As Susan Collins fights for her political life in what could be a harrowingly close senatorial election in Maine, you would think she would do all she could to convince undecided voters that she deserves yet another term. A campaign’s final weeks can say a lot about a candidate’s agenda, values, and priorities, and Collins’ recent statements and actions only remind Mainers and America why it’s time to write her political obituary.
In the final debate Wednesday night with Democratic candidate Sara Gideon, Collins responded to a question about race by insisting that systemic racism is not a problem in her state, even after the moderator pointed out that close to 95 percent of Mainers identify as white. At the debate a week earlier, Collins boasted about having a strong bipartisan record, yet Gideon reminded the audience of Collins’ passionate support for the far-right Tax Cuts and Jobs Act and her pathetic starring role in getting the perjurious Brett Kavanaugh onto the Supreme Court.
When the Christian Civic League of Maine recently offered its “enthusiastic endorsement,” Collins said in a fawning YouTube interview with the League that she is “truly grateful” for its support. This is an organization that was founded in 1897 for “the suppression of the saloons” and has, in recent decades, waged an ugly war against LGBTQ rights. Just last year, for instance, the League opened an issue of its monthly newsletter with this unconscionable, medieval plea: “We know the Gospel can deliver anyone from any bondage, and that is why we must aggressively and compassionately fight the Conversion Therapy Ban.”
For good measure, Collins has also thrown her support behind two Republican candidates for the Maine state legislature who proudly embrace the lunatic QAnon conspiracy theory. After the media discovered recently that her Dirigo PAC contributed money last month to Kevin Bushey and Brian Redmond’s campaigns, Collins had to go on the defensive. Playing dumb, Collins’ office told Newsweek that Dirigo PAC “was not aware of the activities of these individuals,” a claim that is laughably implausible.
Collins has enabled Donald Trump through her nauseating routine of faking concern and hinting at moderation, then falling in line almost without fail. Even at the final debate, Collins still tried to come across as being all things to all people, ducking the question of whether Trump deserves a second term while claiming she can work with any administration. Collins’ trademark sneaky and wishy-washy behavior, particularly in these final weeks before Election Day, will only help seal the deal for Gideon. We need to get the welcome mat ready for a blue 117th Congress on January 3.