Narrow Margins
Published April 19, 2018 / Updated August 7, 2020

Narrow Margins

McConnell’s grip on the Senate is slipping

by Chris Thomas

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Photo by Caleb Wright

The Washington Post has a fantastic article up today which illustrates just how strained things are becoming in the upper chamber of Congress. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who largely controls the day-to-day business of the Senate, has had a narrow majority to work with throughout the 115th Congress, but illness and the unpopularity of President Trump’s policies have eroded even that margin.

And as that margin thins, it creates problems for McConnell.

McConnell has been leading a 50–48 Senate of late…. Out of 51 Republicans, McConnell can count on about 45 as mostly reliable votes. McCain, even when he is here, is often ready to buck the leader. Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) break ranks as moderates, while Sens. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Mike Lee (R-Utah) regularly cause headaches from the conservative flank.
And then there’s Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), who has floated back and forth the past nine months between loyal soldier to regular thorn in the side of President Trump and Senate leaders.
On any close vote, these Republicans can gum up the works by withholding their votes until their issue is dealt with.

And that’s exactly what’s happening. Democrats are often united in opposition to controversial legislation or other Senate business and thus McConnell can’t afford to lose even a single Republican vote.

This puts enormous power in the hands of each individual Senator willing to stand up to McConnell and the GOP leadership. Americans who are represented by Republican senators — and especially those from Maine, Alaska, Kentucky, Utah, and Tennessee — have a real opportunity to influence the Senate and, by extension due to the confirmation process, the Presidency.

Tell Congress What You Think

The major legislative push of the 115th Congress is in the rear view mirror but that doesn’t mean that the Senate is on vacation. The day-to-day business of running the country is still happening and Senators can extract real concessions from Leader McConnell for their votes. You can tell your Senator what you think about this opportunity or any other issue by texting RESIST to 50409. Or, if SMS isn’t your style, you can contact your government by talking to Resistbot on Facebook Messenger, Telegram, or Twitter.

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