How to Fix the Broken Senate and Save America

The U.S. Senator from Oregon who is leading the fight to restore the talking filibuster explains how changing just one rule could save our democracy

If we want to fix what ails America, we have to fix the Senate. And if we want to fix the Senate, we must fix the broken filibuster.

Now, in a compelling and powerfully argued book, Senator Jeff Merkley offers a concise and eye-opening history of how the present-day version of the filibuster has crippled the self-styled “world’s greatest deliberative body” with paralyzing gridlock, and makes the surprising case that restoring the old-style filibuster may just be our democracy’s path back from the brink.

Once, senators who objected to passing a bill waged a defiant filibuster, in the spirit of fictional Senator Smith who talked until he collapsed in order to block a corrupt railroad deal in the classic 1939 film Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. Now, however, thanks to Senator Mitch McConnell’s abuse of a fifty-year-old reform intended to make it easier for the Senate to pass legislation, the minority party can simply insist on sixty votes to pass most bills—and then refuse to provide them. Wildly popular bills languish, but ordinary citizens can’t see why because the obstruction all takes place behind closed doors.

Filibustered! combines a marvelous romp through key moments in filibuster history with a compelling argument for restoring this key tool of American governance.

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