Things are definitely not going Susan Collins’ way. Sure, she flip flopped on impeachment any number of times between now and last week to appease Donald Trump, but being that she’s the least popular senator in America right now, she’s taking heat however she sways – even if it means a little extra political convenience. While a number of unpopular senators constantly get re-elected (look at Ted Cruz, for example), Collins’ problem isn’t so much that her popularity is going down the drain by the day, but that she’s also losing her basic support.
A few of the die-hard Trumpers might reward her for voting for Brett Kavanaugh, but that vote may have cost her in the long-run, and not just because it has the potential to scare off more moderate leaning independents. As recently as 2017, Sen. Collins has earned praise from Planned Parenthood, particularly when she voted against repealing Obamacare – a move that earned her the coveted Barry Goldwater Award, an award typically given to pro-choice Republicans who refuse to toe the party line on women’s healthcare. She even received their endorsement in 2002 when she ran for re-election and has been hailed as an “outspoken champion for women’s health.”
The vote for Kavanaugh, based on a shaky reassurance that he would recognize Roe v. Wade as established law, was enough for Planned Parenthood to instead endorse Collins’ well-funded Democratic opponent, Sara Gideon. They’re hardly the first organization to switch their support either, with the League of Conservation Voters abandoning Collins due to her consistently pro-Trump voting record.
A spokesman for Collins’ campaign decided to defend her by saying that it was in fact Planned Parenthood that has gotten too radical for Collins. This may have handed Democrats a winning strategy in Maine – making them focus the campaign yet again on healthcare. As for Collins’ latest drop in support, expect her to suddenly be a bit less open to what Mitch McConnell has to say.
James Sullivan is the assistant editor of Brain World Magazine and an advocate of science-based policy making