If you’re looking for a U.S. senator most likely to lead the battle against Donald Trump’s policy plans, Sen. Amy Klobuchar shouldn’t be in the picture, an analysis by FiveThirtyEight alleges today.
In his essay today, Nate Silver, founder and editor in chief of FiveThirtyEight, tries to identify the Republican senators most likely to put up a fight against the party leader, but he also presents a list of Democratic senators who are most like Trump, suggesting they’re least likely to oppose him.
The Minnesota senator is 10th on the list of Democrats, although it should be noted she’s 67th on the list of all U.S. senators when it comes to affiliation with Trump. Al Franken? He’s 89th.
Klobuchar’s standing, however, falls just outside the three to six Democrats whose votes Silver says could be “in play” depending on the issue.
But if the bad news for Democrats is that three to six of their votes could potentially be in play depending on the issue, the good news is that the rest of their senators are likely to be pretty unified.
Because Democrats lost so many Senate races in swing states in 2014 and 2016, most of their remaining senators come from reliably blue states, and also have reliably liberal voting records. Some 43 Democrats have a Trump support score of 2.0 or lower, which is two more than they need to sustain a filibuster.
In short, the Senate — after a relatively dormant period during President Obama’s second term — will be the center of attention again once Trump enters office. There will potentially be a fair amount of party crossover, with Democratic senators supporting Trump and Republican ones opposing him, sometimes on the same vote.
Relatively minor differences in Trump’s popularity could make a big difference in whether his agenda is passed or stymied, as these senators calculate the impact of their vote in 2018 or 2020. And special elections — such as the one that brought Massachusetts’ Scott Brown into the Senate in 2010 — could make a big difference.
But with a large GOP majority in the House of Representatives, the Senate will be the closest thing to a check on Trump’s power until voters go to the polls again.