Yesterday, I wrote a piece entitled ‘Lisa Murkowski Decides She Wants a Political Future’ outlining her decision to ultimately vote yes for the confirmation of Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett. Though she tried to split the baby by voting against advancing the nomination, in the end, she sought to preserve her chances in 2022 instead of nuking her career.
Susan Collins, on the other hand, has come to a different conclusion, and it’s one that will ultimately cost her any chance of re-election.
More context from @SenatorCollins about why she's voting NO on Barrett's nomination:
"What I have concentrated on is being fair and consistent, and I do not think it is fair nor consistent to have a Senate confirmation vote prior to the election."
— Lindsay Wise (@lindsaywise) October 25, 2020
It’s not fair to have a confirmation vote prior to the election? She realizes there’s always an election coming up, right? So what exactly is the cutoff date and via what constitutional provision is she basing her opinion on? And if there is some arbitrary cutoff for a Senator exercising their elected responsibilities, does that apply to voting on legislation as well? Her reasoning makes no sense because it’s simply her attempting to pander to the left-wing in her state in a desperate attempt to sneak out a victory in November.
Still, her strategy is idiotic. There are multiple ways to lose an election, and sometimes losing is unavoidable no matter what actions a candidate takes. But the way you absolutely do not win an election is by spitting in the face of your base, in this case Republicans in Maine. Voting to confirm Barrett may not have saved Collins, but voting against Barrett will ensure a defeat. Given that, it’s hard to fathom what she thinks she’s accomplishing by playing this game. Perhaps Collins is just worried about her “legacy” at this point?
Frankly, I lost patience with Collins long ago. While I have no issue understanding the arguments for why she’s better than a Democrat being in her seat, at some point, defending her becomes not worth the trouble. On many controversial, major issues, Collins has been a no show for her party and voters far too often. That she voted to confirm Justice Brett Kavanaugh was a minor miracle and likely something that only happened after a lot of threats from Mitch McConnell.
Further, let’s look at the facts of the current situation. Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination is actually supported by a majority of Americans now according to the recent polling. Independents who Collins needs to push her across the finish line support Barrett’s nomination at an even higher clip. If Collins were trying to do what was best for her campaign, wouldn’t it make sense to vote yes and let the chips fall where they may without ticking off the very voters she needs to win? But Collins seems to value her status as a maverick over doing what’s right and politically smart in this case.
For that, her career is now probably over. Good luck to her in her next venture.
(Please follow me on Twitter! @bonchieredstate)