On Tuesday, the Republican minority in the Senate blocked crucial voting rights legislation from going to debate, in yet another example of the Senate filibuster's bulwark against productivity in Congress.
The vote was split at 50-50. If a simple majority were required, Vice President Kamala Harris would have cast a tie-breaking vote in favor of voting rights. What's more, the 50 Democratic members of the Senate represent a total of 40+ million people than the 50 Republican members.
But instead of a simple majority, the Senate filibuster imposes a 60 vote threshold on most pieces of legislation in order for them to advance to debate and have a chance of passing.
Though Democrats celebrated securing a razor-thin majority in the Senate earlier this year, the win has been sullied by the eagerness of Senate Republicans to block nearly all legislation proposed by the majority. They warn that doing away with the rule, which has historically been used to preserve racist laws, would lead to a fickle Congress and the quick passage of radical legislation.
Frustration at the development has put some moderate Democrats—like Senators Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona—in the hot seat for their continued opposition to any kind of filibuster reform.
Though one of the most notable faces in the House of Representatives, Democratic Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York turned her attention to the Senate in reaction to the news, pushing back against the constant characterization of abolishing the filibuster as radical.
She invited critics to call her radical if it meant she supports the elected majority no longer being under the minority party's thumb.
People largely agreed with her.
Democrats agree that something must be done about the filibuster.
The Senate's voting rights bill fails as Republican legislatures across the country are proposing bills to suppress access to the ballot box, boosting Republicans' chances at taking back the House and Senate in 2022.