Let’s look at numbers and names.
The Democrats have 48 in the Senate, plenty enough to sustain the filibusters they are still allowed to run (normal legislation and USSC confirmations). And they only need three Republicans to join them on any one vote, to deny Trump and McConnell.
Parties in the minority have powerful incentives to hang together. So far even Manchin of WV is playing along. (That could easily change, but it may not matter – see below.)
Here’s my latest list of Republican Senators who could conceivably decide to at least slow down the Trumpian juggernaut . . . and maintain their own power and prerogatives, always a consideration for a US Senator.
- Collins, Maine – already resisting the DeVos nomination.
- Murkowski, Alaska – ditto, and remember she survived a Teeper revolt six years ago with ZERO help from the GOP, and she just got re-elected again.
- McCain – Johnny Mac also just got re-elected, need fear nothing. At his age and health, it was probably his last election.
- Flake, also AZ, was personally threatened by Trump in July in front of the whole caucus, may decide to answer properly at some point.
- Graham, SC, with McCain on almost anything and already vocal about Trump’s mistakes.
- Cruz, TX – May decide to re-grow his balls and get back at the bully who punked him so horribly. (Hard to predict that character, but let’s include him for shits and giggles.)
- Sasse, NB – Despises Trump anyway.
- Rand Paul – Ditto.
- Corker, TN – has more than once shown signs of sanity.
- Rubio, FL, also owes Trump a punch in the nuts, and also freshly re-elected.
- My own state’s Dean Heller, faces re-election next year and is already showing signs of running to the center to accomplish it. He’s a moderate by disposition anyway.
That is eleven, and all that’s needed on any one vote is three or four. There may be others, too. They could take turns just to keep McConnell confused. And several of them may enjoy THAT element of the game very very much. McConnell has been a notable bully as a caucus leader – and a confused and angry McConnell is a very funny sight.
Another consideration is that the Koch Brothers are reportedly very pissed off. They are Libertarian fanatics, and this new authoritarian regime is NOT what they spent so much money to elect, for so many years. They sat out 2016. They may be willing to support a few rebels, this year and next.
(A straw in the wind: that weasel Karl Rove just wrote an op-ed in the WSJ, that criticized the immigration-ban EO as horribly amateurish. Not wrong but wrongly done – he’s Rove, after all. But he shills for the Koch Brothers.)
One more thing: no one reads polls like a pol. Any President’s juice on the Hill extends as far as his current approval rating, and its trend line. Trump began on 20 January, with the biggest inauguration-day negatives in living memory, and is heading downhill from there.
And everyone on the Hill knows it.