Early last year, I went a few rounds with Nice Guy Eddie from "In My Humble Opinion" on the subject of the Senate filibuster, him fer it and me agin' it. It started here, then continued here and here, with remarks from both of us spread through the "comments" section of both blogs in the great, totally disorganized manner that would come to mark all of my more involved exchanges with Eddie.
Eddie thought on the subject for a long time. Nearly two years! Yesterday, a ridiculous item on Fox News, reported via Media Matters, inspired him to return to the subject.
I've decided to post my reply here, as well as in his comments section.
I fear it's rather cursory but I don't think for a moment it will be
the last word in the discussion, so I've dubbed it "The Filibuster
Revisited, part 1":
(A note: In order to have any idea what's going on, I recommend reading our entire exchange.)
In my second piece on this subject from last year,
I ran the same numbers you did but my results were that, "at present
population dispersal, just over 5.6% of the U.S. population, residing
in the smallest states (which contain 11% of the total U.S.
population), can theoretically elect a sufficient number of Senators
(41) to filibuster anything everyone else wants to do." You came up
with 2.3%. It's been so long I don't remember exactly how I did my own
calculation but it doesn't really matter--either result supports my
I also ran the then-current numbers about actual
"...at present, Democratic Senators represent
74.9% of the population, while Republican Senators represent 48.7% of
the population (there being overlap between states that have mixed
Senate delegations). The minority is still running everything."
pretty much addressed everything you wrote here back then. The
notion that we will get bad results without a filibuster is a)
absolutely true, and b) of absolutely no relevance. One either believes
in liberal democracy or one doesn't. If you do, you have to take the
good with the bad.
Defending the filibuster necessarily entails
defending the abuse of it we've seen since Republicans lost control of
congress in 2006 and particularly since 2008. That abuse has literally
changed the constitutional order and is arguably unconstitutional.
More to the point though, it completely nullifies our elections,
rendering them meaningless exercises. This, too, is something one must
defend in order to defend the filibuster. In evaluating its potential
merits, one has to weigh this--a complete frustration of the democratic
process, every day of every week of every year, forever--against the
benefit of keeping it around, and in my view (and I think history
clearly supports me in this), any alleged benefit is mostly illusory.
No counter at all.
I don't see any argument in its favor.