurate predictions about the direction of the winds, he has made a comparison between the reconciliation bill and the New Deal, which are the two most significant expansions of entitlement state by Democrats.
Progressives are clear in their message: We’re shopping, get in, losers. Or, as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D–N.Y.) It was this way that I stated it earlier this week.
— Lawrence B. Jones III (@LawrenceBJones3) October 2, 2021
Sinema, Manchin, and Sinema remain in the progressives’ crosshairs because they refuse to follow their plan. The filibuster could not solve the problem.
It’s that easy. Sinema and Manchin are equally valid and valuable votes. But they have suggested that perhaps someone needs to be concerned with the spiraling national debt. To do that they have to be exposed. As Ari Melber of MSNBC suggested, they are not only anti-Democratic, but also anti-democratic.
“Look at the Senators who are making these decisions here… Manchin, less than one percent of the U.S. is what he represents. Sinema, just about two percent… and yet they hold all the power right now,” @AriMelberOn the clash in Congress pic.twitter.com/yP6jpyRPUW
— The Beat with Ari Melber on MSNBC ???? @TheBeatWithAri September 30, 2021
These numbers should shock you. But just keep doing the math. You should remember that 100 senators are involved in the debate. Each senator is not equal in population but the 0.5 percent to 2.1 percent ratios aren’t wildly disproportional. Melber actually says Sinema is a representative of More People who are more diverse than the average senator. For that matter, Sanders represents significantly fewer people than either Manchin or Sinema, but somehow his vote is never considered illegitimate simply because he represents the country’s second-least-populous state.
If progressives have a problem with the fundamental structure of the Senate—and some of them certainly do—then that’s an entirely different argument. The Senate’s design is not democratic. The Senate is different from the proportional House of Representatives to protect against “fickleness, passion”, as James Madison stated.
What if the reconciliation bill was passed in a more democratic style? It is impossible to know. Arguments that the Senate’s structure is a problem are tantamount, however, to saying that progressives’ preferred policy choices cannot be implemented in the American democratic system. You guys, it’s weird flex.
Even in a new system, it is still true that 48 per cent of legislative bodies cannot act against 52 percent.
When Democrats talked a lot earlier in the year about ending the filibuster, they also spoke a lot (sometimes very valuable) about how important it was to protect American democracy against an ever more illiberal political left. This is a good thing and necessary. It is urgent that the counterbalance party, which will protect democracy from being overthrown by populists and those who seek to undermine democracy in America, is formed if one of America’s most powerful political parties becomes a puppet of authoritarians.
Some of Sanders’ actions right now are so disconcerting. There are some right-wing windbags might fantasizeSanders proposes to abolish America’s representative government. However, Sanders literally says that 48 senators should have the power to pass legislation over 52 opposition. It’s not enough.
However, Sanders and his progressive supporters are not the greatest threat to American democracy. Right-leaning authoritarianism is roiling. a deeper, more profound concernIt is. But if Democrats are going to be the party that defends liberal institutions, they should not be dismissing the basic math of democracy—not even rhetorically. This shouldn’t be a difficult hurdle to overcome!
Each member of the United States Senate consists of 100. The show is not run by forty-eight.