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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 10/6/18

Et Tu Susan?

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When Maine senator Susan Collins toed the Republican Party line and voted in lock step with a group of men who, for political reasons, wanted to ram through the SCOTUS confirmation process of a deeply flawed candidate, she showed her true colors long obfuscated by a veneer of moderateness and independence. In fact, her "yes" vote that effectively handed the life-long judicial tenure to Brett Kavanaugh ended forever Collins's carefully built reputation as an independent, pro-health care, pro-women's rights Republican.

Now with national loathing and seething anger at her decision to put on the court's bench someone that can conceivably threaten women's reproductive rights and promote President Trump's neo-conservative agenda, lets analyze just how Collins came to betray not only her long-held positions on women, especially survivors of sexual abuse, but her finally exposed decades-long hoodwinking of American progressives.

To be absolutely sure, she's now put her very political career in jeopardy since it goes without saying that she'll be challenged -- possibly by more than one Democratic female candidate. Indeed, Collins' ONLY defense against that coming 2020 Democratic tsunami is to fall back on her political brand as a pro-health care, pro-abortion rights independent, who will defend her constituents rights at all costs. But that may not be enough. The rising anger and disappointment over her slick, condescending, holier-than-thou screed on the Senate floor defending Kavanaugh, sweeping aside the valid testimony of his accusers, and parroting President Trump's most odious rally mocking lines attaching Kavanaugh's main accuser, was too revolting to forgive. She can expect political retribution in 2020.

Her former brand that established her heroic vote to save the Affordable Care Act and her consistent support of women's rights now lie in utter tatters and ruins, unsalvageable and wasted -- yet another casualty of Republican hubris, jingoism and the mad rush to please President Trump and "make America white again." She bought into that like a jacked up crack addict looking for his next fix. And the bad news for her is that all of the political polling in Maine makes it clear that Mainers don't want anyone to take away a woman's right to choose -- or their health care. Nearly two-thirds of Maine residents support a woman's right to choose . And the ACA has overwhelming support .

Even more damning for her is the results of a poll in late August that found that if she voted to confirm Brett Kavanaugh, "voters are far less likely to support her in her next election by 16 points -- with 47 percent saying they would be less likely to vote for her and 31 percent more likely." And too, by 22 percentage points (56 to 34) Maine voters don't believe Collins should vote to confirm Kavanaugh until his full record is made public, including 57 percent of Mainers over 65, and 53 percent of independents. These are not good political numbers for Susan Collins.

Make no mistake about it: When she does face the voters, Senator Collins will be held personally responsible and liable for every anti-choice, anti-health care, pro-Trump, anti-immigrant ruling the U.S. Supreme Court will make over the next two years. She's now, by her vote, assumed the responsibility for any anti-choice, anti-health care, pro-Trump votes that Justice Kavanaugh will take, even if he's not in the majority of the court.

The upshot is that Susan Collins has now risked her entire political legacy on Brett Kavanaugh's vague, vapid and dodgy assurances that he will impartially judge all of the facts. But more than that. Collin's "yes" vote now makes her the poster child for political betrayal. So she must know that the one thing that can energize voters, especially opposition party voters, is a sense of betrayal -- real or imagined. Collins has thus created her own personal and perfect political storm.

Maybe Susan Collins was personally promised "something" for her inexplicable vote that essentially betrayed the vast majority of her constituents. I don't know. Or maybe her political strategists convinced her that a vote of Kavanaugh would not hurt her re-election campaign in 2020 since President Trump will "carry her." Again I don't know. Or, maybe the reasoning is that she is likely to face a stiffer challenge from the right in her Republican primary than she would in the general election. Her calculation might also be that she'd better not do anything to further anger the Republican base after her ACA vote. Hence her Kavanaugh vote.

Yes. It is very correct that Collins will face a strong right-wing primary challenge. That's a given in this highly divisive, angry and charged political climate. The majority of hardcore Trump voters in Maine will never trust her again just because she voted to save Obamacare, supports abortion rights, and periodically challenges President Trump. To them, her vote on Kavanaugh -- no matter how much they like and appreciate it - won't make a bloody difference. She'll still be seen as an unreliable Trump vote and a senator who cozies up to Democrats.

We're therefore left with only one scenario. She was either offered "something" in return for handing President Trump a major political victory ahead of the upcoming mid-term elections and/or was read the riot act by the Senate leadership threatening retribution if she defected from the rigid party line.

No matter what Senator Susan Collins is the Benedict Arnold of the SCOTUS Brett Kavanaugh acrimonious political battle. Her vote put him on the Supreme Court. But she did not win. It was pyrrhic political victory and she may pay a very, very heavy price. Et tu Susan?

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MICHAEL DERK ROBERTS Small Business Consultant, Editor, and Social Media & Communications Expert, New York Over the past 20 years I've been a top SMALL BUSINESS CONSULTANT and POLITICAL CAMPAIGN STRATEGIST in Brooklyn, New York, running (more...)

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