Senator Collins says she may support Hillary Clinton for president
Maine senator Susan Collins says she is leaving her options open about whom she will support for president, including the unlikely possibility that she would back Hillary Clinton.
In an interview with the New Yorker's Ryan Lizza, Collins appeared to speak for several Republican senators who may not end up supporting the nominee of their party.
But no matter how much they have condemned Trump, none of these high-ranking Republicans have said that they would consider supporting his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton.
In an interview with me, on Wednesday, Senator Susan Collins, of Maine, made herself the exception. Collins told me that Trump’s comment about Curiel was “an order of magnitude more serious” than anything he had previously said, including his “troubling insults towards individuals” and “his poorly-thought-out policy plan about banning Muslims from entering this country.”
She added that she was faced with an unprecedented political decision and had to keep all options open. “This is a difficult choice, and it’s one, like many of my colleagues, that I am struggling with,” Collins said. “It’s not like we have perfect candidates from whom to choose in this election.”
Collins went on to say that she has not ruled out supporting Clinton. “I worked very well with Hillary when she was my colleague in the Senate and when she was Secretary of State,” Collins said. “But I do not anticipate voting for her this fall. I’m not going to say never, because this has been such an unpredictable situation, to say the least.”
I pressed Collins to make sure that she was leaving open the possibility of backing the Democratic Party’s presumptive Presidential nominee over Trump. “That is true,” Collins, who has been a lifelong Republican, said. “But I do want to qualify that by saying it is unlikely that I would choose to vote for the Democratic candidate.”
Collins, a poster child for the RINOs, may end up leaving the Republican Party. Her GOP affiliation is not an advantage in Maine and may even be a liability. That she would even consider voting for Hillary Clinton, of all people, should call into question whether Republicans can afford to have her in their caucus at all.
The irony is that Collins is probably too conservative for the Democrats in the Senate. They might welcome her as an add-on to their number in the Senate, but I can't see them embracing her. Then again, Democrats from 10 or 20 years ago would also be too conservative for this bunch of Democratic party radicals in the Senate today.
The little value Collins brings as a Republican – toeing the party line on procedural votes – probably isn't enough to justify her continued membership in the Republican party. Unless the GOP is dependent on her to maintain their majority, what other reason would there be for her to remain in the caucus?