|You already know that our democracy is broken and that it didn’t get that way by accident — but we have a plan to fix it.
In this email, we’re going to lay out one of our democracy reform priorities for 2021: eliminating the filibuster. We know that a lot of folks are worried about abolishing the filibuster, but please hear us out. And as always — feel free to email back with your thoughts!
A quick reminder: the filibuster isn’t our only priority in the coming year. We’re working on lots of things, from impeachment to gun violence prevention to immigration. If you don’t have time to read an in-depth policy outline of what we’re doing on the filibuster and why, but still want to help out, please consider making a $5 or more donation to Indivisible Project to advance progressive priorities on every front! We’ll ask you once more at the end, once we’ve made our case for eliminating the filibuster.
It’s January 2021. We saw record turnout in the 2020 election, from the presidential race on down. We’ve protected the Democratic majority in the House and won back the Senate and White House — you can pick which of the amazing Democratic candidates you’ll imagine sitting in the Oval Office!
Our newly elected leaders have a narrow post-election window of opportunity to enact progressive legislation, including major structural reforms that will finally get our democracy working for the people. That means things like health care, the Green New Deal, voting rights expansion, immigration and human rights, fair election maps, gun violence prevention, and every issue you care about. These ideas are popular and should be achievable.
But wait: the picture isn’t quite as rosy as it looks. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (ha!) waves his hand and says one magic word, and suddenly all of our legislation is stopped in its tracks.
What’s the magic word?
The filibuster is a Senate rule that lets the minority in the Senate block the majority from passing most legislation. It’s by its very nature undemocratic: it means that in the United State Senate, majority doesn’t rule.
Quick history lesson (if you want more detail, check out this Vox video!):
- The filibuster is not written into the Constitution. It’s just a Senate rule, created in its current iteration in 1975, that can be changed like any other Senate rule.
- Filibusters used to be incredibly rare. Up until the mid-1900’s filibusters were a rarely used tool. That’s until…
- In the Civil Rights era, conservatives used the filibuster to block major civil rights legislation. We’re talking about the Civil Rights Act, the Dyer Anti-lynching bill and other incredibly important pieces of legislation.
- Since then, conservatives have learned that the filibuster gets them what they want. Mitch McConnell used it as a cudgel to stop or weaken nearly every piece of progressive legislation that President Obama tried to pass.
We know that when lots of people think about the filibuster, they think of Mr. Smith Goes to Washington: someone standing up and talking for hours and hours to defend their principles. But nowadays, obstructionists don’t have to actually talk to filibuster legislation. All they have to do is say they’re going to, and the legislation dies. And the GOP uses it every chance they get.
That’s what Mitch McConnell meant when he said he’d be a “grim reaper” for progressive legislation. He’s planning to wave his filibuster wand and stop everything we’ve worked for, day after day after day. Remember Merrick Garland? Imagine two years of that for everything.
Like we said up above: the filibuster is not in the Constitution. We can get rid of it! And we have to if we want to pursue big change for this country in 2021 and beyond. It’s the only way to pass legislation on a simple majority vote.
That’s why we’re launching our FiliBUSTED campaign. We need to start getting our 2020 candidates on the record in support of abolishing the filibuster when they take office in 2021, so we can hit the ground running for the people as soon as possible.
We’ll be rolling out more specific actions in the coming weeks and months, but here’s a broad overview of what we’re working on and asking you to help with:
- Getting Senate and presidential candidates to commit to eliminating the filibuster to advance progressive policies in 2021.
- Getting current Democratic Senators to commit to voting to eliminate the filibuster to push forward progressive legislation.
- Pushing back on Members of Congress and 2020 candidates who publicly oppose getting rid of the filibuster.
- Showing up to town halls and public events to make it clear that there is broad public support for getting rid of the filibuster!
Here’s where we ask for money
So here’s where we make our pitch: Eliminating the filibuster is one part of our massive plan to save democracy and advance a progressive vision of the future (no pressure, right?) We hope you can tell from messages like this how much time, strategy, and thought go into all of the work we ask you to do. But it can be a little harder to picture the costs associated with it, so here’s a quick look:
Costs: We will pay over $60,000 this year for our video platform. We’ll pay nearly $100,000 for the email tool that gets events and actions in front of supporters like you. Little costs like access to photo editing tools and printer paper add up fast. And we make sure we live our values and pay Indivisible staff real living wages. All of those things mean that we really do need to hit our goals each month. This month, our Indivisible Action goal is about $154,000, and we’re two-thirds of the way to it as of now.
Timeline: We’re not in a be-all-end-all financial crunch. But the plain truth is that if we miss a goal in one month, we’re behind going into the next, and just like expenses, missing by a little every month adds up to a lot over time. That’s why even though we know it’s summer, and the news may seem a little slow, we really need you to donate TODAY, not put it off.
So please, if you’re all in to stop the filibuster, or even if you’re not 100% sold on this but you believe in what we’re trying to do on other major issues, donate $5 or more today to fund Indivisible Action and invest in a progressive future:
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We’ll be getting back to you with more information about the filibuster and our entire democracy reform plan in the coming weeks. In the short term though, we hope this has given you a taste of what we’re up to and why, and that you’ll chip in to support it. And if you happen to be in a room with a presidential candidate — go ahead and ask ‘em how they’re planning to get legislation past the filibuster. We’re counting on you to get them on the record!
– The Indivisible Democracy Team