At least a half-dozen senators are likely to run, a dynamic that Mitch McConnell jokingly said will be ‘fun to watch.’

The biggest 2020 campaign stage isn’t Iowa or New Hampshire. It’s the United States Senate.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer just endured a brutal midterm election, but now he’s in for an equally challenging task: managing the half-dozen or more presidential hopefuls in his caucus jockeying for position. That group of liberal White House aspirants is on track to be the caucus’ most closely watched, and potentially influential, bloc.

From household names like Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren to lesser-known progressives such as Jeff Merkley, Democratic senators eyeing the White House will spend the next two years doing everything they can to market themselves as the party’s best hope for salvation from Donald Trump.

Prominent liberals this year have mostly refrained from theatrics on the Senate floor against legislative compromises or Trump nominees — grandstanding that might have won kudos from the base but put red-state Democrats on the spot. But with the election over, some senators already worry that the chamber will get bogged down as it becomes a proving ground for the 2020 Democratic primary.

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