Al Franken predicts how Dems will save voting rights — and what it means for the filibuster

Former Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) on Friday was interviewed by MSNBC's Katy Tur about the path forward for Democrats after Republicans in Georgia passed a draconian voter suppression law.

Since leaving office in 2018, Franken has been working with congressional expert Norm Ornstein to find agreement among Senate Democrats for filibuster reform that would stop short of entirely eliminating the procedure.

"Can you tell me what's going to happen?" Tur asked.

"I'll tell you exactly what's going to happen," Franken replied.

"I think in many ways this is a gift," he said of the Georgia law, "because it's so bad."

"It's so bad. They're so transparently bad," he explained. "I agree with the president, that the thing with delivering water in line, that's sick. That's sick. You're going to do time if you give somebody water in a line because they're waiting, because they're in an area with very few places to vote?"

"Here is what I think, three things I think will happen because of this," he continued. "First of all, we're going to pass some version of HR-1 and HR-4," he explained. "And to do that, we're going to have to do something about the filibuster."

"Now, first of all, we may do something where you lower the threshold to 51 on voting, like a carve-out. and that makes a lot of sense. This is so fundamental to our democracy. and then, as you mentioned, you reform the filibuster," he explained. "Joe Manchin (D-WV) has said he doesn't want to get rid of the filibuster, but he's open to reforming it and I've been talking to my former colleagues about this, and I think this is very possible."

Franken described his plan to return the talking filibuster and require 41 Republicans to be on the floor to sustain it, instead of the current requirement that it takes 60 votes to break it.

After Coca-Cola did not fight against the Georgia bill in the state where it is headquartered, Franken also suggested the beverage company could be boycotted.

"It's really good," he said after cracking a Pepsi on-air.


Al Franken