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Politics in Question

113 EpisodesProduced by Julia Azari, Lee Drutman, and James WallnerWebsite

A podcast about how our political institutions are failing us and ideas for fixing them. Join hosts Lee Drutman, Julia Azari, and James Wallner, three lively experts on American political institutions and reform, as they imagine and argue over what American politics could look like if citizens quest… read more


Filibuster or Filibusted?

Julia argues that we need to pay greater attention to the informal norms surrounding the filibuster and cites a 2012 article she authored with Jennifer K. Smith (“Unwritten Rules: Informal Institutions in Established Democracies”). She also references a 2016 book by Matt Grossman and Dave Hopkins, Asymmetric Politics: Ideological Republicans and Group Interest Democrats.

James references work by Gregory J. Wawro and Eric Schickler (Filibuster: Obstruction and Lawmaking in the U.S. Senate) to highlight the fact that the Senate was able to legislate before its members adopted the current cloture rule to end debate in 1917. He also cites Frances Lee’s book, Insecure Majorities: Congress and the Perpetual Campaign, to support his claim that the observed behavior of senators at present does not align with the conventional wisdom on how we think they are behaving. Finally, James contends that there are numerous ways that Senate majorities can get around the filibuster and cites Molly Reynolds ' book, Exceptions to the Rule: The Politics of Filibuster Limitations in the U.S. Senate.

Lee mentions Jonathan Bernstein’s proposal to give the majority party one “Superbill” in each Congress that cannot be filibustered.

The open letter written by 70 former senators is available here. James’ response is available here.

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