No Sitting, Bathroom Or Food Are Why The Inhuman Rules Of Filibustering Are In Dire Need Of Change

No Sitting, Bathroom Or Food Are Why The Inhuman Rules Of Filibustering Are In Dire Need Of Change

No bathroom breaks. No eating breaks. No sitting. You think you have what it takes?
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I was on Facebook the other evening when a video caught my eye. It was telling the story of the Democratic filibuster on gun control that happened last year. I dug a little deeper to find out that the filibuster (a tactic used in the U.S. Senate to block or delay action on a bill) lasted an astounding 15 hours led by Connecticut Senator Christopher Murphy and 39 other Senators. It amazed me that politicians would go to such lengths to stop a bill or pass one.

I read another story about the Texas Senator Wendy Davis. She filibustered for 13 hours to stop Texas's anti-abortion bill from being passed. She was on her feet the entire time. She was not allowed to use the bathroom. This is a rule for all filibusters. Instead, Ms. Davis used a urinary catheter on the Senate floor. Another rule for filibusters: you can't eat anything except hard candy, water and milk. Ridiculous? I know. I was thinking the same thing.

I went on to read 10 other filibuster stories involving politicians on both sides of the political spectrum. Whatever they believed in, they all had to follow the same absurd rules. No bathroom breaks unless another senator "allows" you to go, because he or she has yielded the floor to make a note. No eating except candy (because that apparently keeps stamina up). And no sitting.

Whoever came up with the rules for filibustering obviously took the phrase, "Stand up for what you believe in," too literally. The idea of filibustering makes sense — you get a hold of the floor for as long as you'd like to talk your colleagues into siding with you. But the fact that you get a hold of the floor until you pass out from fatigue or a cloture happens is inhumane.

Instead, there should be other rules in place. For example, for every five hours of your filibuster, you get a five minute washroom break. The rule of eating nothing but candy and milk is also useless. A person has to have all of their strength if they're trying to put up a fight for what they believe in. They need real food, like a sandwich. Plus, while standing gives you authority and power over the audience, standing for hours on end can cause fatigue. Government should not be a fight for who can physically stand the longest. It should be about reaching an agreement like sane, logical human beings.

Sure, rules should be implemented, like you have to talk while you have a snack, but the Senate shouldn't just outright ban food on the floor. Senate should give a two minute sitting break every couple of hours. Senate already has the power to close a filibuster with a cloture, so at least give the filibustering Senator a real chance to convince others of their side. If they're sweating, starving and really have to go to the bathroom, what chance do they have to make a convincing argument?

Don't get me wrong. Senators have succeeded in their filibusters in the past. Wendy Davis did. That doesn't mean the rules of filibustering should be brutal. The point of the filibuster is to really get the attention of Senators to prove that the filibustering Senator really believes in what they're trying to pass or inhibit. While the rules should be strict in order to maintain the fact that filibusters are difficult and should be used as last resorts, they should not be detrimental to the Senator's health.

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The Trump Presidency Is Over

Say hello to President Mike Pence.

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Remember this date: August 21, 2018.

This was the day that two of President Donald Trump's most-important associates were convicted on eight counts each, and one directly implicated the president himself.

Paul Manafort was Trump's campaign chairman for a few months in 2016, but the charges brought against him don't necessarily implicate Trump. However, they are incredibly important considering was is one of the most influential people in the Trump campaign and picked Mike Pence to be the vice presidential candidate.

Manafort was convicted on five counts of tax fraud, two counts of bank fraud, and one count of failure to file a report of a foreign bank account. And it could have been even worse. The jury was only unanimous on eight counts while 10 counts were declared a mistrial.

Michael Cohen, Trump's personal lawyer, told a judge that Trump explicitly instructed him to break campaign-finance laws by paying two women not to publicly disclose the affairs they had with Trump. Those two women are believed to be Karen McDougal, a Playboy model, and Stormy Daniels, a pornstar. Trump had an affair with both while married to his current wife, Melania.

