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October 16, 2021

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Myths of American Politics: The Filibuster

2 min read

In this segment of Myths of American Politics on The Damage Report, John Iadarola and Brett Erlich debunk the filibuster.

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Read more here: https://www.vox.com/2015/5/27/18089312/myths-about-the-filibuster

"Say the word "filibuster" and people think of the climactic scene in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, where Jimmy Stewart, playing an everyman senator, exposes the corruption of his colleagues by taking the Senate floor and talking, talking, talking until he collapses.

There’s truth to that scene: filibusters used to feature a senator, or group of senators, taking the floor and talking.

The longest filibuster on record belongs to the late Strom Thurmond, who took the floor on August 28th, 1957, during the Senate’s consideration of a civil rights bill. He began by reading the election statutes of all 48 states. Then he read the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights, George Washington’s farewell address, and much else besides. He got one bathroom break, when Sen. Barry Goldwater took the floor on his behalf. He ate cold sirloin steak and pumpernickel bread his wife had packed and he sucked on throat lozenges. At times, his voice became too weak to hear. He finished 24 hours and 18 minutes later."

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