The Immoderate Susan Collins: After a long career voting across the aisle, why did the Maine senator gamble her legacy on Trump?
Spoiler: The article doesn’t really answer that question. It’s one of those dealing with why people who might have been principled in another time, and who like to present themselves as principled, have bent the knee to our would-be king.
It’s a good article, though, with lots of material for thinking about that question. Some excerpts:
In the span of Trump’s administration, Collins has gone from being broadly beloved, understood as one of the more humane and thoughtful Republicans in her party, to being widely reviled, regarded by Democrats as a loyal foot soldier to her ever-more-extreme right-wing cohort and party leader and by some members of that cohort as an unreliable waffler.
It’s a recent thing, definitely since Trump was elected.
Multiple organizations that had previously endorsed or supported Collins have turned on her for the first time: NARAL. The League of Conservation Voters. Planned Parenthood, which gave the officially pro-choice Republican an award as recently as 2017, in January endorsed her leading Democratic opponent, Sara Gideon. In the final quarter of 2019, Gideon, the Speaker of the Maine House who has not even won the primary yet (she is running in a big field which includes Democratic Socialist Betsy Sweet, Bre Kidman, Tiffany Bond, and Ross LaJeunesse) raised $3.5 million — $1.2 million more than Collins. The race is expected to ultimately draw close to $50 million, the most expensive in the history of Maine.
Former senator Harry Reid recalled how during Obama’s first term, when he was majority leader, “one of the first things we had to do was get a stimulus bill passed.” Reid said he immediately went to Collins, who agreed to help. The stimulus bill that passed, Reid told me, “wasn’t as good as Obama wanted it to be” (in part because Collins worked to reduce its scope before she signed up), “but the reason I give you that example is to show you how she’s changed.”
Anyhow, read the whole thing.