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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 9/11/18

How NOT to Pressure Maine's Senator Collins to Vote Against Kavanaugh for Supreme Court, by Desperate Gambit

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Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine a few days ago stated that the Political Action Committee crowdfunding set up to prevent her from voting to confirm Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh was tantamount to a "bribe," and further made clear her warning to those individuals who had donated in the hopes of influencing her decision. Collins has no opponent in the next election, at this point.

(In an interview with the right-wing Newsmax on Monday, Collins made clear that to her, this campaign was effectively a "bribe," and that she would not permit same in any way to influence her decision.)

After last week's highly charged political histrionics during Kavanaugh's hearings, Collins, as one of two crucial swing Senate votes, is one of the only Senators in power to stop the nominee's confirmation to the Supreme court.

In order to influence Collins' vote, political action committees Maine People's Alliance and Mainers for Accountable Leadership have joined forces with Ady Barkan, a dying father who has advocated tirelessly for health care reform, in order to crowdfund a campaign to influence her. In their websote, they wrote:

"The people of Maine are asking you to be a hero, Senator Collins. Your swing vote could decide whether a rubber stamp for Trump's anti-healthcare, anti-woman, anti-labor agenda gets confirmed to the Supreme Court--costing millions of Americans their healthcare, their right to choose, and their lives."

This author's opinion: In terms of both basic etiquette and basic lobbying psychology, this crowd funded PAC effort is rather bad manners, one likely to crystallize and precipitate Collins voting for Kavanaugh. This kind of approach inevitably backfires. I get the drift on the intent: we will fund your opponent if you don't vote the way we want you to. However, anyone with a rudimentary understanding of how Washington works (and how it doesn't work) will immediately recognize this approach as DOOMED TO BACKFIRE, the exact opposite result of the plan's intent! In any event, barring any unforeseen developments, most likely Kavanaugh will be approved, right down the party lines, but count on one thing for sure: there will be a mighty response against such a deal in November at the polls.

To clarify a bit: If Collins decides to vote no on Kavanaugh's confirmation, none of the 40,000 pledges will be charged to the credit or debit cards used to donate to the cause, and all of the money will be returned to the accounts who donated. If she votes yes, the money, which, on Tuesday, in excess of $1 million, will be donated to the campaign of Collins' future 2020 opponent,.whoever that may be.

"I consider this quid pro quo fundraising to be the equivalent of an attempt to bribe me to vote against Judge Kavanaugh," Collins said. "If I vote against him, the money is refunded to the donors. If I vote for him, the money is given to my opponent for the 2020 race. I think it demonstrates the new lows to which the judge's opponents have stooped."(this rather misses the point that the people who have prepared this effort are Collins' own constituents in Maine!)

Kavanaugh's nomination is fiercely opposed by liberals and pro-abortion rights activists who justifiably fear that his appointment would shift the ideological bent of the high court far enough to the right, finally allowing it to overturn the Roe v. Wade decision as both anti-abortion rights advocates and right-wing Republicans have advocated for years.

On Facebook in my political group, Bernie Sanders: Advice and Strategies to Win in 2020, after I posted an earlier version of this news, Marianne McGouirk wrote:

I think it's a stupid idea and besides that, what does it say about progressives wanting to get money out of politics?

I really don't think this is about progressives wanting to get money out of politics; it is in fact a last ditch, last minute, ill-considered and desperate-to-make a difference folks are really getting carried away with what THEY believe to be hard ball politics, using money as muscle.

Who can blame them in this desperate era with extreme actions taking place that totally defy good manners and savvy politics as we once knew them? Still, a mistake, but maybe a forgivable~~~~like letting the other team know that we can field someone strong when we get up to bat. I don't know the particulars in Maine, right now. "Mainers" are a fiercely independent bunch~~~~look at Angus King, the other senator, also an Independent. This isn't about them or progressives in general; it is about trying to influence a vote, and this is not the way to go about it.

In Liberal Lefty Chatterbox, a Facebook group:

Bob Jones

While l appreciate (meaning 'see value') in both your opinions, l take a different tack. I like to think of Kavaungh's ascension to the top bench as a "place holder" for some futher progressive justice. I have every confidence he can and will be impeached (for perjury) and removed after the blue wave this Fall. So let him advance!

Marilyn Davis

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Early in the 2016 Primary campaign, I started a Facebook group: Bernie Sanders: Advice and Strategies to Help Him Win! As the primary season advanced, we shifted the focus to advancing Bernie's legislation in the Senate, particularly the (more...)

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