Republican Richard Burr Voted to Convict Trump But He Opposes 1/6 Commission

The GOP enabled Donald Trump for 4 years. But following the end of his term, 7 Republican senators crossed party lines to convict Trump of impeachment.

The senate will soon vote on holding a 1/6 commission to investigate the lead-up to the Capitol insurrection. And in order for the commission to happen, 10 GOP senators would have to support the message. The odds of that happening took a hit today when Richard Burr said he would vote against the measure. read more

The First Openly Transgender Nominee has Just Been Confirmed by the Senate

Joe Biden made a number of promises while campaigning for President. He told Americans that he would oversee 100 vaccinations in his first 100 days as President. He did it in only 58 days.

Biden also promised a stimulus plan that would not only get direct payments out to Americans but also fund small businesses and state projects. That bill was passed through congress in early March. read more

Senators Klobuchar and Collins Reintroduce Legislation to Fund Cybersecurity Training for Election Officials

Former President Donald Trump’s administration knocked down cybersecurity bills more than once despite concerns that foreign adversaries were once again interfering in the United Stateselections. Amid all of this, calls to fund cybersecurity training for election officials intensified. Now, thanks to Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine), a bill to do just that has been reintroduced. The two senators introduced the bill in 2019 but it did not advance in the Senate. read more

Susan Collins Could be the Latest Senator to be Censured for Trump Conviction Vote

Susan Collins spent much of the last four years being very concerned about the actions of Donald Trump. Sometimes, she would act, like when she voted against a plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

Other times, she chose not to punish Trump. She voted to acquit the ex-president during his first impeachment trial, saying that he’d learned his lesson. She also went back on her word during the Amy Coney Barrett Supreme Court nomination process. read more

Chuck Schumer on Censuring Trump: He Deserves Conviction and Nothing Less

Schumer accuses White House of writing impeachment trial rules

A few weeks ago, it seemed that Democrats might have the votes needed to convict Donald Trump in his upcoming impeachment trial. Senators like Mitt Romney and Lisa Murkowski seemed likely to vote against the 45th President.

Mitch McConnell, then seemed like he might be willing to convict Trump as well. It doesn’t seem, however, that Democrats would have the 17 votes they need from Republicans.

Tim Kaine (D-VA) and Susan Collins (R-ME) created a bi-partisan compromise where Trump would be censured. Like with impeachment, if Trump were censured, he would be barred from ever running for public office again.

The votes don’t seem to be there for censure. Kaine said of the measure, “We don’t have enough support on the Republican side because they don’t want to bar Trump from running from office, and I don’t have enough support on the Democratic side because for most of my colleagues it’s impeachment or nothing.”

Sen. Kaine on censuring former Pres. Trump:

"We don't have enough support on the Republican side because they don't want to bar Trump from running from office, and I don't have enough support on the Democratic side because for most of my colleagues it's impeachment or nothing." read more

Susan Collins is Concerned That Joe Biden is Rushing Stimulus Bill

For the last 4 years, Republicans had control of the Senate and the White House. They ruthlessly used that power pushing though a big tax cut and 3 Supreme Court justices.

Now that the shoe is on the other foot, though, Republicans are pleading for unity. Joe Biden‘s first major goal is pushing through a COVID-19 stimulus package.

Republicans, though, don’t seem to have much interest in Biden’s proposal. So while the President talks about the importance of working together, Democrats may have to proceed without the GOP. And that’s upsetting to Susan Collins.

The Maine senator often sat on the fence during Trump’s 4 years. She often said she was concerned, but then went along with the ex-President’s plan.

Collins used similar language when asked about the possibility that Democrats push a bill though via budget reconciliation. She said Biden slowing down talk about budget reconciliation, “

would be very helpful. And I think it’s what he believes. he president is sincere in his commitment to bipartisanship. That’s the way he always operated when he was a senator. And from my conversations with him since the election read more

Opinion: COVID Relief Fiasco Reveals McConnellism Rivals Trumpism In Disregard for Americans’ Welfare

Trump - McConnell

Americans have been living under a political system arguably best characterized as a tyranny of the minority for some time.  Certainly, for the past four years the nation has suffered the insidious rule of a president who lost the popular vote by 3 million tallies in the 2016 election, just as the nation was hornswoggled into a devastatingly costly war—in human, financial, and geopolitical terms—and financial disaster from 2000 to 2008 by the Bush-Cheney regime, which also sneaked into office having lost the popular vote.  And even when the majority vote was able to elect Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012, it had to do so in the context of still-existent gerrymandered districting that meant in many cases, in down-ballot races, Republican candidates could win local elections in states that still featured an overwhelming Democratic electorate. read more

Believe it or Not, Susan Collins is Concerned About Trump’s Refusal to Accept Election Results

A lot of Republicans are coming off a very rough week. To the surprise of many, however, Susan Collins is not one of them.

Despite being considered one of the most vulnerable incumbent senators, Collins handily won her race against Sara Gideon. And when the Maine senator was asked about her take on Donald Trump‘s refusal to accept election results, she shocked no one with her wishy-washy take.

Collins began by referring to Joe Biden as the apparent victor. She also said that Trump and his supporters, “have questions about the results in certain states.”

The Maine senator continued:

“There is a process in place to challenge those results and, consistent with that process, the President should be afforded the opportunity to do so. I know that many are eager to have certainty right now. While we have a clear direction, we should continue to respect that process. I urge people to be patient. The process has not failed our country in more than 200 years, and it is not going to fail our country this year.” read more

McConnell Says Control of Senate is 50/50, Polls Say Republican Odds Are Much Worse Than That

Mitch McConnell will hold Trump impeachment trial

In 2014, the Republican party took control of the senate. They have used that majority to wield incredible power over Democrats. The GOP led Senate was able to push through a massive tax break for the rich. They were also able to prevent Donald Trump from being impeached in early 2020.

