Washington Post reporter Dan Balz was on Chuck Todd’s MSNBC show this morning and, among other things, he said that we have already had a default in Washington DC. We’ve had a default of politics. I think that’s about right. There are a lot of shortcomings in our political system that are essentially permanent features that are built in by our Constitution and other laws and by rulings of the Supreme Court. But most of us can live with those shortcomings. We’ve known them our whole lives, or nearly so. What we can’t live with is a politics of perpetual crisis, with gridlock and effective minority control of the Senate. It needs to be understood that the Democrats have only nominal control of the Senate. They can prevent most things from coming to the floor and they have near-total control of the calendar. But only the Republicans can actually pass a bill. Without control of the House, even passing some things by a simple majority under budget reconciliation rules is no longer possible. It didn’t used to be this way.

The Senate’s 60-vote requirement simply doesn’t work when the two parties are completely diametrically opposed to each other on almost every single issue under the Sun. Why would we want a system where the party with less members has to approve everything from the appointment of cabinet members, to the confirmation of judges, to whether or not to adjourn or recess?

Our politics are broken. The only way to fix our politics is for one side of this game to prevail in overwhelming fashion and change the rules so that we can have a government capable of taking decisions and reacting to crises rather than one that is at constant loggerheads and just bounces from one crisis to the next without ever resolving anything.

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