New York Magazine reporter Rebecca Traister has been on the ground in Maine and in the Republican stronghold of Aroostook County for over a month watching the U.S. Senate race between Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) and Maine House Speaker Sara Gideon.
Traister explained in an interview with MSNBC’s Chris Hayes that Collins has had a history of popularity and has been able to play the independent Republican for years. Still, after President Donald Trump came into office, Collins voted with him 94 percent of the time.
She “has repeatedly taken votes on the side of Donald Trump, committing to him and his very hard-right Republican politics in a way that has become absolutely apparent to Mainers. An ad she put out said ‘bipartisan and effective,'” said Traister. “She’s still trying to run as a moderate, but I think there’s much less willingness to understand her as bipartisan or independent at this point.”
In Collins’ county, Traister said that there are Trump signs everywhere, but that those signs don’t sit next to Collins signs. While yard signs notoriously don’t vote, the signs prove that while Democrats and Independents lost support for Collins, Republican Trump supporters don’t like her either.
“I’ve heard no energy around Susan Collins race, which also tells me even the hard conservatives here aren’t seeing this as a crucial Senate race when of course, we know it very much is a crucial Senate race,” explained Traister. “And the balance of the Senate could wind up hanging on Maine as well as several other states where they’re important Senate races.”
Traister told Hayes that some of the pushback she’s gotten has been from Trump supporters because she makes these comments about being “concerned” or “worried” about the president sometimes. They’ve become the butt of many jokes about Collins being toothless among non-Trump voters, and it’s ignited fury among Trump’s loyal supporters.
“So, she’s created a situation where there’s no path for her and yet she’s trying to run for this fifth term,” Traister closed.
See the interview below: