Democratic Senator Joe Manchin and Republican Senator Susan Collins voted exactly how every informed observer expected them to vote—especially Collins. Per Laura Basset in Huffington Post in August:
But the wonder isn’t so much how she’s going to vote as why there’s any doubt: A close reading of Collins’ record strongly indicates she will be a yes on Kavanaugh. The only question is how much political cover she can give herself.
Collins must perceive herself as being in a tough spot with this vote. From her perspective, the biggest threat to her job right now is not the pressure campaign being mounted by reproductive rights groups in Maine but a competitive primary challenge from her right in 2020. And she has already infuriated Maine Republicans by crossing the aisle to protect Obamacare’s individual mandate, never mind that she subsequently voted for a tax bill to which Republicans attached provisions repealing the mandate.
She has been noticeably warm toward Kavanaugh since Trump nominated him in mid-July, despite her promise that she would not consider a nominee who is hostile to Roe. “Hostile” seems to be the key word for her. Kavanaugh has criticized the landmark 1973 abortion rights decision in a speech and ruled against abortion rights and birth control access more than once as a federal judge, but she seemed to be satisfied with his answer this month on Roe.
To the surprise of less informed observers than Basset, Susan Collins did what she has practically pledged she will do, and voted to pass Brett Kavanaugh through to the last process of the nomination, effectively confirming his nomination to the Supreme Court. “Democratic” Senator Joe Manchin voted in kind with Collins, but only after the Republican Senator had demonstrated a level of courage he refused to meet.
Joe Manchin has long been known as a senator who is barely a democrat, and today he proved that maxim true. He did not want to be the man to make the deciding vote, so he waited until a woman demonstrated slightly more courage, so he could cast a vote that was largely meaningless, but will help him get reelected in deep red West Virginia. What a sad day for America.
Jacob Weindling is a staff writer for Paste politics. Follow him on Twitter at @Jakeweindling.