The Senate Majority Leader didn’t count on conservative Democrats being the policy blocking forces that they have become.
It was just last year that Senator Chuck Schumer, optimistic about the outcome of the November 2020 election, swore up and down that if the Democrats seized majority rule on Capitol Hill, making him the new Majority Leader, a marijuana legalization bill would be put on the floor, and it would pass.
Well, some of that happened.
The U.S. Senate is now split 50-50 with Vice President Kamala Harris as the tiebreaker. All that was left to do is draft a weed bill, and Americans would live happily ever after. Well, five months ago, Schumer and two other Senators came forward to proclaim how cannabis reform was going to be a priority in the upper chamber. Since then, the nation hasn’t witnessed any action. The main reason, presumably, is because Senator Schumer knows that trying to pass a cannabis reform bill right now will end in failure.
But we’ve got to hand it to Schumer: He came out swinging, as though that slim majority in the Senate gave him all the fighting power that he would ever need to pass a progressive agenda. It’s conceivable that, in the back of his mind, he was going to use his newly appointed clout to give America the makeover it needed to gussy up a Trump-soaked population.
Marijuana reform was his hot topic there for a while. It seemed like every time we logged on to our computers, there was Schumer talking about how he was going to legalize weed, how they had the support, and how they were going to do it in such a way that repaired a tattered and torn Black America and stopped large corporations. Look up in the sky; it’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s Super Schumer.
Over the past couple of weeks, however, Schumer has learned that not only is the Republican party 100% against him, but so are a few Democrats. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has vowed to cripple the Biden agenda, while several Democratic Senators have come forward to express their unwillingness to support everything from voter’s rights to cannabis-related reforms. Some have even opposed changing the filibuster rules, which Schumer believes is now being used as a weapon of obstruction. Still, without every Democratic member working together on these issues, the whole of Schumer’s progressive plans is as good as sunk.
Now, Schumer’s only hope is to convince those of his colleagues that remain unfavorable against ending the filibuster that Republicans are going to use this maneuver to stop every piece of Democratic legislation — putting the session in a constant state of gridlock.
Schumer needs Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema to get behind the elimination of the filibuster. Who knows if getting them to switch sides is even possible? The real problem is there are undoubtedly more Democratic Senators who also oppose killing the filibuster, they just haven’t made their intentions known. There could be a slew of Democrats waiting to go against Schumer on this issue.
Schumer is in a tight spot. He’s proved that he isn’t made of the same cutthroat chainsaw grease as his predecessor, Senator Mitch McConnell, and he’s more about flexing peace and harmony than being a wrecking ball of total domination. Yet, if Schumer goes dark and takes steps toward ending the filibuster, a seemingly necessary bully move if he wants to pass controversial legislation such as federally legal marijuana, any policies the Dems push could be temporary.
Without the filibuster, Republicans could simply repeal legal weed with a simple majority once they are back in power. Again, this puts Schumer in a tight spot. Ideally, the two parties should sit down and discuss a legitimate bipartisan compromise on cannabis reform. It’s not like it’s going anywhere. So far, 17 states have gone fully legal, and most of the population supports allowing weed to be taxed and regulated like alcohol. The federal government needs to get ahead of it now.
Super Schumer has found his kryptonite. It didn’t take long. He didn’t count on conservative Democrats being the policy blocking forces that they have become. We expect more opposition to come floating to the top the second he introduces his comprehensive cannabis reform bill.
We’re not giving up on Schumer yet, however.
All of us have had jobs that require an adjustment period to learn the ropes and gain the respect of our co-workers. Finding his footing will be the trick. The Art of War states, “victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win.”
Schumer’s focus on forcing votes to change the filibuster is defeat. For the greater good of America, regardless of whether it is cannabis reform or whatever, the two parties must come together to prevent the nation from going up in smoke.