Why are Historians Refuting Claims Made by McConnell That Filibuster Has ‘No Racial Historical past’?

Throughout a press convention Tuesday, Mitch McConnell, Republican Senate Minority Chief claimed that the legislative filibuster has “no racial historical past in any respect” and additional asserted that historians don’t dispute his view—an assertion that was instantly disputed by historians.

“Strom Thurmond disagrees,” historian Patrick Wyman tweeted, referring to the late Republican senator whose 24-hour filibuster towards the Civil Rights Act of 1957 stays the longest in U.S. historical past.

Throughout a press briefing Tuesday, McConnell supplied a full-throated protection of the filibuster amid rising calls by Senate Democrats to considerably weaken or abolish the 60-vote rule, which in its present type offers the minority celebration monumental energy to dam laws. Progressive advocacy teams and a few Democratic lawmakers have taken to describing the filibuster as a “Jim Crow relic” to indicate its previous use as a weapon towards civil rights laws.

“It has no racial historical past in any respect. None. So, there’s no dispute amongst historians about that,” stated McConnell, who stood by the GOP’s intention to make use of the filibuster to dam the For the Folks Act, Democratic laws aiming to broaden poll entry as Republicans press forward with sweeping voter suppression measures on the state stage.

“Historian of the twentieth century South right here. I dispute Mitch’s assertion,” responded Charles Westmoreland, a professor of historical past at Delta State College in Mississippi. “The filibuster has a ton of ‘racial historical past.’”

Kevin Kruse, professor of historical past at Princeton College, supplied a non-exhaustive record of filibuster use towards civil rights and anti-lynching laws over the previous 150 years:

Adam Jentleson, government director of the Battle Born Collective and the creator of a brand new guide on the historical past of the Senate, wrote Tuesday that “McConnell’s argument that the filibuster ‘has no racial historical past in any respect’ is the brand new ‘the Civil Conflict wasn’t about slavery.’”

“For greater than a century the filibuster was broadly understood to be primarily devoted to sustaining white supremacy and blocking civil rights,” Jentleson famous, quoting a protection of the filibuster supplied in 1949 by the late Democratic senator and arch-segregationist Richard Russell of Georgia.

In latest weeks, McConnell has repeatedly risen to the protection of the legislative filibuster and threatened to unleash “chaos” on the higher chamber if Democrats goal the 60-vote rule, which is presently standing in the best way of immigration and labor regulation reform, gun security laws, local weather motion, and different high priorities of the bulk celebration.

“McConnell is scared,” argued Eli Zupnick of the advocacy group Repair Our Senate. “He is aware of the filibuster is his key to sustaining energy from the minority and stopping Dems from delivering on their guarantees, and he sees his grip on that weapon of partisan obstruction slipping away.”

Why are Historians Refuting Claims Made by McConnell That Filibuster Has ‘No Racial History’?