And then to no surprise, Fox News pundits spun this in the only way they know how. Sara Carter on Hannity said that the FBI and the Department of Justice are colluding as if it's some sort of deep-state conspiracy. Does someone want to tell her that the FBI is literally a part of the DOJ?

The Republican Party has for too long let Trump get away with criminal behavior, and it's long past time to, at the very least, remove Mr. Trump from office.

And then Trump should face the consequences for the crimes he has committed. Yes, Democrats have a role, too. But Republicans have control of both chambers of Congress, so they head every committee. They have the power to subpoena Trump's tax returns, which they have not. They have the power to subpoena key witnesses in their Russia investigations, which they have not.

For the better part of a year I have been asking myself what is the breaking point with Republicans and Trump. It does not seem like there is one, so for the time being we're stuck with a president who paid off two women he had an affair with in an attempt to influence a United States election.

Imagine for a second that any past president had done even a fraction of what Trump has.

Barack Obama got eviscerated for wearing a tan suit. If he had affairs with multiple women, then Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell would be preparing to burn him at the stake. If they won't, then Trump's enthusiastic would be more than happy to do so.

For too long we've been saying that Trump is heading down a road similar to Nixon, but it's evident now that we're way past that point. Donald Trump now has incriminating evidence against him to prove he's a criminal, and Special Counsel Robert Mueller is just getting started.

Will Trump soften the blow and resign in disgrace before impeachment like Nixon did? Knowing his fragile ego, there's honestly no telling what he'll do. But it's high time Trump leaves an office he never should have entered in the first place.

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Beto O'Rourke Is The Future For The Democratic Party

Democrats need a new voice, and now they have him.

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As a self-professed progressive, the 2016 presidential election was one of the darkest days of my life. Every day I wish that the election had turned out differently. But if there's a silver lining, the Democratic Party has almost completely reinvented itself and has a chance to move forward.

Barack Obama was an amazing leader for the party for a decade. Hillary Clinton was arguably the most-flawed candidate the modern-day Democratic Party has ever nominated, and she lost to the most-flawed Republican ever nominated. So now the Democrats need someone to look up to and lead the way past the regressive presidency of Donald Trump. That man is Beto O'Rourke.

O'Rourke is a representative of Texas's 16th congressional district, which covers the city of El Paso. But right now people in the political world know him as the guy who is running against arguably the most-hated man in the Senate, Ted Cruz. Former House Speaker and fellow Republican John Boehner once said that Cruz is "Lucifer in the flesh."

Cruz prides himself in being hated by Washington politicians, but hatred from his current colleagues could come back to bite him. "If you killed Ted Cruz on the floor of the Senate, and the trial was in the Senate, nobody would convict you," said Lindsey Graham, Republican senator from South Carolina.

If O'Rourke wins in November, he'll take down Cruz, who is one of the most powerful and influential Republicans in Washington despite being hated. And it could launch Beto to even higher office someday.

Even if he loses to Cruz, Beto has an extremely bright future ahead of him because he's just what the Democratic Party needs right now. He's young, passionate, communicates extremely well and is a perfect representation of what the face of the party should be.

This year, O'Rourke has been setting an example of how Democrats should run their campaigns. Beto has traveled to every single one of Texas's 254 counties. Ever since the Supreme Court's decision on Citizens United v. FEC (2010), Democrats have pushed for campaign finance reform, and O'Rourke is leading by example with his campaign. Beto has taken $0 from Political Action Committees (PACs). All of his money comes from individual donors. Cruz has taken PAC money, but O'Rourke still holds a significant advantage in fundraising.

O'Rourke in his campaign emphasizes that Texas has among the highest immigration populations in the United States, but the senators from Texas, Cruz and John Cornyn, do not accurately represent the diversity of the state. O'Rourke has separated himself from Cruz by speaking out against the proposed border wall and the separation of immigrant children at the border.

I'm not from Texas, but I'm just as excited for this senate race as I was when Doug Jones won in my home state almost a year ago. Beto O'Rourke has an opportunity to make positive change in our country and actually bring people together. If he doesn't win in November, Beto should make plans for 2020 because he can become the face of the Democratic Party.

If you'd like to learn more about, join, or donate to the campaign, here is a link.

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