Opinion: Susan Collins wants to send Trump back to the White House

Sen. Susan Collins and former President Donald Trump. | Win McNamee, Getty Images

U.S. Sen. Susan Collins is working very hard to put former Republican President Donald Trump back in the White House.

Despite pretending to distance herself from Trump, Collins is quietly doing the bidding of MAGA Republicans by opening the door to the one avenue that guarantees Trump a second term: putting a conservative Democrat on a third party presidential ticket.

If you haven’t seen it, Beacon recently reported that Collins is an honorary co-chair of “No Labels,” a billionaire-funded dark money group that is working to create a third party ticket for U.S. President/Vice President that will include a Democrat and a Republican. Collins has been co-chair since 2017 and has been helping them raise money by going to events and speaking on their behalf.

But far from trying to create a ticket that would pull from both sides equally, or more heavily from Republicans to ensure that the dangerous Trump is not re-elected, No Labels is raising $70 million from mega Republican donors like Peter Theil, Harlan Crow, and David Koch to target swing states that Donald Trump lost in 2020. They are already on the ballot in four, including the crucial battleground of Arizona, and they have volunteers across the country working to get them on the ballot in at least a dozen more. Including Maine (which Trump also lost).

The Maine effort hit legal trouble last week when Secretary of State Shenna Bellows told No Labels to cease and desist after determining they were likely lying to voters about what they were signing (people apparently did not know that they were registering for a new party).

But when you look at the map No Labels published showing the fantasy of how they can win (spoiler alert, they can’t), they are targeting 20 of the 22 states President Joe Biden won in 2020, with two-thirds of their total electoral count coming from blue states. And since they can’t win even if we wanted them to (we don’t, as they were instrumental in defeating Build Back Better and retaining the filibuster, which has blocked everything from voter protections to gun control), by running a Democrat like Joe Manchin, their leading candidate, it is almost 100% certain that Biden will lose states like Pennsylvania, Michigan, Arizona, Wisconsin, and Georgia.

And those states will flip back to Trump, giving him a similar margin of victory to what he garnered in 2016.

Because even if Collins runs as Manchin’s running mate, around which there is also much speculation, she will take very few votes from Trump. Trump voters dislike her almost as much as Democrats (only 43% of Republicans approve of her in Maine). But she could take conservative independents who were planning to vote for Biden because they are disgusted by Trump’s racist and misogynist behavior. 

But what No Labels won’t do is take votes from Trump. As every Republican operative knows, Trump’s votes won’t move. His problem is center-right independents who can’t stand his corruption, boorishness, and ties to white supremacists. And as every Democratic operative knows, Democratic and centrist voters are much more fluid.

Bryan Lanza, a GOP operative said, “If Trump is the nominee, the No Labels coalition certainly hurts the Democratic candidate on the ballot … A vote for Trump is so cemented in that the opposition can easily be fragmented. It’s not like people are on fire for Joe Biden. They’re just there because he’s the best of the lesser choices. But [if] there’s additional options, people will easily siphon off into that.”

No doubt, Collins also knows this. So, unless she demands that No Labels end its campaign to bankroll a third party, something other No Labels supporters have begun doing in droves, her words about not wanting Trump back in the White House are meaningless.

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