Ms. McCaskill is one of 10 Senate Democrats from states won by Mr. Trump who are up for re-election next year. Republicans are eager for another chance to unseat her after their debacle in 2012, when the Republican nominee, Todd Akin, was doomed by his comment about “legitimate rape.” Her potential challengers include Representative Ann Wagner and Missouri’s attorney general, Josh Hawley.
Ms. McCaskill warned the crowd in Sikeston, where conservatism runs deep in the southeastern Bootheel region of the state, of the coming deluge of advertising, which she predicted would not be flattering to her: “I’m going to look like one big old ugly fat cow for about 18 months on your television screen.”
She is part of an involuntary club of red-state Democrats who are now being tugged in two directions. Left-leaning constituents and others remain aghast at Mr. Trump and want him to be resisted at every turn. But senators like Ms. McCaskill need a much broader coalition and cannot afford to alienate too many voters who helped send Mr. Trump to the White House.
Here in New Madrid County, Ms. McCaskill has a difficult case to make. Mr. Trump won about 72 percent of the vote.
One question at the meeting emphasized that challenge: Ms. McCaskill was asked whether she thought the large number of Trump voters in Missouri would hurt her re-election chances.
She used the moment to show how she would try to navigate the distance between her own opposition to Mr. Trump and the views of his many fans in her state.
“I’ll tell you one thing that drives me crazy: my colleagues in Washington that are from places like California and New York who wanted to look down their nose at Trump voters,” Ms. McCaskill said. “I think that’s a huge mistake.”
She told the crowd of more than 100 people that voters who supported Mr. Trump “wanted somebody who would disrupt what’s going on.”
“I’m humbled by that election,” she said. “I think I owe those people my time. I think I owe them my respect.”
Even with that conciliatory sentiment, Ms. McCaskill did not exempt Mr. Trump from criticism.
At another town hall-style meeting, in Hannibal, the boyhood home of Mark Twain, Ms. McCaskill bluntly told her constituents how Mr. Trump’s policies would hurt them.
Speaking at the Hannibal Nutrition Center, which provides meals to seniors, Ms. McCaskill warned about what would happen if Mr. Trump’s proposed budget became reality: “This place is out of business.”
“One trip to Mar-a-Lago pays for Meals on Wheels in the state of Missouri for two years,” she said, drawing applause. “One trip. So, seriously, Mr. President, can you stay home one weekend so we can hold on to Meals on Wheels and keep people out of nursing homes and keep them in their homes?”
You can read the rest at the New York Times.