The Complications of Simple Majorities

“I don’t believe that I can support a cloture resolution providing for cloture by a simple majority vote. The difficulty with any cloture is that it changes the entire character of the debate, and that it is liable to great abuse on the part of a bare majority.” – Robert A. Taft Let’s have a recap of the past two years in the U.S. Senate. Republicans took control of the Senate back in the 2016 election, holding 52 seats. With the help of the Senate Finance Committee, a new tax…

Obama, Menendez and the Politics of Iran Sanctions

The Garden State’s senior senator wasted no time criticizing the Iran policy that President Obama laid out in last week’s State of the Union speech. In response to the president’s avowal that he would veto any new sanctions bill aimed at Iran’s nuclear program—his rationale being that new sanctions will only embolden Iran to thwart ongoing negotiations—the ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee offered a trite retort to his fellow Democrat: that the administration’s statements on Iran sound like “talking points coming straight out of Tehran.” The assessment…

Race for the Senate 2014: A Cheat Sheet

With the current situation in the Senate, the Republican Party would need a net gain of six seats in order to take back control from the Democrats. Of the ten closest elections listed below, Democrats hold eight of the seats and the Republicans hold two. Already, three races (West Virginia, Montana, and South Dakota) are solid Republican pick-ups from the Democrats. Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) and Senator Tim Johnson (D-SD) have decided to retire from politics in these two red states. Former Senator Max Baucus (D-MT) was selected earlier in…

The Return of Scott Brown

Perhaps future textbooks in electoral politics will label 2014 the year of red state anxiety. Given the vulnerability of Democratic incumbents in the Senate, this might not be too outlandish a prediction. Seven states in particular—Alaska, Arkansas, Louisiana, Montana, New Hampshire, North Carolina and West Virginia—feature vulnerable Democrats up for re-election, feeling the heat of growing disenchantment with the Affordable Care Act, and putting the prospect of a Democratically-controlled Senate in question. That Obamacare is spurring this apprehension in Democratic circles in undeniable—North Carolina’s Kay Hagan is distancing herself from…