That the filibuster is an inherently racist tool, a relic of Jim Crow, is an odd position for Democrats to take given that just yesterday, they used the filibuster to block legislation proposed by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX). Indeed, Sen. Cruz’s bill not only attracted the votes of forty-nine out of fifty Republican Senators (the only exception was Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY)), but also six Democratic Senators who face close races in 2022 and/or are from purple states: Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Catherine Cortez-Masto (D-NV), Mark Kelly (D-AZ), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Maggie Hassan (D-NH) and Raphael Warnock (D-GA). That meant that Cruz had 55 votes for his bill — a clear majority. So why did it not pass? Because Senate Democrats invoked the racist Jim Crow relic in order to refuse to allow a vote on that bill unless it first attained 60 votes to close the debate. In other words, Democrats — on Thursday— used the filibuster to block Cruz’s bill despite its having the support of the majority of the Senate.
What makes the Democrats’ conduct here even more notable is the substance of Cruz’s bill that they blocked with the filibuster. Cruz sought to impose sanctions on the Russian pipeline company Nord Stream 2, which is constructing the pipeline that will allow Moscow to sell large amounts of cheap natural gas to Germany and to Europe more broadly. There are few more pressing priorities for the Kremlin, if there are any, than construction of this pipeline. So by blocking Cruz’s bill, Democrats not only used a racist filibuster, but they did so in order to protect Vladimir Putin and a vital Russian company from sanctions.