Some of you have taken one look at the headline of this article, and you’re already revving up your fingers to type “I don’t trust Susan Collins” or “of course she’ll vote yes” in the comment section. Stop doing that crap. Seriously. As I’ve been trying to explain for years, politics is not about trust or doing the right thing, at least for the Republicans. It’s entirely about leverage, and nothing else – and Susan Collins just revealed that she’s scared to death of the leverage that we have against her.
Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh was literally chosen by Trump’s far-right financial puppet masters in the Heritage Foundation. But Trump wanted to create the appearance of legitimacy, so he invited several Senators to his announcement ceremony. Every invited Democrat refused to show up, including the moderate ones, which tells you that Trump is probably looking at zero Democratic votes in the Senate. He also invited Susan Collins, who didn’t show up either.
This alone tells us what we already more or less knew: Susan Collins understands that this vote is a landmine for her. If she votes “yes” she’ll have a 0.0% chance of getting reelected to the Senate in four years in a moderate state like Maine. Four years is a long time, but voters will never, ever forget it if she casts the deciding vote that overturns Roe v Wade. So while she would like to please the big-money conservative donors, all the money in the world won’t get her reelected if she votes for this Kavanaugh. Her career will be over.
Susan Collins is not an ethical person. If she were, she wouldn’t have voted for the republican tax scam. But she was gambling that four years from now, that vote may be largely forgotten. She knows that voting to end Roe v. Wade is an entirely different ballgame. This is also entirely different from the Neil Gorsuch nomination, which was not going to change the Roe v Wade math. The Kavanaugh nomination will. Collins’ career will die the second she votes “yes” and she knows it.
John McCain is absent from the Senate due to his cancer. If he doesn’t show up for the vote, and if the Republicans lose one additional vote such as Collins, that’s all it’ll take. The Kavanaugh confirmation process will take up a lot of time, and if it ultimately fails, Trump and the GOP won’t have time to ram another pick through before the Democrats can take over the Senate in the midterms.
Moderate weaklings like Susan Collins don’t focus on things like right or wrong. Instead they constantly play defense with regard to whatever they think will hurt them the least. If you want Collins to vote no, stop worrying about convincing her that it’s the right thing to do. Instead, make clear to her that if she votes yes, her Senate seat will become someone else’s. Not only will Maine’s moderate voters destroy her in four years, the entire nation will fund her Democratic opponent to help ensure she loses. Collins just showed us that she’s on the run when it comes to this pick. We absolutely can bully her into voting no – not because it’s the right thing, but because she’s a coward who fears us.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report