MAINE REPUBLICAN Susan Collins is one of just a few senators who has remained publicly uncommitted on whether to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. So opponents of the nominee have been doing whatever they can to persuade Collins to come down against him — writing impassioned letters, holding a protest march, publishing editorials, and running TV ads.
And pledging — if Collins ends up supporting Kavanaugh — to contribute money to her next Democratic opponent.
Two liberal activist groups — Mainers for Accountable Leadership and the Maine People's Alliance — have launched a put-your-money-where-your-mouth-is crowdfunding campaign to pressure Collins into voting no on Kavanaugh. As of Tuesday afternoon, more than 49,500 people had signed up, agreeing in advance to donate nearly $1.4 million to Collins's as-yet-unidentified 2020 Democratic challenger. Nearly all the pledges are for $25 or less, and the donors' names are publicly posted. Their contributions have been made by credit card, with the stipulation that the charge will be processed only if Collins votes in favor of confirmation.
So far, so normal. What could be more typical of democratic politics, after all, than lobbying elected officials, or working to defeat them if you disapprove of their performance in office?
Yet to hear Collins and some of her supporters tell it, mobilizing donors to fund a future challenger isn't citizen activism, it's an illegal bribe. . . .