But then there is 2016. If Republicans were to win the White House, Senate, and House, the Senate’s GOP leaders would enjoy an advantage they’ve never had: the power to confirm the Republican president’s nominees without worrying about Democratic opposition. Conversely, Democrats have never had to face a situation in which they had no filibuster power to stop a Republican president’s nominees. They probably won’t enjoy it — but they’ll have Sen. Reid to thank for it.
Meanwhile, Senate Republicans will face a serious temptation. The new GOP president will have a legislative agenda. The filibuster would be the Democrats’ only real power to stop, slow, or shape it. And Reid already set the precedent for changing the Senate’s rules to do away with filibusters on nominations. Do the same for the legislative filibuster? The Senate could face a turning point; it’s not clear what Republicans would do.
Until then, if the GOP does take the Senate this November, Democrats will have to decide what to do when they want to stop legislation favored by the majority. Will they remember all those terrible things they said about the 60-vote requirement?