The nuclear option would lead to a situation where senators — the legislative voices of their states — would lose their independence. The challenges facing the nation are complex indeed, and the nation needs a multiplicity of voices and brains working to solve those problems. In recent years, the Senate has benefited from a variety of reformers — from Jeff Sessions to Mike Lee to Marco Rubio — working to propose solutions to both new and old problems. Detonating the nuclear option would help centralize and stiffen the Senate when the moment calls for decentralization and flexibility.
The results of last Tuesday remind us that seemingly permanent majorities can be anything but. Both the Republican and the Democratic parties will face some time in the electoral wilderness in the years ahead, and the minority protections of the Senate should be there for both sides. The Obama years have led the Democratic party into one political box canyon after the next, and Senate Democrats may yet come to rue Harry Reid’s use of the nuclear option for executive appointees (because of Senator Reid’s decision, removing the filibuster for Supreme Court nominees would be far less of a shock to the congressional system than removing it for legislation).
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