… The House, a representative institution based on majority rule, could accommodate a high degree of partisanship, after a fashion, because majority rule means that the minority doesn’t matter. Things could often be fairly unpleasant, but the place still worked. The reason it could still work, despite increasing partisanship, is because it was before the noxious so-called Hastert Rule (requiring a majority of the majority to bring a measure to the floor), which subverts the very concept of majority rule intended by the Founding Fathers, for what is, in effect, plurality rule, with the most ideological half of the party in the majority.
But when this partisanship arrived in the Senate, a body designed by our Founding Fathers to be a very slow and deliberate institution—the intention being that it should be hard and slow to move legislation in the chamber—the legislative process began to deteriorate because the rules and traditions of the body do not lend themselves to those using “scorched earth” tactics. [cont.]