At least 21 Republican senators will be up for reelection in 2020 — including GOP leader Mitch McConnell — and the first step toward keeping their seats with Trump atop the ticket is avoiding a Trump-fueled primary challenge. Many of them, save for Maine moderate Susan Collins, are among Kavanaugh’s staunchest defenders against what they deem a “smear campaign” of sexual assault allegations and inspection of Kavanaugh’s drinking habits.

These senators, many of whom won for the first time in 2014, say they are merely reflecting the intensity of conservative voters who are outraged at what they view as Kavanaugh’s unfair treatment by liberal Democrats and the media. While many will face token challengers at a minimum, the key is to make sure they are aligned with Trump on key issues — and perhaps nothing is bigger going into the next election cycle than defending Trump’s beleaguered nominee.

“I’ve long believed that we not only need to win fights here, but we need to be seen fighting. That’s important,” said Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas), who added he’s planning to run for reelection but expects a primary opponent.