The Advocate has a great piece out today about how LGBTQ activists in Iowa are leaning towards support Elizabeth Warren and Pete Buttigieg in the Iowa caucus. I wanted to highlight this because they bring a very big issue that is the key reason I support Warren’s campaign: her call to abolish the filibuster.
As Iowa Democrats prepare to gather Monday night to cast the first votes of the presidential nominating contest, several LGBTQ activists in the state have come out for either Elizabeth Warren or Pete Buttigieg.
The Advocate has looked at a small and admittedly unscientific sample of prominent LGBTQ Iowans, including elected officials and grassroots organizers, who’ve spoken to this publication or made their preferences known elsewhere.
Warren, the senior U.S. senator from Massachusetts, is the choice of Karen Mackey, a Native American and LGBTQ activist from Sioux City. “Senator Warren is a persistent, visionary candidate with a bold vision for our future,” Mackey told The Advocate via email. “She is a corruption fighter, which we desperately need today. Warren wants to repeal the filibuster, which is necessary in order to pass the Equality Act.”
The filibuster is the practice of delaying a vote on a bill in the Senate. It no longer requires a senator to make a lengthy speech to hold up action (as in the classic film Mr. Smith Goes to Washington). Now it means a vote on a given bill can be delayed indefinitely, while other business goes on, unless 60 senators vote to end debate on the legislation, so the bill itself can go to a vote. Among Democratic presidential hopefuls, Warren, Buttigieg, Tom Steyer, and Andrew Yang have all said they favor ending the filibuster, while some other candidates say they’re open to the idea.
Don Dew, a gay Iowan who’s been an activist at the intersection of LGBTQ and disability issues for more than a decade, offered a similar argument for Warren. “I have been impressed with Sen. Warren’s persistence to make certain all people are equal,” he told The Advocate. “We need a visionary like her to repeal the filibuster if our community wants to pass the Equality Act that has been too long in coming. As president, Elizabeth Warren will show all Americans what it is to be equal, and to be treated fairly as deserved. It will be a new era for everyone.”
The mention of Warren’s persistence refers to when Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, in 2017, cut her off when she was reading a letter the late Coretta Scott King had written detailing the problems with Jeff Sessions, the Alabama Republican who was up for confirmation as U.S. attorney general. McConnell later said of Warren, “Nevertheless, she persisted,” which became a rallying cry for feminists and other opponents of Donald Trump’s administration.
Liz Bennett, an Iowa state representative who’s bisexual, is another Warren supporter. In a column for Iowa paper The Gazette last year, Bennett, of Cedar Rapids, cited Warren’s “real, detailed plans for leveling the economic playing field and ensuring opportunity for all” as a reason to back her. “Warren has plans for tuition-free college, student debt cancellation, universal child care, affordable housing, green manufacturing, breaking up monopolies and much more,” Bennett wrote. She also mentioned Warren’s creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
If we are to deliver for the American people, the next Democratic President must make either abolishing or reforming the filibuster a priority. It’s an archaic rule that kills progress and defends the Status Quo. There’s still time to help Warren’s campaign out before the polls close.