Next election, Donald Trump is on the ballot in more than one spot. Republicans up for re-election will have to either formally renounce his undemocratic vision and deny their associations with him or embrace his corruption and demented vision of power. The only other option is to simply retire in 2020 – a path already taken by Republicans who know their career is over whether they choose one way or the other.
Whether or not the GOP-dominated Senate votes to convict, Trump is still the focal issue next year – and they’ll pay for it one way or the other. In other words, no senator will be able to pass as a moderate – they’re either a right-wing extremist or (to Trump’s base that mostly makes up the party) a Republican in name only.
Sen. Susan Collins is one of several troubled senators running for re-election, since she’s running in the particularly moderate state of Maine and facing a formidable, well-funded opponent. She has to posture herself as a moderate – highlighting her half-hearted vote against repealing Obamacare, while still pandering to Trump’s shrinking base. Unfortunately, passing as a moderate just got much more difficult for her, as the League of Conservation Voters passed on endorsing her re-election this year, and instead backed her opponent Sara Gideon.
You might not think that’s much of a big deal – but the LCV is one of the largest conservation groups in the country with over two million members, and endorsed Collins for re-election in both 2008 and 2014. In addition, offshore drilling is of serious concern among the state’s voters, and the League sees Gideon as a more capable fighter than Collins. As the election draws nearer, we are likely to see more so-called moderates like Collins be outed for who they really are and lose high profile endorsements they once enjoyed in the past.
James Sullivan is the assistant editor of Brain World Magazine and an advocate of science-based policy making