I don’t understand the filibuster debate for Democrats right now. If I was a Senate Democrat, I would not enjoy being in the minority, but the current configuration of forces means I’m in the position of minimal responsibility as I would have minimal negoatiating leverage if there is a bill advancing through the chamber with between 51 and 66 votes in support.
TPM reports Senate Democrats have not through the current situation’s logic yet:
There’s also the question of Republican legislation which will have a much easier time making its way from one chamber to the next. Democrats maintain that they will not practice the regular filibustering Senate Republicans did when they were in the minority and instead say it will happen only when Senate GOPers take up radical Tea Party legislation….
The minimal neccessary conditions for a bill to become law is agreement between a majority in the house, a majority in the Senate and the President. If the President, who is a to the left of the 6th least liberal Senate and well to the left of any Senate Republican agrees to a deal, then there is not a minimal blocking coalition in the Senate of 40 Democrats who can stay firm for long.
If there is a disagreement between the House Republicans and the President, then the minimum winning coalition is all House Republicans plus 45 or 46 House Democrats and all Senate Republicans plus 13 Senate Democrats.
Senate Democrats have minimal incentives to block Obama’s executive appointments. There are very few circumstances where Senate Democrats can assemble and hold together 41 members on legislation that otherwise would have House Republican agreement and Obama’s agreement and not have 60 votes in the Senate. The agreement zone precludes Senate Democrats from being too influential. The only scenario where this might come into play is where there are significant cleavages in party coalitions such as the Transpacific Partnership or other trade deals, but even then, I have a hard time seeing 41 Democratic Senators holding together for more than a day or two in that scenario.
If this analysis holds, then we should expect the incentive to be for Senate Democrats to be released to vote their best interests and count on a busy veto pen to kill the worst.