To put simply:
Top 50% of Senate represents 83.65% of the population of the states.
Bottom 50% of Senate represents 16.35% of the population of the states.
The Senate already far over-represents the interests of rural states. The combination of that over-representation, plus a constant filibuster, gives some small, red percentage of the population veto power over the rest of us.
I, for one, welcome Harry Reid’s mini- or maxi-nuclear option. If we got rid of the filibuster, holds and all the other delaying tactics, Democrats might be worse off in the short term if we lose the Senate in 2012. Longer-term, however, we’re ahead of the game if the Senate becomes a majority vote body.
If Mitch McConnell is majority leader in 2012, this won’t even be a debate. He’ll use the precedent set by Reid to cut whatever rules get in the way of his majority, and he’ll do so while decrying the anti-democratic nature of the filibuster. Expect sober Brooks and Will columns about the awfulness of both sides’ use of that tool when McConnell decides to change the rules. Democrats would have been far better off just adopting new rules limiting the filibuster at the start of this session, but they’re too spineless and short-sighted to do that.