It’s one of the most straightforward things in all of politics, yet it’s also one of the most consistently mischaracterized and widely misunderstood. Why do Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski sometimes stick a knife in their own Republican Party’s back, while other times adhering strictly to the party line? It literally comes down to one word – and if you want to defeat the Supreme Court nomination of Brett Kavanaugh, you have to understand the logic that these two Senators always fall back on.
Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski proved they’re willing to screw over the Republican Party when they cast crucial votes to save Obamacare. Collins and Murkowski also proved they’re willing to screw over America when they cast definitive votes to pass the tax scam. So what’s the real story here? Simple: this is 100% about their own reelection prospects. There are never any other factors.
These two Senators would have loved to have been able to please their wealthy conservative donors by killing Obamacare, but they calculated that it would cost them too many votes in their own eventual reelection efforts. Then when the tax scam came along, they calculated that this time they could get away with pleasing their wealthy donors without losing too many votes in the process. When it comes to Kavanaugh, it’s the exact same equation. If they vote against him, they’ll lose a lot of big-ticket donors. If they vote for him, they’ll lose a whole lot of votes.
It doesn’t matter at all what you think of Susan Collins or Lisa Murkowski. It doesn’t matter whether you “trust” them. When it comes to the Brett Kavanaugh vote, they will do what they always do: they’ll pull out a calculator and try to figure out whether their own reelection odds will be impacted by casting an unpopular vote vs pissing off their own donors. There are no other factors.
Collins and Murkowski are not nihilists who are willing to throw their own careers away just to spite you. They’re rational villains who always do what’s best for themselves, and they couldn’t care less if it helps or hurts anyone else. They don’t care how it impacts you, and they don’t care how it impacts their own party. Mitch McConnell claims he has the votes to confirm Kavanaugh. He can’t possibly know that. Collins and Murkowski are going to do what’s best for themselves, not for the GOP.
If you want to force these two Senators to vote “no” on Brett Kavanaugh, it’s a straightforward proposition. Call their offices on the phone and politely but firmly explain to them that if they vote “yes” you’ll spend the next two years of your life ensuring that they lose reelection. Explain how you’ll travel to their state and go door to door. Explain how much money you’ll raise against them. Influence the math on the cold blooded calculations that they’re making about reelection. Either that, or you can just sit back and rage on social media about how much you “don’t trust” Collins and Murkowski, which accomplishes nothing whatsoever.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report