August 14, 2019

Sam Stein asked Sen. Michael Bennet why he thinks Harry Reid is wrong about eliminating the legislative filibuster.

"Why is he wrong? Wouldn't you be giving your agenda over to Mitch McConnell effectively if you allowed the legislative filibuster to stay in place?" Stein said.

"What I believe is that Democrats have to win Senate race in states like Missouri and the middle of the country. That's what I believe," Bennet said.

"I believe that we need an agenda that the middle of the country geographically is going to support. That's what we have to do. I don't think there's a shortcut to that. Every single person, including Harry, and I love Harry, who's calling for the end to the filibuster doesn't remember that Mitch McConnell is majority leader of the Senate. He could end the filibuster tomorrow. If he wanted to add congressional seats in Utah or wherever else, he could end the filibuster tomorrow.

"We have to win these races. There's no shortcut around that. And I think that's why it matters so much, the policies that our presidential candidates, you know, are presenting in this campaign. If we really are going to be the policy of Medicare for All, then we should expect to have 30 members of the United States Senate, not 51 or 55 or 60."

"Let's say you win the presidency, and Democrats take a narrow majority in the Senate, you're effectively saying that, you know, I will need to get 60 votes for all of my agenda, because Mitch McConnell can stop it by rallying up his caucus behind, just to deny as you go. You would be effectively handing over to Mitch McConnell, right?" Stein said.

"I think that Mitch McConnell has -- until we have a majority, Mitch McConnell controls the Senate whether it's 51 votes or whether it's 60 votes and if you care about climate change, you can't accept a Washington, D.C. where the guard, where the debate is held around that 51 votes," Bennet argued.

"In other words, if we're accepting a politics where we put it in two years, they rip it out two years later, we put it two years after that, they rip it out. a president comes in, in there for four years, and it gets ripped out. If you accept that, and there are a lot of people that do accept it, that's accepting Mitch McConnell's version of our democracy, Ted Cruz's version of our democracy, Donald Trump's, if you accept that, we cannot solve climate change in this country because you can't solve climate change two years at a time.

"So if I were president, what I would do is go out to places in this country where I will never win more than 30% of the vote and stand there and say this is why we have to act on climate, this is why we've got to reverse Trump's tax bill. This is why we've got a better plan for health care, and fight that battle and fight that battle.

"This isn't just about one election. This is about the rest of my life. That's how deeply we have -- that's how deep the hole is that we have dug ourselves into. This is a democracy. and the only way that we're going to begin to make the policy changes that we want to make as Democrats is by winning races in the middle of the country," he said.

Claire McCaskill joined in. "And frankly, just briefly on this subject, I think people forget, Sam, the stuff we stopped when we were in the minority. The first two years of this administration, can you imagine what they would have done to a woman's right to choose, can you imagine what they could have done on a lot of subjects if the minority, which was the Democrats, were in the position to say 'We're not going to let you go there' ?"

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