How Mitch McConnell killed the Senate
Congress has recessed for two weeks without passing a desperately needed disaster relief bill. Why not? Because Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell didn't want to anger Donald Trump by adding money for Puerto Rico that Democrats have sought but Trump doesn't want.
America used to have a Senate. But under McConnell, what was once known as the world's greatest deliberative body has become a partisan lap dog.
Recently, McConnell used his Republican majority to cut the time for debating Trump's court appointees from 30 hours to two, thereby enabling Republicans to ram through even more Trump judges.
In truth, McConnell doesn't give a fig about the Senate, or about democracy. He cares only about partisan wins.
On the eve of the 2010 midterm elections, McConnell famously declared that his top priority was for Barack Obama "to be a one-term president."
From 2009 to 2013, McConnell's Senate Republicans blocked 79 Obama nominees. In the entire history of the United States until that point, only 68 presidential nominees had been blocked.
This unprecedented use of the filibuster finally led Senate Democrats in 2013 to change the rules on some presidential nominees (but not the Supreme Court) to require simple majorities.
In response, McConnell fumed that "breaking the rules to change the rules is un-American." If so, McConnell is about as un-American as they come. Once back in control of the Senate, he buried Obama's nomination of Merrick Garland for the Supreme Court by refusing even to hold hearings.
Then, in 2017, McConnell and his Republicans changed the rules again, ending the use of the filibuster even for Supreme Court nominees and clearing the way for Senate confirmation of Trump nominees Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh.
Step by step, McConnell has sacrificed the Senate as an institution to partisan political victories.