Democratic Supermajority No Guarantee for Gay Progress
BY Julie Bolcer
November 21 2008 1:00 AM ET
professor of political science at Hunter College of the
City University of New York, agrees.
don’t think the issue is whether we have a
filibuster-proof majority,” says Sherrill.
“You don’t need a filibuster-proof majority.
You need 60 votes.”
the pragmatic, bipartisan coalitions that successfully
passed other civil rights legislation, as far back as 1964.
a stamp of approval,” he says. “It
demonstrates there is broad consensus.”
In other words,
if lingering legislation on hate crimes and employment
nondiscrimination moves, it will likely be a bipartisan
effort of many, but not all, Democrats working with
more moderate Republicans.
But even then,
the Senate will have been but one ingredient in the
complex process that gets legislation passed.
to be some lobbying,” says Sherrill. “There
has to be some education. There has to be some signal
from the White House that they want this to go
Once again, it
seems, all eyes are on the president-elect and his
incoming team even as the coveted “magic 60”
hangs in the balance.
concession of long-serving Republican senator Ted Stevens of
Alaska, Democrats and the two independents who caucus with
them hold 58 seats. The results of undetermined
contests in Georgia and Minnesota could push them to
the supermajority, but the races show distinctly
different dynamics, and suggest that a split victory is
slightly more likely than a Democratic sweep.
first-term Republican incumbent senator Saxby Chambliss will
face Democratic challenger Jim Martin in a runoff election
on December 2. The rematch is the result of a Georgia
law that requires a candidate to receive more than 50%
of the total vote to win. In the original contest,
Chambliss garnered 49.8% of the vote, Martin received 46.8%,
and Libertarian candidate Alan Buckley took 3.4%.
With the two
leading candidates now set back to zero, winning is largely
a matter of who can compel the most voters to participate
given the unusual circumstances.
“There’s a lot of uncertainty,” says
Alan Abramowitz, professor of political science at
Emory University. “The uncertainty is, Whose
supporters are going to turn out?”