- for most of American history, the U.S. Senate has operated on a simple majority-vote basis, except for treaties, impeachment, and other limited cases;
- since the GOP lost control of the Senate six years ago, Mitch McConnell's Senate minority has used filibuster threats at an unprecedented rate, requiring not a simple majority of 51 votes but a supermajority of 60 to get even routine business done or routine appointments approved;
- the minority has sought to portray this approach not as a historical aberration but as perfectly routine. Thus every press account saying a measure "lost" rather than that it was "blocked" or "filibustered," takes us closer to this de facto Constitutional change. For more on why that matters, see this (and, for a positive example, this).
And here is the bulk of the story, setting out the details:
So we have two plans, from the two opposing parties, each following a path to defeat. Sounds like one more case of everyone's-to-blame "gridlock." Then, in paragraph eight, we get this:
Right; both plans "failed." One because only a minority of senators voted for it; the other, because a majority voted for it but not enough to surmount a filibuster threat. It's impossible to say which side is being more obstructionist; the issue is "unresolved" and is one more sign of modern dysfunction. [Thanks to reader MR.]
But if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought. A bad usage can spread by tradition and imitation even among people who should and do know better.
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