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Bernie and the Filibuster

Bernie Sanders opposes getting rid of the filibuster or changing Senate processes to be more democratic. Why? Likely because his support for the $15/hour minimum wage is just virtue signalling. Doubling the minimum wage over night would displace a lot of people. Smaller businesses with budget constraints would lay off half of their current employees to make up the difference, while larger companies with more resources would double down on automation, replacing human labor with robots/computers/algorithms. Currently, it’s safe for Sanders to support such a policy because it doesn’t have any chance of passing. Most people don’t understand the nuance of actual policy decisions and their effects. If you make the process more democratic, then people like Bernie will have to say, “Well, look, we want everyone to have a living wage, but you have to increase minimum wage gradually over time, so let’s raise the minimum wage to $10.” That’s far less radical sounding and it won’t win as many voters. Making things more democratic means having to try to explain complex policy and policy implications to your constituents, which means trying to turn uninformed voters into policy wonks, which isn’t really that feasible politically.

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