While House battles often raged in extremist and incoherent directions, Americans could always count on the Senate to be the Congressional body where cooler heads prevailed. Well, those cooler heads just went nuclear. Mitch McConnell pushed to alter the Senate rules to “allow the confirmation of [Neil] Gorsuch and all other Supreme Court nominees by a simple-majority vote.” The move was an expected response to the Democratic filibuster (which itself was largely a reaction to the GOP’s refusal to give Judge Merrick Garland a fair hearing during the final year of the Obama era). The phrase “nuclear option” may be a bit extreme, but the Senate definitely dropped a few bunker busters on any hopes Americans had for the return of at least a hint of bipartisanship among members of the country’s most exclusive club. As WaPo reports, “the change is also likely to make an already bitterly divided Senate even more partisan, with several senators warning in recent days that ending filibusters of presidential nominees could lead to the end of filibusters on legislation — effectively ending the Senate’s role as a slower, more deliberative legislative body.” In today’s America, slow and steady no longer wins the race. And for bipartisanship, nuclear winter is coming.
+ Vox with some background on what just happened and how we got here.