As college students, we know all about all-nighters – they are thrust upon us when there is work to be done. But what happens when a senator decides to voluntarily stand up and speak all day and/or all night to filibuster because they believe there’s work to be done? How do they snack? How do they survive?
Fifteen Hours of Fighting
Yesterday, there was a 15 hour (14 hour 50 minutes, to be exact) filibuster started by Senator Chris Murphy, a Democrat from Connecticut. He stood by his desk speaking until the Republican party agreed to have a vote on two gun control laws banning people on the terror list from having guns and expanding background checks for online and auction gun purposes. No matter where you stand when it comes to gun control, you have to applaud Murphy for (literally) standing up for what he believes in. Fifteen hours is not even the longest time a senator has filibustered.
No Bathroom Breaks
The late South Carolinian Senator Strom Thurmond, filibustered for 24 hours 18 minutes against the 1957 Civil Rights Bill, arguing that the government was exerting unconstitutional control. In order to last an entire day of speaking on his feet at a desk, Thurmond took steam baths every day leading up to the filibuster to dehydrate his body so he wouldn’t need to use the bathroom. He ended up only taking two bathroom breaks – one of which consisted of him peeing in a bucket in the coatroom while one of his feet was still on the senate floor.
Pumpernickel is a complex carb… right?
So what does a senator eat during a filibuster if they’re not even allowed to take a proper bathroom break? According to precedent, a senator is only allowed to drink milk and water and take from the hard candy jar. Strom Thurmond was a bit of a rule breaker, as his sustenance consisted of cut up hamburger, orange juice, and diced pumpernickel.
It is not clear whether or not Senator Murphy ate anything during his filibuster, but two and a half hours into his speech, his fellow Connecticut Democratic representative Elizabeth Esty brought him lunch. This lunch consisted of a can of Red Bull, an apple, hot dogs, Doritos, Powerade and Mountain Dew. There may have been a method to her madness because apples are a great food to eat in order to stay awake. Of course, the energy drinks probably helped him with stamina as well. Also, hot dogs are the food of champions… right?
Is it possible to sustain yourself on milk and candy?
If both these senators and all other filibustering senators followed the rules, this is how much hard candy and milk they would have to consume in order to eat and drink 2,000 calories. There are around 150 calories in a glass of whole milk and around 10 in the average piece of hard candy. In order to eat 2,000 calories during the 15 hours (Murphy’s filibuster lasted from 11:21 am to 2:30 am), a senator would have to drink 10 glasses of milk and eat 50 pieces of candy.
Or, if one prefers candy to milk and wants to prevent nature’s call, one could drink 5 glasses of milk and eat 125 pieces of candy. Maybe there will be a milk and candy cleanse (“The Senator’s Diet”) trending in the future? But for now, cheers for standing up for action.