'The dam could break': Nate Silver thinks Trump's 'national emergency' may be in real peril from Senate GOP
President Donald Trump (Gage Skidmore/Flickr)

Is President Donald Trump's decision to fund his long-promised border wall by bypassing Congress and declaring a "national emergency" what will finally push many Republicans to oppose him?


Polling expert Nate Silver, who has written an analysis of where things stand with Republican senators with journalist Perry Bacon Jr., thinks it very well could be.

In their unofficial "whip count" of Republican senators, Silver and Bacon find that there is already enough opposition to easily pass the 50-vote threshold necessary to send the bill to the president's desk, as the resolution being planned by House Democrats does not require 60 votes to invoke cloture on debate.

"By FiveThirtyEight’s count, at least eight GOP senators — Tennessee’s Lamar Alexander, Maine’s Susan Collins, Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski, Kentucky’s Rand Paul, Florida’s Marco Rubio, Nebraska’s Ben Sasse, North Carolina’s Thom Tillis and Pennsylvania’s Pat Toomey — have said they oppose the national emergency declaration," they write.

In theory, if every GOP senator who is opposed to the emergency order votes with all Democrats in the Senate, the measure would garner 55 votes.

But what happens if Trump vetoes the measure? Silver and Bacon write that it would be significantly harder to get a 67-vote majority in the Senate to override the president's veto, but they don't think it's impossible.

"In the Senate, 67 votes would be needed to override his veto, meaning 20 Republicans would need to break with the president," they write. "As noted above, there are more than 20 Senate Republicans wary of this move. So it’s at least theoretically possible that the dam could break; the fissures run deeper than the typical issues on which only a handful of Republicans like Collins and Murkowski are considering a vote against the president."

Read the whole analysis here.