Donald Trump bulled his way through the presidential campaign, breaking rules and shunning traditions, leaving damaged institutions like the independent press and both political parties in his wake.

As his administration takes shape, it’s clear that he plans to bring the same approach to the White House.

But we are counting on one institution, the United States Senate, to fulfill its historical role as a check on executive power. We are encouraged that Maine’s senators, Susan Collins and Angus King, take that responsibility seriously and will be ready to stand up to a new administration.

Whether Trump is naming controversial nominees to important posts or pushing through complex legislation, both Maine senators will be in a position to exert influence

Trump comes to office with what appears to be all of the keys to power. Republicans have a strong majority in the House, and there is a vacancy in the evenly divided Supreme Court that the new president is likely to fill shortly after taking office.

Republicans also have a majority in the Senate, but that does not mean Trump will control it. On many important matters, legislation will need 60 votes, so that some Democrats or an independent like King would need to be on board for bills to move forward.

And even in matters like repeal of the Affordable Care Act, which can be pushed through with a straight majority vote, it would take only three Republican defectors to stop a bill, giving a senator like Collins tremendous leverage.

Despite belonging to the same party, Collins has little in common with Trump. In August, she wrote an op-ed first published in The Washington Post in which she said that “a constant stream of cruel comments” directed at people who could not defend themselves “revealed Mr. Trump as unworthy of being our president.”

In a meeting Monday with the Editorial Board of the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram, she made clear that her differences with Trump are not just a matter of style.

She expressed deep reservations about the approach that members of her party are using to repeal the Affordable Care Act, or “Obamacare,” without having another program in place. She questioned whether adequate concern has been paid to the people who are currently buying insurance on the exchanges (including 84,000 Mainers) or what would happen to insurance markets if federal subsidies are suddenly eliminated. She repeated her opposition to defunding Planned Parenthood as part of a health care overhaul, a position that led her to vote against an ACA repeal bill last year.

Collins has ideas for bills to improve health care access and control costs, but she is not interested in rushing a package through Congress that would create real problems for real people just to make a political point.

Thomas Jefferson is supposed to have asked George Washington why he wanted both a House and Senate in the new national government.

“Why do you pour your coffee into a saucer?” the father of our country is said to have asked.

“To cool it,” Jefferson replied.

“Even so,” rejoined Washington, “we pour our legislation into the senatorial saucer to cool it.”

Historians say that the conversation probably never happened, but the story survives because it tells us how the Founders’ system of sharing power between institutions is supposed to work.

By all indications, things are about to get hot in Washington, and that system we’ve inherited is about to get a real test.