Barack Obama and Susan Collins in the Oval Office
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First elected to the Senate in 1996, Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) has been described as "one of the last survivors of a once common species of moderate Northeastern Republican ... Collins is considered a bipartisan and centrist member of the Republican Party, and an influential player in the U.S. Senate."
Stephen Dinan, author of "Sacred America, Sacred World" and CEO of The Shift Network, is prone to out-of-the-box thinking, and offers this intriguing surprise ending to the 2016 Presidential Election Debacle:
As the intensity of the election process heats up amidst accelerating revelations about Russian involvement and bi-partisan calls for deeper investigation, it's important that we have a realistic strategy that can prevent Donald Trump from assuming the Presidency, particularly if more damaging information emerges.
The first step is a stalemate in the Electoral College on Dec. 19th. If there is no candidate that reaches 270 votes in the Electoral College, the decision-making goes to the House of Representatives, which is constitutionally required to select from the top three vote-getters in the Electoral College. Specifically, each state delegation will need to align on a candidate and the winning candidate needs a majority of states.- Advertisement -
At this stage, it is very difficult to imagine that the requisite number of House Republicans would swap sides to vote with Democrats for Hillary Clinton. However, it is plausible that if Donald Trump is so badly damaged by what emerges in the days and weeks ahead that a third candidate could gain the support of enough Republicans and most of the House Democrats and thus be elected.
So the core of the strategy needs to be three-fold:
- Have 37 electors currently pledged to Trump abstain or shift their vote to someone else in Monday's Electoral College.
- Ensure that a third candidate receives enough votes in the Electoral College to be in the top three (which can be an entirely new candidate)
- Have Democrats rally around that third candidate and be joined by a sufficient number of House Republicans, thus electing them President.
The key to making this work is to find the most unifying Republican candidate that Democrats can support along with enough Republicans.- Advertisement -
That person would be unlikely to step forward as an official candidate right now because it would be quite risky to do so. It would have to be someone who is known to put country first above party and essentially drafted into the role.
I believe that unifying candidate is Senator Susan Collins, a Republican from Maine, for the following reasons:
First, Senator Susan Collins is one of the most moderate Republicans and represents a typically blue state, so she's used to working in a bi-partisan way. In fact, the Lugar Center ranked her as the most bi-partisan senator in the 114th Congress.
Second, she has 78% approval ratings, the highest of any sitting Republican senator. She understands how Congress works, with twenty years of experience in the Senate.
Third, and perhaps most importantly for the left, she took the courageous step of publicly saying she would not vote for Trump and wrote a bold New York Times article about why.- Advertisement -
She thus fits the bill for someone who puts country above party, is not a Trump supporter, and is willing to take a courageous stand on principal.
Finally, the vast number of Democrats who had been hoping for our first female President would gain some satisfaction that the last glass ceiling was finally broken.
The fact that Senator Collins didn't actually run for the position this year could be a plus because she hasn't created a lot of polarization. In other words, she could be an effective bridge-builder and healer of the extreme divides that would need to be addressed in the aftermath of the kind of electoral drama that would put her into office.