How Democrats can shut down the Senate
This would be a confrontational tactic; the Senate Democrats would probably only use it to make a fundamental point about the Senate’s role in American democracy. And that point should be that the Senate must be an institution where there is free and open debate so the majority can rule. As James Wallner argues, current Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s strategy has long been to avoid any issue that harms the majority party’s image or the electoral prospects of Republican senators. Wallner states:
For McConnell, winning elections is necessary to control the Senate’s means of production: its committee chairs, leadership positions, and votes…Winning elections to maintain (or regain) a majority is therefore the ultimate end of his efforts. He is unwilling to tolerate freewheeling debates à la Mansfield precisely because these can’t be controlled. And while the Senate has proved incapable of accomplishing very much with McConnell’s approach … the majority leader can at least keep divisions within his party under wraps and thus present the electorate with a unified — and inoffensive — message during elections.