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Party Whips


In 1964 Senate leaders Mike Mansfield and Everett Dirksen selected Hubert Humphrey and Thomas Kuchel to serve as the floor managers for the civil rights bill. As the party whips, who tracked votes on legislation, Humphrey and Kuchel possessed expert knowledge of complex Senate rules and procedures. Their extraordinary partnership, built on trust and a sense of common purpose, modeled the kind of bipartisan cooperation needed to pass the civil rights bill. The heart of their strategy was a plan to invoke cloture and force a vote on the bill. To build support for the bill, Humphrey and Kuchel prepared bipartisan teams to manage each of the expansive bill’s 11 titles, or sections. They drafted daily newsletters, providing information about the bill’s various components, and assigned to their civil rights allies the responsibility for bringing small groups of senators promptly to the Senate floor for quorum calls.