But most importantly for the party, they’ve exerted massive influence over the Supreme Court. The Republicans successfully blocked the nomination of Merrick Garland in 2016. They’ve also placed three new justices, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett.

Democrats have long eyed 2020 to regain control. While Liberals enjoyed a wave election in 2018, they weren’t able to gain control of the senate. 2020 presents a much better map for them.

Mitch  McConnell, the Senate Majority Leader, has presented control of the senate as being up for grabs. He said said a recent Kentucky campaign event, “It’s a 50-50 proposition. We have a lot of exposure. This is a huge Republican class. … There’s dogfights all over the country.”

The Kentucky senator continued,

“If you look at the Democratic Party today, you ought to be frightened. We’re fighting for our way of life.” read more

Ranked-Choice Voting Will Likely Decide Maine’s 2020 Senate Race

Ranked-choice voting will likely decide Maine’s 2020 Senate race between Maine House Speaker Sara Gideon (D) and Senator Susan Collins (R), according to a new poll released today by Colby College that shows the two candidates “nearly in a dead heat.”

Gideon has a three-point lead, with 46.6 percent of the vote, according to the poll. Collins has 43.4 percent of the vote. The poll also found that Independent candidates Lisa Savage and Max Linn have received 4.7 percent and 1.7 percent of the vote respectively.

“After more than $160 million coming in from all corners of the country, massive media attention, and untold hours of hard work, the race will probably come down to an age-old truism,” said Dan Shea, Colby College Government Department chair and lead researcher on the poll. “It’s all about turnout.” read more

Trump Attacks Susan Collins for Not Supporting Amy Coney Barrett’s SCOTUS Nomination

Trump refuses to say why he blocked USPS from sending out masks

Earlier this morning, President Donald Trump wrote a tweet singling out Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine), who faces a troubling path to reelection.

There is a nasty rumor out there that @SenatorCollins of Maine will not be supporting our great United States Supreme Court Nominee,” Trump wrote, referencing Amy Coney Barrett, who just wrapped four days of highly contentious hearings. “Well, she didn’t support Healthcare or my opening up 5000 square miles of Ocean to Maine, so why should this be any different. Not worth the work!”

There is a nasty rumor out there that @SenatorCollins of Maine will not be supporting our great United States Supreme Court Nominee. Well, she didn’t support Healthcare or my opening up 5000 square miles of Ocean to Maine, so why should this be any different. Not worth the work! read more

Susan Collins Whines That Her Opponent Sara Gideon Is Raising Too Much Money and Will Do Anything To Win

When Donald Trump was elected president, it was hoped that Maine senator Susan Collins would help keep him in line. But the moderate Republican has far too often given the president a  pass. Especially offensive when she refused to vote for impeachment saying that she was sure Trump had learned his lesson.

And thanks to her actions, Collins is now facing a very tough re-election bid against Democrat Sara Gideon. The troubled incumbent senator lashed out at her opponent during a recent interview with Politico.

Collins first complained that her opponent was running a dirty campaign. She told Politico, “She will say or do anything to try to win. This race is built on a foundation of falsehoods — and trying to convince the people of Maine that somehow, I am no longer the same person.”

The long-serving Maine senator is also angry that Gideon, who was born in Rhode Island, is trying to take her spot. Collins continued, “

I grew up in Caribou, I’ve lived in Bangor for 26 years. My family’s been in Maine for generations. She’s been in Maine for about 15 years and lives in Freeport. That’s a big difference in our knowledge of the state.” read more

Susan Collins: Donald Trump’s Stimulus Decision is a “Huge Mistake”

Earlier today, it was revealed that Donald Trump wanted to wait on passing a coronavirus relief bill until after the election occurs. The president would like to concentrate on his Supreme Court nomination of Amy Coney Barrett for right now.

The decision will likely seriously imperil Trump’s re-election bid. But he’s not in it alone. The stimulus punt is also likely to hurt a number of Republican congresspeople and senators who share the ballot with him.

Susan Collins may be the most affected of all the incumbent lawmakers. She is one of two GOP senators who have said that she won’t vote to confirm Coney Barrett in an election year.

The long-serving senator said in a statment, “

Waiting until after the election to reach an agreement on the next Covid-19 relief package is a huge mistake.  I have already been in touch with the Secretary of the Treasury, one of the chief negotiators, and with several of my Senate colleagues.” read more

Collins Behind by Four Points in Maine Senate Race

Senator Susan Collins (R) is behind by four points in the Maine Senate race against her rival, Democratic Maine House Speaker Sara Gideon.

According to a new poll released by Colby College, Gideon leads with 45 percent compared to Collins’s 41 percent. Six percent of voters remain undecided.

A New York Times/Siena College poll released last week showed Collins was five points behind, with Gideon leading Collins 49 percent to 44 percent. 45 percent of voters say they view Giden favorably compared to 40 percent who say they view her unfavorably. 50 percent of voters say they have a favorable view of Collins; 47 percent say otherwise.

Collins has faced considerable opposition since 2018, when she voted to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court despite widely publicized hearings in relation to allegations that he sexually assaulted Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, a former classmate. Her popularity took a further hit after she voted to acquit President Donald Trump following a heated impeachment process.

“I believe that the President has learned from this case. The President has been impeached. That’s a pretty big lesson. I believe that he will be much more cautious in the future,” she said at the time.

Later, Collins said she believes a better word would have been “hopes.”

Susan Collins Facing Uphill Climb to Reelection in Maine

Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine) is facing an uphill climb to reelection in her state, according to the latest New York Times/Siena College poll. The poll shows she is five points behind Sara Gideon, her Democratic opponent.

