Susan Collins is the Maine Republican who has conned voters for years into believing she's a "moderate." That description is true in the sense that she doesn't run campaign ads that feature her shooting off twin pistols like Yosemite Sam, but it's entirely false when you look at her actual record. She has voted with Donald Trump 78.9 percent of the time. Nate Silver's blog FiveThirtyEight has a handy tracker for this sort of thing that puts Collins's votes in context with the state she supposedly represents. Trump lost Maine by a narrow 3 points in 2016. Silver reckons that based on that margin Collins should only support Trump at 47.3 percent, which is what reasonable people would consider "moderate."

But the senator's tap-dancing days might be ending. People want Collins to put up or shut up on the whole "moderate Republican" thing. They are demanding she stop pretending her long-form birth certificate is dated yesterday and that she absolutely not vote to confirm Brett Kavanaugh, who even Half-Brained-Americans know will ruthlessly attack reproductive freedom if elevated to the Supreme Court.

Some more flamboyant types tried gifting Collins coat hangers, which only succeeded in persuading the senator to hang up her coats rather than leave them lying around the Senate buildings. The more practical-minded realized that Collins is a Republican so maybe cold hard cash is the key to reaching her.

Two Maine-based PACs, Maine People's Alliance and Mainers for Accountable Leadership, have joined with activist Ady Barkan to crowdfund in support of Collins's Democratic opponent in 2020. There isn't even a candidate yet, but they've already raised $1,018,472. That's already half of what Democrat Shenna Bellows managed to raise for her campaign in 2014, and she was an actual person with a name. Who knows? Maybe I'll move to Maine in time for the next race. Maybe you will too!

The PACs promise to return the money to their donors if Collins doesn't vote to confirm Kavanaugh. This fairly straightforward offer has Collins crying "foul."

"Anybody who thinks these kinds of tactics work doesn't know Senator Collins," Annie Clark, Collins' communications director, told The Daily Beast. "This crowdfunded money to pressure Senator Collins is based on a quid pro quo… It is basically a bribe. These tactics will not work—Senator Collins will make up her mind based on the merits of the nomination."

Clark carefully avoided saying "bribe" three times in a mirror so she wouldn't accidentally summon Marco Rubio, who famously refused to stop accepting bribe money donations from the concerned citizens of the NRA. Tuesday Clark tweeted some more silly stuff.

First place, it's obviously not a "bribe" because the money isn't in a big bag with "BRIBE" written on it. I know that's probably how Rubio rationalizes his life to himself so he can sleep at night. Also, the money will never at any point go to Collins. The group claims that if Collins folds like someone with a bad hand of poker, they will actively fund the election of a replacement who they believe better represents their views that women are people. This isn't "bribery." It's lovely, lovely free speech.

But if Clark is so concerned about propriety and insists that there's no reaching Collins, I propose raising enough money for her opponent to make an Avengers movie. Let's ditch this fraud once and for all. Send your out-of-state, out-of-Susan's mind money here.

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Stephen Robinson

Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. Once, he wrote a novel called “Mahogany Slade,” which you should read or at least buy. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."


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