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February 11, 2021


#Non-fiction Kill Switch

by N@ncy


  1. Why it matters: Kill Switch
  2. This book makes clear that unless the USA  immediately and drastically reforms the Senate’s rules and practices―starting with reforming the filibuster―we face the prospect of permanent minority rule in America


  1. The big picture:
  2. For much of its history, the filibuster was used primarily to prevent civil rights legislation from becoming law. But more recently, Republicans have refined it into a tool for imposing their will on all issues to oppose a progressive American majority.
  3. Democrats could unilaterally change the rule to require only a simple majority for legislation to advance, if all 50 Democrats plus Harris agreed to do so, a gambit sometimes called the “nuclear option.”


  1. Details:  Superminoirty:
  2. Senators representing as little as 11% of the population can deliver the obstructionist agenda white conservative voters desire. They block progress across most issues.


  1. What we are watchingMajority Leader Schumer vs Minority Leader McConnell
  2. Schumer is resisting McConnell’s demand for a promise to protect the long-standing Senate rule requiring a supermajority of 60 votes to advance most legislation, known as the legislative filibuster.


  1. Between the linesThreat
  2. Majority Leader Schumer is sticking to his guns and keeping the threat of going “nuclear” on legislation in reserve if Republicans do not work cooperatively.
  3. The author shows that many of the greatest challenges of our era:
  • partisan polarization
  • dark money
  • a media culture built on manufactured outrage.



  1. This is an excellent book about governmental history and
  2. …the practice of implementing the filibuster.
  3. #MustRead book for anyone who wants to improve civic engagement
  4. …understand who you are voting for and how it will affect you!
  5. The Senate is a POWERFUL institution that can change your life.
  6. The filibuster was used as a tool against  Civil rights and 
  7. …voter repression in America.


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2 Comments Post a comment
  1. Feb 11 2021

    Yes!!! Obama made such an eloquent argument against the filibuster in A Promised Land, explaining why it’s become such a twisted tool. This book sounds amazing, and crucial!


    • Feb 11 2021

      I’m reading Obama’s book…but have not reached the filibuster part. I always heard the word filibuster but never understood its power. Jentleson is informed about the nuts and bolts of the Senate…but is also a great story-teller! That’s important to remember who your audience is…not academics but people searching for basic info. Loved to read Jentleson’s perspective about LBJ ( I’ve read all of Robert Carl’s books on LBJ)… and a few names that were not so known to me Senator Russel and Senator Jesse Helm (…blatant white suprematists) who used the filibuster to suppress African Americans. I am following the Impeachment trial into the wee hours of the morning here! Senators seem a bit shaken (…not Rand Paul)…but not stirred. Let’s see what Rep. Jamie Raskine presents today!

      Liked by 1 person


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