Gideon, the Democratic Speaker in Maine’s House of Representatives, leads Collins 49 percent to 44 percent. 45 percent of voters say they view Giden favorably compared to 40 percent who say they view her unfavorably.

50 percent of voters say they have a favorable view of Collins; 47 percent say otherwise.

Collins’s strongest voting bloc is comprised of voters between the ages of 45 and 65. She leads Gideon by four points here: 49 percent to 45 percent. Gideon has more support among voters between the ages of 18 and 44 and has a 19-point lead: 56 percent to 37 percent.

Collins has faced considerable opposition since 2018, when she voted to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court despite widely publicized hearings in relation to allegations that he sexually assaulted Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, a former classmate. Her popularity took a further hit after she voted to acquit President Donald Trump following a heated impeachment process.

“I believe that the President has learned from this case. The President has been impeached. That’s a pretty big lesson. I believe that he will be much more cautious in the future,” she said at the time.

Later, Collins said she believes a better word would have been “hopes.”

Vulnerable Republican Senator Susan Collins Refuses to Endorse Donald Trump

Susan Collins has refused to formally endorse Donald Trump for president in 2020. She’s withheld her endorsement citing her own difficult reelection bid this November.

The Republican senator for Maine is seen as vulnerable this cycle and her association with the President has hurt her. However, refusing to endorse Trump is a big move.

Collins endorsed Trump in 2016 but now says she’s focused on her own election.

“I was not up for reelection,” Collins said of 2016.

“I didn’t have my own race to worry about at that point.”

However, Collins did endorse the late Senator John McCain in 2008 when she was up for reelection. Her explanation for this discrepancy is unlikely to please the President.

“As I said, I have a difficult race,” she said. “And I am concentrating my efforts on that race.”

“In addition, I have known John McCain since the 1970s, when I worked for [former senator] Bill Cohen,” Collins said.

“We were very close friends,” she said of McCain.

Follow Darragh Roche on Twitter


Susan Collins’s Democratic Challenger Outraises Her in Maine Senate Race

Maine Democrat Sara Gideon (D), the state’s House Speaker, has outraised incumbent Senator Susan Collins (R) in Maine’s Senate race in the first quarter of 2020 while relying predominantly on small donors.

According to new filings with the Federal Election Commission (FEC), Giden raised about $7.1 million in the first quarter of 2020. Collins, by contrast, raised $2.4 million. Gideon finishes March with $4.6 million cash on hand. Collins has $1 million, with $5.6 million cash on hand.

Maine’s Senate Race is one of the state’s most hotly contested, and polls indicate Gideon and Collins are neck and neck. The nonpartisan Cook Political Report, an election forecaster, rates the race as a “toss-up.”

Collins’s Senate seat became vulnerable following liberal opposition to her support for the Trump administration, including her vote to confirm Associate Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh despite the allegations of sexual assault against him. She also received heated criticism for her vote not to impeach President Donald Trump on charges that he abused power and obstructed Congress.

Although Gideon still has to win a primary race against two other Democrats to secure the party’s nomination, she has managed to outraise her intraparty opponents. She also has the endorsement of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

The news comes just as FEC filings showed that Jamie Harrison, a South Carolina Democrat who is challenging incumbent Republican Senator Lindsey Graham for his Senate seat, outraised him during the first quarter of 2020.

A 2009 Vote Against Pandemic Funding Comes Back to Haunt Senator Susan Collins

In 2009, Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine) voted against the Obama administration’s attempt to include funding for pandemic flu preparations in its economic stimulus plan. In light of the coronavirus pandemic, which has claimed the lives of at least 155 Americans nationwide, that vote has come back to haunt her.

“It is the regular appropriations process that is the appropriate vehicle for considering funding for many of these programs that, while worthwhile, do not boost our economy,” Collins said on the Senate floor in April 2009, citing her reasons for demanding the cuts.

The move was at the time criticized by an unidentified Democratic aide interviewed by Roll Call who said, “The fact is we had $870 million in the stimulus conference report for things like antiviral drugs, but it was dropped at the behest of people like Sen. Collins who said it was not stimulus. “[Health and Human Services] HHS does appear to be well-supplied, but the fact is this was a missed opportunity to be prepared for a crisis like this.”

Collins later put out a statement saying she agreed with pandemic flu funding despite striking it from the stimulus plan, even as a pandemic of H1N1 influenza, otherwise known as swine flu, claimed more than 100 deaths nationwide.

And now that the coronavirus has taken the United States by storm, members of the public, news reporters, and even Betsy Sweet, who is challenging Collins for her Senate seat, are reminding Collins of her prior vote all while she updates her constituents over the last week about her efforts to keep the people of Maine “as safe and as healthy as possible.”

I had forgotten my own reporting that @SenatorCollins stripped $870M for pandemic preparations out of the 2009 stimulus. read more

Opinion: Trump Attacks Own Base by Slashing Funding to Rural School Districts

We hear these days about the importance of the African American vote within the Democratic base, and rightly so. This base has played a key role in the Democratic primaries and, according to all indications, will play a key role in determining the Democratic presidential candidate.

Democratic candidates would also be wise as well as both humane and politically responsible, though, to pay attention to another population that, while historically endorsing Trump, has been nonetheless largely ignored by Trump, and is in dire need of attention and support. With some much needed attention from Democratic candidates, these voters could certainly make the difference necessary to defeat Trump in key states like Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania.

And it is also a vital matter of standing up for the equal rights of all and serving all constituencies, making particular efforts to serve the least visible among us in cultivating a democratic society and economy.

I’m talking about rural America, which isn’t, of course, exclusively white but which is nonetheless a white majority–and unquestionably, and more to the point, a forgotten one.

What is one of the latest key developments in terms of Trump turning his back on rural–and, really, working-class–America?

Trump’s Department of Education, led by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, is up to its old tricks of cutting funding for public education and doing its best to make public education less rather than more accessible to Americans and making the nation’s public education system increasingly unequal.

And these cuts are targeted to hit rural America, a typical stronghold of Trump support, the hardest.

This time, through what Andrew Naughtie, reporting for The Independent, calls “an under-the-radar bookkeeping change at the Department of Education,” DeVos’s squad is setting up over 800 public schools across the nation’s primarily rural school districts to lose thousands of dollars per school in key funding. These cuts will cost these schools everything from reading specialists, to computers, to counselors, to language lessons for non-English speakers and more.  Really, we are talking about the basics.

How can these under-resourced schools offer an education equal to what students receive elsewhere in America and prepare their students to compete in our economy and make their most meaningful contributions to American society?

And what’s more, as Erica L. Green reports in The New York Times, rural schools are already, according to advocates, “the most underfunded and ignored” in the country, even though they serve nearly one in seven public school students.  These students, according to a report from the Rural School and Community Trust, “are largely invisible to state policymakers because they live in states where education policy is dominated by highly visible urban problems.”

What has happened exactly?

Well, public schools have previously been able to demonstrate they qualify for the Rural and Low-Income School Program by counting the number of students who qualify for federally subsidized free and reduced-price meals in order to determine poverty rates in the schools. The Department of Education, however, recently determined many of these schools that had been receiving funding had qualified erroneously, according to the Census Bureau’s Small Area Income and Poverty Estimates. To qualify for funds, schools must demonstrate 20% of their area’s students live in poverty. Using this census data is less accurate than actually using the data of who actually is attending a school.

The push-back against this policy move has been decidedly and firmly bi-partisan.  Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine indicated that this change would mean 100 of the 149 schools in Maine previously receiving funding from this program would no longer qualify, costing its schools $1.2 million in funding.  Democratic Senator Jon Tester of Montana underscored that 220 of its most remote schools would lose some $400,000 in funding.

The Trump administration is not making life better for our rural populations, despite the hopes of advocates that it would, given these regions’ electoral support for Trump.

Alan Richard, for example, a board member of the Rural School and Community Trust, a non-profit advocacy group, told The New York Times, “Rural education advocates definitely hoped that a president elected, in part, because of rural and small-town voters would pay more attention to rural children. Even after the last election, with all the attention to rural America, little has been done to correct the inequity so many rural students face.”

Trump can be called out for his broken campaign promises, his outright lies, and his complete lack of concern for people in need.

The real question is whether or not Democrats will listen to, pay attention to, and take up the concerns and cause of our rural populations.

Senator Amy Klobuchar spoke to and about rural America. At times, Senator Kamala Harris did as well. Both, of course, are no longer in the running to be the Democratic presidential candidate.

Other than that, we don’t hear too much from Democratic candidates regarding rural America.

And it also needs to be said that there is a tendency in Democratic politics to demonize and dismiss poor white and white working-class people in America as racist and backward, as not on board with the progressive politics of change.

Maybe listening, paying attention to, and creating actual policy to address the needs of these Americans—as opposed to dismissing them—would go a long way towards courting these voters.

It would certainly go a long way toward addressing the severe class stratifications in our society and working-class issues overall.

Will Democrats take advantage of this opportunity to serve the needs of those Trump has abandoned, address them, and cultivate their support? Is the Democratic tent big enough? Can Democrats be big enough?





Could The Senate Go Blue This Year? Poll Shows 4 GOP Lawmakers Are Underwater Versus Dem Rivals

Even if Democrats win the presidency this year, it would be hard for any Democratic president to get a lot done with policy, given the current make-up within Congress.

While Democrats control the House of Representatives, currently Republicans have a majority in the Senate, with 53 senators in the “upper house” part of the GOP caucus.

But a new poll from a left-leaning organization demonstrates some hope for Democrats to take control of the Senate this year, too.

Our new polls in Maine and Arizona find Sara Gideon leading Susan Collins 47-43 and Mark Kelly leading Martha McSally 47-42.

That now means our most recent polls in 4 GOP held Senate seats have found at least a 4 point Democratic lead: read more

Analysis: Why the GOP Will Likely Lose Senate Control in 2020

Many people in Washington now believe that Republicans need to change their strategy in order to avoid losing control of the U.S. Senate after the 2020 elections.

Conservative Jennifer Rubin sounded the alarm for Republicans in her Washington Post column, but she is not the only one who is aware of the problem. She says that if GOP senators keep sucking up to Trump they face a potential senate wipeout in 2020.

There are two reasons for this:

  • Unlike 2018, Republicans are facing a much tougher re-election map for the Senate in 2020.
  • The GOP will be severely harmed with Trump at the top of the ticket, due to his historically low approval ratings (and historically high disapproval ratings).

According to the Cook Political Report:

“So far, the 34 Senate contests on the ballot in 2020 feature 12 Democratic incumbents, 20 Republican incumbents and two GOP open seats. And only one incumbent — GOP U.S. Sen. John Cornyn of Texas — has a war chest over $5 million.”

Rubin points out what everyone knows: Senate incumbents’ “political future is now inextricably bound with Trump’s.”

She wrote:

“If Trump is polling around 40 percent, the final report from special counsel Robert S. Mueller III is damning, and the economy, as many experts predict, has cooled off, you do wonder whether Republican senators might be more inclined to turn on the president, pressuring him to step down (with the implicit threat of impeachment proceedings hanging over them).”

“Presently, the concern for Senate Republicans should be: What, other than the shutdown, the attempt to end the Affordable Care Act and passage of the unpopular tax cut can they claim to have accomplished?”

“Judges, I suppose. But that alone is unlikely to save them if Democrats have the wind at their backs.”

Many 2020 Senate Races Look Problematic for the GOP


Cornyn might draw a very competitive challenger, one with 100 percent name recognition in the state. According to Politico, “Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer met with Beto O’Rourke last week to discuss a possible 2020 Senate campaign Cornyn. Changing demographics could help give Beto a victory if he runs for the senate again.


Susan Collins is reviled  more than ever due to

her support for Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh read more

GOP Senators Have the Most to Lose in Trump’s Shutdown Disaster

On Monday, Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, who wants to reopen the government and has taken part in discussions trying to broker a compromise, issued a threat. If talks to end the shutdown don’t work, she told Erica Werner from the Washington Post, “We’re not just going to sit back and do nothing.”

“Murkowski, following Shutdown Gang mtg:
“Well I think what’s important is to recognize that you’ve got a bipartisan group of folks that are very focused on forging a path through the wilderness.”
And if Trump rejects efforts?
“We’re not just going to sit back and do nothing.”

Murkowski, foloing Shutdown Gang mtg:
"Well I think what’s important is to recognize that you’ve got a bipartisan group of folks that are very focused on forging a path through the wilderness."
And if Trump rejects efforts?
"We’re not just going to sit back and do nothing." read more

Trump Is Radioactive So Many Republicans Want Nothing to Do With Him

Everybody knows that President Donald Trump has many enemies and detractors in the new Democratic-led House of Representatives.

But it’s now becoming apparent that many Republican members of Congress are also not fond of the president or his policies, and are looking for ways to distance themselves from him. The reason, they say, is to try to assure their own political survival in the future.

A new era of divided government has begun and Democrats have vowed to hold Trump accountable for all of his past, current and future misdeeds. And congressional Republicans — who have been aiding and abetting the criminal president for the past two years — know better than anyone what this means.

According to NBC News:

“Cracks in the GOP ranks have already emerged as skittish Republicans, many of whom face difficult elections in 2020, have begun asserting their independence.” read more

How the Obamacare Ruling Could Give Democrats the Senate in 2020

A Texas judge’s decision to strike down Obamacare as unconstitutional was, according to Daily Kos, “a lawless act of partisan idiocy.” The ridiculous opinion will undoubtedly be reversed upon appeal. In the meantime the mere prospect of overturning the popular healthcare law, and taking health insurance away from 20 million people, is hurting the Republican Party.

For Democrats this decision could be the gift that keeps on giving. As Bloomberg reported, the case will stretch into 2020, and probably beyond, due to appeals. Which means that in the 2020 presidential and congressional elections healthcare will again be the most important issue. In fact providing affordable healthcare to all Americans may be the defining issue of the entire election season in 2020.

And it could be the issue that swings not only the presidency but also control of the U.S. Senate to the Democratic Party. Needless to say, the conservative judge’s opinion is going to cause a LOT of trouble for the Republican Party

Every election observer pointed out that healthcare was the top issue in 2018. Voters overwhelmingly supported Democratic candidates on the issue of healthcare. It played a key role in helping them take back the House.

And in three RED states a majority of voters said they wanted to not only keep Obamacare but expand Medicaid.

In red-state Nebraska voters enacted Medicaid expansion via ballot initiative despite years of the GOP-controlled state legislature’s refusal to do so. Once implemented, an additional 90,000 people in Nebraska will have healthcare. That’s not a benefit they’re going to want to give up.

Republican two-faced Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska is up for re-election in 2020, and now finds himself in

a dangerous political situation. read more

The People of Maine Are Already Suffering From Susan Collins Fallout

The sell-out vote of Susan Collins to confirm deranged Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh is already causing hardship for her constituents in Maine.

Activists who are angry with Collins’s vote to confirm Kavanaugh say they will inflict economic damage on the Republican senator’s home state. They plan to boycott Maine products and cancel plans to vacation in the state.

Susan Collins’s Kavanaugh vote sparks calls to boycott Maine products, tourism”

According to the Portland Press Herald actor and comedian John Fugelsang wrote on Twitter Friday:

“Dear Susan Collins – I really struggled with this but my tourist $ just voted against ever visiting Maine while you remain in office.”

Fugelsang’s tweet received several hundred comments from users saying they would join Fugelsang in boycotting Maine. One person had already cancelled a $2,200 reservation at Maine’s Point Sebago resort.

John Tesar, who owns a chain of seafood restaurants around the country, has announced he will take hundreds of thousands of dollars in seafood business away from Maine fishermen.

Tesar told the Press Herald: “I’ll go to other states for all of the seafood that I have been buying from Maine.”

“I am so disappointed and angry at Collins,” Tesar said. “My intent is not to hurt the fishermen, it’s to have them vote her out of office. The only way to make a difference in this day and age is economically, and on November 6th.”

A lobster dealer in Maine told the Press Herald that he has already lost a few customers since the boycott started last week. It began after Collins announced in a Senate floor speech that she would be voting to confirm Kavanaugh’s lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court.

Collins, who’s considered a moderate and has been a swing vote in the Senate, was lobbied by both sides before her announcement. She has been confronted with anti-Kavanaugh protesters on Capitol Hill, and at her offices in Maine.

While her political support has crumbled many people believe that

Senator Collins plunged a fresh knife read more

Susan Rice Considering 2020 Challenge to Susan Collins in Maine

President Barack Obama’s national security adviser, Susan Rice, says she is considering running for the U.S. Senate in Maine in 2020. She said she would decide what to do after next month’s midterm elections.

If Rice runs she would try to unseat current Republican Senator Susan Collins, whose decision to support Brett Kavanaugh was decisive to his confirmation to the Supreme Court.

Speaking Sunday in New York Rice said Collins “put party and politics over her own stated principles” and that by supporting Kavanaugh “has betrayed women across this country.”

Rice initially expressed an interest in a Senate run on Friday, but then seemed to back off later after it was widely publicized.

