McConnell claims if Democrats nix the filibuster just to pass laws, Republicans will simply repeal those policies once they gain back the majority.
Democrats and Republicans continue to duke it out on Capitol Hill as though they are fighting for different sides. Earlier this week, in response to a mass shooting in Colorado, US Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said there are “deep-seated philosophical differences between Republicans and Democrats about how to deal with gun violence.”
It is painfully evident, however, that this isn’t the only issue subject to dispute. Historically, cannabis reform is another controversial topic that has them clawing each other’s eyes out. Even though the Democrats finally have the majority in Congress — a flex that should put pot on the inevitable path to change — there’s still enough political power-madness coming from McConnell to cause trouble.
It stands to reason that, for pot reform to advance, the Kentucky Republican, now 78, needs to announce his retirement like other long-term members of the GOP so that more progressive thinking can prevail on the Hill. After all, the anti-pot politician isn’t getting any younger, so it seems likely that America will get to bid him a bon voyage soon. Soon, but not soon enough.
The word on the street is that McConnell is considering retirement in the next couple of years. Sources close to him recently told Politico that he wouldn’t leave office until sometime in 2023, primarily to break the record for the longest-serving Senate Leader in history. It means that the idea of national cannabis reform could be held up for a few more years. Senate Democrats just don’t have the bipartisan clout that it’ll take to pass the kind of “comprehensive” cannabis reform that they want to push in 2021. But that’s not to say the Democrats won’t eventually catch a break.
A handful of Republican Senators have already announced that they will retire in 2022. Some of them blame the inability to break through partisan gridlock for their decision to abandon ship. Others just want to disassociate from the party and catch their breath after enduring the Trump Administration’s four years of terror. More announcements could be made later, too, as politicians are forced to seriously consider their interest in reelection. It’s a situation that could bode well for Democrats that could struggle to maintain the majority in both chambers in the midterms.
More retirements would certainly make it harder for McConnell to snag back domination for the GOP and win back his throne. It’s no secret that McConnell isn’t a big fan of his new role as minority leader. “I’ve been both, and I can tell you, the majority leader’s better,” McConnell told reporters last year.
Still, the midterms don’t typically fare well for the president’s party. Nevertheless, the longer the Democrats can hang on to the power, the better off they will be in the pursuit to fulfill their agenda. McConnell stands in the way of this itinerary – and that includes any bill related to marijuana legalization.
There is a way around him, however, and that’s to amend or eliminate the filibuster. It’s gaining more traction with the Democrats, yet the party still doesn’t have enough votes. McConnell claims if Democrats nix the filibuster just to pass laws, Republicans will simply repeal those policies once they gain back the majority.
Without the filibuster, we could see Democrats pass federal marijuana legalization this year, with a simple majority, but that measure could be repealed once Republicans take back control. Of course, in any such event, the GOP would need to win back both chambers of Congress and the White House to solidify change. For now, Republicans have their hands full trying not to lose any more seats. It might be easier if they could somehow convince McConnell to take early retirement.
We’ll even throw him a party.