Instead of developing a strategy to put some distance between themselves and the presumptive Republican nominee, many senators are taking a passive—one might say paralyzed—approach, hoping in some vague way that another option will present itself at the Republican National Convention in July. “I’m going to wait and see what happens at the convention,” Maine’s Susan Collins told Politico. “Republicans will vote for a Republican and that will be somebody other than Donald Trump,” Colorado’s Cory Gardner proclaimed.
To be fair, some are more up front about what a Trump nomination would mean for the GOP’s chances of holding on to its 54-seat majority in the upper chamber. “I’m just glad I’m not on the ballot,” Nevada’s Dean Heller told Politico. Others, meanwhile, are falling in line. “He hasn’t won it yet, but if he does, I’m going to support him,” said Utah’s Orrin Hatch.
Republicans will have 24 seats to defend in the fall, compared to the Democrats’ ten. The numbers already favored the Democrats, but the prospect of Trump at the top of the ticket has them salivating. “I have Democrats talking to me about eight to ten seats,” Jennifer Duffy of Cook Political Report told Talking Points Memo. “I am not there yet.” You’d think the prospect of electoral disaster might be greater cause for concern, but in truth the Senate GOP’s less than courageous stance is of a piece with the broader party’s approach to Trump.