There’s no blizzard in the forecast. Senate Democrats will have the power to subject almost all legislation to filibuster (a word that does not appear in Will’s column). Overcoming a filibuster takes 60 votes. So Republicans, who will probably end up with 53 seats, would have to win over Democrats to get legislation through the Senate to the president’s desk. If they can do that, the legislation is unlikely to draw a veto.
That’s because both parties these days have a lot of discipline. If the president opposes a bill, few Senate Democrats will support it — which means that in the vast majority of cases a filibuster will keep him from having to veto it. If a lot of Senate Democrats support a bill, on the other hand, Obama won’t want to place himself outside a bipartisan consensus by vetoing it.
Sometimes filibuster amnesia strikes pundits in the middle of a column. Molly Ball wrote a pre-election post for the Atlantic on what to expect from a Republican Senate. She mentioned that the Senate has been “requiring a 60-vote supermajority for most legislation.” Two paragraphs later, she was speculating about how the Senate could send the president many bills that “would result in a speedy Obama veto.” Again, that’s not going to happen.