After rumors began to fly that Rice might run against her, Collins quickly went on the attack. According to CNN’s Manu Raju, Collins said Rice doesn’t really live in Maine. She also made a comment that Rice “pleaded with me” to introduce her during her confirmation hearings as United Nations ambassador.

Susan Collins takes a whack at Susan Rice, saying she doesn’t really live in Maine and says Rice “pleaded with me” to introduce her during her confirmation hearings as UN ambassador.”

Actually Collins had endorsed Rice and touted her Maine roots. Rice has had a home in the state for 20 years and that her mother was born there, since her grandparents were lifelong Maine residents.

“UN Ambassador Nominee’s Deep Roots in Maine,” Collins’ website once said before it was removed. “Dr. Rice’s ties to our great state are the foundation of her character. Her grandparents emigrated from Jamaica to Portland one hundred years ago,” a capture of the endorsement reads.

“Although I knew of Dr. Rice when she worked at the National Security Council, I first met her when we both participated in seminars sponsored by the Aspen Strategy Group. I was so impressed with her brilliance and nuanced insights as we discussed foreign policy challenges,” the endorsement continued.

“I was very grateful for Senator Collins’ extremely generous endorsement of my nomination and her detailed description of my deep ties to Maine.  2009 seems like a long time ago now — on so many levels.”

Thanks for recalling. I was very grateful for Senator Collins’ extremely generous endorsement of my nomination and her detailed description of my deep ties to Maine. 2009 seems like a long time ago now — on so many levels. read more

After Collins Blames Avenatti, He Vows: ‘We Shall Never Forget’

Without naming him directly, Susan Collins in her horrible Senate speech yesterday seemed to blame Michael Avenatti for her “yes” vote on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

Avenatti represents the third Kavanaugh sexual assault accuser, Julie Swetnick, and it was her allegations of gang rape which Collins said tipped her vote in favor of Kavanaugh.

She said to her Senate colleagues:

“Some of the allegations levied against Judge Kavanaugh illustrate why the presumption of innocence is so important. I am thinking in particular not of the allegations raised by Professor Ford, but of the allegation that when he was a teenager, Judge Kavanaugh drugged multiple girls and used their weakened state to facilitate gang rape.”

Using some kind of twisted logic, Senator Collins wants us to believe that it was the extreme nature of Swetnick’s charges that convinced her that Judge Kavanaugh could not possibly be the sexual predator his critics were making him out to be.

“This outlandish allegation was put forth without any credible supporting evidence and simply parroted public statements of others,” Collins said. “That such an allegation can find its way into the Supreme Court confirmation process is a stark reminder about why the presumption of innocence is so ingrained in our American consciousness.”

Needless to say, Collins statement about his client Swetnick did not go over will with Michael Avenatti. Especially when she said Swetnick’s claims were made “without any credible supporting evidence.”

“Senator Collins is channeling Donald Trump. Entirely disingenuous and shameful. Where was she when Judge Garland could not even get an up or down vote? This is all about her post-office job opportunities on K street. We shall never forget. Not in Nov. Not in 2020. Not ever.”

.@SenatorCollins is channeling Donald Trump. Entirely disingenuous and shameful. Where was she when Judge Garland could not even get an up or down vote? This is all about her post-office job opportunities on K street. We shall never forget. Not in Nov. Not in 2020. Not ever. read more

Kavanaugh’s Fate Totally Depends on Collins and Murkowski

Just like with last year’s vote on Obamacare, Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation will all come down to Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski. Two GOP senators must vote against Kavanaugh for his confirmation to fail, and these two women senators are the only ones in their party ever to vote against the wishes of Mitch McConnell and Donald Trump.

As we reported last night, several moderate Republicans remain undecided on Kavanaugh. But we can’t expect Jeff Flake to buck the party line, and Bob Corker has already announced he will vote yes on Kavanaugh.

Flake talks a good game but he has never had the political courage to back up his words with actions. Therefore if Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination is to be defeated it will have to be done by Collins and Murkowski.

Many people believe that so-called “red-state Democrats” are also undecided on Kavanaugh but that isn’t really true. They want to appear undecided so they can go back home and tell their constituents that they are bi-partisan and don’t always follow the Democratic party line.

However, they only vote against the Democratic party line when it is safe to do so.

A case in point is Joe Manchin of West Virginia. He votes with Democrats just 70% of the time. But never does he cast the DECIDING vote against Democrats.

In other words, he will vote with Republicans only if it is clear that a bill will pass anyway and his vote is essentially meaningless. And then he goes back to West Virginia and publicizes how he voted with the Republicans, increasing his popularity. This is why his Democratic Senate seat is safe this year in the state that voted for Donald Trump by a wider margin than any other state.

It was widely reported that Manchin huddled last night with Collins, Murkowski and Flake. This was good publicity for him in an election year. It made it seem like the four senators were all undecided, as if their votes on Kavanaugh could go either way.

The truth is that Manchin, like most other red-state Democrats (the exceptions being Claire McCaskill and Doug Jones), is waiting to see how Republicans vote before announcing where he stands on Kavanaugh.

This means he’s waiting to see what Collins and Murkowski do before saying which way he will vote.

What’s interesting is that Lisa Murkowski tends to look to Susan Collins for guidance in these situations. If Collins decides to go against Kavanaugh, it’s a good bet that Murkowski will also. (This is especially true since Murkowski is already getting a lot of pressure from Native Alaskans to vote against Kavanaugh’s confirmation.)

What will Susan Collins do? read more

Murkowski Calls For FBI Investigation of Kavanaugh Claims

Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska has been undecided on the fate of Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court. On Tuesday she called for an FBI investigation into the sexual assault allegations against Kavanaugh. According to her, such an investigation would “clear up all the questions” surrounding Trump’s Supreme Court nominee.

I just asked Sen. Lisa Murkowski, key GOP swing vote, if there should be a full FBI investigation into allegations from Kavanaugh’s past. “It would sure clear up all the questions, wouldn’t it?” she said”

I just asked Sen. Lisa Murkowski, key GOP swing vote, if there should be a full FBI investigation into allegations from Kavanaugh’s past. “It would sure clear up all the questions, wouldn’t it?” she said read more

GOP Senators Waiting For Collins To Decide on Kavanaugh

We’ve always known that GOP Senator Susan Collins of Maine would be important to Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court. But we didn’t know exactly how important until yesterday.

According to The Hill, Collins is the one person who will make or break Kavanaugh’s opportunity to become a Supreme Court justice. It turns out that many senators of both parties are waiting to see what Collins decides to do on the Kavanaugh nomination before they announce their own decisions.

As Fox News reported yesterday, eight GOP senators have not announced where they stand on Kavanaugh, and four of them are definitely undecided: Collins, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Jeff Flake of Arizona and Bob Corker of Tennessee.

All Republican senators will be forced to make their decisions known if Mitch McConnell holds a floor vote on Kavanaugh.

And according to The Hill, “Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer (N.Y.) has asked centrist members of his caucus to keep their powder dry on Kavanaugh until they know where all Republicans stand.”

Kavanaugh will have no chance to be confirmed if Collins says she believes Christine Blasey Ford’s allegation that he sexually assaulted her at a high school party in 1982. However, if Collins rejects Ford’s accusations and announces support for Kavanaugh, Democrats will have no chance to stop the nomination.

Yesterday Collins added a new wrinkle to this week’s drama when she said that she wanted the second Kavanaugh accuser

to also testify before the Judiciary Committee. read more

Collins and Murkowski Are In Deep Trouble If They Vote For Kavanaugh

Based on results from national polls published over the past few days, Brett Kavanuagh is drowning. Never before has a Supreme Court nominee been this far underwater. Every poll has shown that he is the most unpopular nominee in history.

And even though he’s really unpopular throughout the entire country, he’s even more unpopular in Maine and Alaska. These are the two states, of course, that are represented in the U.S. Senate by Republicans Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski.

Both of these women senators have indicated they are pro-choice and do not want the Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade overturned. However, neither has come out to say they will vote against Kavanaugh’s nomination, even though he is decidedly NOT pro-choice, and may in fact vote to overturn Roe v. Wade. This is true even though polls have shown that two-thirds of Americans don’t want it overturned.

And based on indications of the thinking of their constituents, if Collins and Murkowski vote in favor of Trump’s right-wing nominee, they may have to re-think their plans about winning re-election. In short, Kavanaugh is not popular in either Maine or Alaska.

A recent poll in Maine found that 56 percent of registered voters opposed Kavanaugh‘s confirmation, including 57 percent of Independents. Collins’s base of support, women voters, oppose Trump’s nominee by a 39 point margin, 67 percent oppose to 28 percent support.

This shows that if Collins votes to confirm Kavanaugh it won’t be because of her representing people from Maine. It will be because she is voting for the interests of the right-wing billionaires who fund the Republican Party.

Over half of the poll respondents — 54% — said they will be less likely to vote for Collins in the future if she votes to confirm Kavanaugh.

When asked to choose what was more important—stopping Kavanaugh or re-electing Susan Collins—stopping Kavanaugh beat keeping Collins more than a 2-1 margin, 52 percent to 25 percent.

Collins is no longer viewed as an independent voice for Maine, according to this poll. Nearly half (48 percent) of Maine voters now “believe that Senator Susan Collins answers more to Republican leaders like Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell, than she does to Maine voters.”

Not even one-third of voters — just 32 percent — now say she’s on the side of Maine. 57 percent of Mainers also believe Kavanaugh will vote to overturn Roe v. Wade if given the chance.

With respect to Alaska,

a PPP poll read more

GOP in Turmoil as Murkowski and Collins Speak Up About Kavanaugh

Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination was plunged into chaos after a woman accusing him of sexual assault spoke publicly for the first time about the allegation on Sunday, in an interview with the Washington Post.

The fallout from the decades-old allegation is putting pressure on Senate Republicans, who must decide if they want to rush forward with the nomination despite the assault charges.

GOP Senators Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) and Susan Collins (Maine) are two potential swing votes and they have yet to say how they will vote or if they want to delay the vote in the wake of the allegations.

The two senators, who are now under great pressure to oppose Kavanaugh, spoke up on Sunday night with their thoughts about Kavanaugh’s nomination.

Murkowski said the Judiciary Committee “might” need to consider delaying a vote on Kavanaugh. As a moderate Republican she is a potential “no” vote.

“Well, I think that might be something they might have to consider, at least having that discussion,” Murkowski told CNN late Sunday night asked if the Judiciary Committee should delay a vote.

“This is not something that came up during the hearings. The hearings are now over, and if there is real substance to this, it demands a response. That may be something the committee needs to look into,” Murkowski said.

Collins criticized Senate Democrats for how they handled the sexual assault allegation against Kavanaugh. She questioned why Democrats had waited for weeks to come forward with the allegation, arguing it wasn’t “fair” to either Kavanaugh or his accuser, professor Christine Blasey Ford.

“What is puzzling to me is the Democrats, by not bringing this out earlier, after having had this information for more than six weeks, have managed to cast a cloud of doubt on both the professor and the judge,” Collins

told The New York Times read more

Historically Unpopular Kavanaugh Nomination Puts Pressure on Collins

Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court is the most unpopular with American voters since the nomination of Robert Bork, according to a new poll.

In the meantime, supposedly pro-choice Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine is indicating she is likely to vote for confirmation of the anti-abortion rights Kavanaugh. As a result, many pro-choice activists and other progressives have already started funding a campaign to defeat her when she is up for re-election in 2020.

A new CNN poll released yesterday shows that barely one-third — or just 38 percent — of American voters believe Kavanaugh should be confirmed to the U.S. Supreme Court.  The poll also said that 39 percent do not want him confirmed while 23 percent of respondents do not have an opinion.

Kavanaugh’s support represents the lowest for a Supreme Court nominee since Bork in 1987, whose nomination the Senate ultimately rejected.

Support for the confirmation of Trump‘s second nominee to the Supreme Court differs greatly between the two parties. Surprisingly, just 74 percent of Republicans say they want to see put on the Supreme Court, which is lower than might be expected. But only 33 percent of Independents and just 15 percent of Democrats want to see him confirmed.

Meanwhile, progressive groups are greatly increasing the pressure on Senator Collins. They have sent over 3,000 coat hangers to her offices and have been organizing rallies along with campaigns against her on social media, telephone and email.

And on top of that, these anti-Collins groups have already raised over $1.1 million for a future opponent if she does ultimately vote to confirm Kavanaugh.

These groups set up a crowdfunding page at the CrowdPac website. On this page they wrote:

“We, the People of Maine are joining Ady Barkan and thousands of others to demand  that Senator Collins votes “no” on Trump‘s Supreme Court Nominee Brett Kavanaugh” – Marie Follayttar, Co-Director of MFAL said, “We’re excited to once again join with Ady to promote and amplify Maine voices.”

“There are two scenarios:

  1. Senator Collins votes NO on Kavanaugh and you will not be charged, and no money will go to fund her future opponent. 
  2. Senator Collins votes YES on Kavanaugh and your pledge will go to her opponent’s campaign, once that opponent has been identified.”

“The pending nomination of Brett Kavanaugh for Supreme Court Justice is a threat to everyday Mainers like us. Kavanaugh is committed to ending healthcare for people with pre-existing conditions. He is committed to overturning Roe v. Wade. Kavanaugh cannot be nominated – he would mean bankruptcy and danger for millions of families in Maine and America.”

Desperate times require desperate measures, and that is what we are seeing right now in the fight against Kavanaugh’s confirmation. Donald Trump has already been allowed to appoint one right-wing justice to the Supreme Court, and he should not be allowed to appoint another one.

There are too many problems and red flags that have come up concerning Kavanaugh’s background, prior rulings, and his lying under oath. The new poll shows that this nominee is extremely unpopular, and this is being confirmed with the actions against Collins.

Apparently Susan Collins, like many other GOP senators, is not following the wishes of her constituents, but is doing what her big-money bosses tell her to do. She has been given the warning, which applies to many other members of Congress who think their seats are secure: If you

go against the wishes of the people read more

Susan Collins Says Roe v. Wade Case is Settled Law and Should Be Respected

On Wednesday U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy announced that he is retiring effective July 31. Concerning the implications of Kennedy’s retirement, we wrote yesterday:

“Kennedy’s retirement effective essentially immediately means that the dysfunctional president and dysfunctional Republican-led Senate have to hustle to get a Supreme Court justice confirmed before the next term begins in October. Kennedy was a Reagan appointee, so his replacement won’t change the makeup of the court, but it will cement a 5-4 conservative majority for the foreseeable future.” read more

House Republicans Keep Obamacare Fixes Out of Spending Bill

The Obamacare fixes that were promised to Senator Susan Collins in exchange for her support of the Republican tax bill in December appear to be in serious trouble.

Earlier this week Republicans in Congress released their plan to stabilize healthcare exchanges under Obamacare (also known as the Affordable Care Act or the ACA).

In this proposed bill there was funding both for reinsurance and for cost-sharing reductions in Obamacare health insurance subsidies.  These are cornerstones of the controversial healthcare law that has reduced the number of Americans without health insurance by tens of millions of people.  Details of the proposed legislation had been published on Monday.

Co-sponsors of the compromise bill are Republican Senators Lamar Alexander of Tennessee and Susan Collins of Maine and Republican Representatives Greg Walden, R-Ore., and Ryan Costello, R-Pa., in the House.

These co-sponsors are trying to get the ACA fixes into the omnibus spending bill, which must be finalized by the end of this week to avoid a government shutdown.

According to Politico, the spending bill is running into problems and its passage is not guaranteed unless both sides agree to compromise on some major sticking points.

And, in a serious setback, The Hill has reported that the final version of the House spending bill did not include the ACA language.  Although the Senate is considering a way to add the language into their version of the bill and thereby force the House to accept the ACA fixes, this appears unlikely.

“They’re not in there at this point, and that is unfortunate,” Rep. Walden was reported as saying. “We’re going to see what we can do moving forward, perhaps in the Senate.”

Some of the key elements of the bill that have been published include:

  • Three years of funding for reinsurance, totaling $10 billion per year.
  • Three years of funding for Cost Sharing Reductions.
  • Authorization for new copper plans, which would allow more people to purchase catastrophic coverage.
  • A requirement that Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar issue a rule to allow payers to sell insurance across state lines.
  • Transparency for people who may want to purchase short-term insurance plans, and room for states to add additional regulations.
  • Hyde Amendment provisions that would prevent federal subsidies from funding abortions.
  • read more

    Al Franken Laughs As Susan Collins Talks About Not Being Invited To Trump Healthcare Meeting

    A reporter asked Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) if she was going to the White House for a health care meeting with Trump. Collins said that she wasn’t invited and Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) cracked up laughing.

    Paul McLeod of Buzzfeed News tweeted the exchange:

    It appears that the White House effort to woo Republican Senators on the health care bill does not include any of the swing votes that they need to pass the healthcare bill:

    Not going to tonight's White House health care meeting: Key undecideds Portman, Capito, Lee, Gardner, Flake, and others read more