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As I understand it, The Lincoln Project is anti-Trump Republicans.

So why would they campaign against Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME)? And not only that, but campaign the hardest of any Senate election?

I would think she'd be the darling of the movement. She

  • Declared Trump to be "unworthy of being our president" and that she wouldn't vote for him.
  • Defeated Trump's ACA repeal
  • Criticized Trump for Lafayette Park incident
  • More recently (but I think further demonstrates her stance) voted against Trump's Supreme Court nomination, and voted to convict him.
  • Overall has the most anti-Trump voting record of any Republican Senator: 65% agreement

Of any member of Congress up for election in 2020, I would think Susan Collins would be most well liked by anti-Trump Republicans. I would think the Lincoln Project would prefer a Senate full of Susan Collins'.

But it's actually the exact opposite. Why did they actually run attack ads against her?

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    Re I would think the Lincoln Project would prefer a Senate full of Susan Collins'. No, they wouldn't. The Lincoln Project was founded by conservative Republicans, which Susan Collins most definitely is not. – David Hammen Feb 19 at 10:11
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    You could have watched one of their ads against her. It's rather self-explanatory. – Fizz Feb 19 at 16:18
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    There is no bigger, long standing joke on Twitter than that these guys are life-long, historical grifters – user9790 Feb 19 at 19:50
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    @DavidHammen The idea that these guys are conservatives is laughably wrong – user9790 Feb 19 at 21:18
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    Regarding Supreme Court nominees: Collins voted against Barrett, but for Gorsuch and Kavanaugh, both of which were problematic. Also, she voted to acquit in Trump's first impeachment trial. The 2nd impeachment trial is irrelevant to your question, as it was after the LP's efforts to unseat Collns. – GreenMatt Feb 19 at 21:36
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The article you linked to provides a pretty good explanation, directly from Reed Galen, a strategist for the group:

He said that for the most part, Republican dissent has been weak and that GOP lawmakers have been silent as Trump ran up the debt, ordered the police to move on peaceful protesters outside the White House and declined to challenge Russian President Vladimir Putin for offering bounties on U.S. forces.

“They should have seen themselves as members of the U.S. Senate and put the country first,” Galen said. “If the head of the party is Donald Trump and you disagree on policy, politics and decorum, and the best you can summon is that you’re worried and concerned and hope that he does better, that’s not opposition."

Senator Collins claims to have opposed Trump, but her opposition has been all talk and no action. She certainly has claimed to be "disappointed" with Trump many times, but when she's had the chance to take any action, she has refused.

The most glaring example was probably Trump's first impeachment, where she offered a laughable excuse for voting to acquit:

Collins said "I believe that the President has learned from this case" and that Trump "will be much more cautious in the future."

You mention similar statements, her criticism of the Lafayette Park incident and her claims that he's unworthy of being president, but were these statements backed by any action? Again and again, she delivered mild disapproval, while supporting his court nominees and voting with the party line to block any efforts at accountability.

The intensity of the opposition to Trump doesn't come from policy differences, but from the understanding that his cult of personality and strongman governing style threaten the survival of American Democracy itself, a view that has been vindicated by his actions since losing the 2020 election. You can't oppose a threat to democracy with mild disapproval, and since that's all that Senator Collins had provided at the time of the election, she's just as much an enabler as any other Republican. And, as an enabler in a relative Blue State (Maine went for Biden by 9% in 2020), attacking her was, at least in theory, the best chance at actually beating a Trump enabler.

You mention that "the Lincoln Project would prefer a Senate full of Susan Collins'." That may be true, but if every Republican was like Susan Collins, there would be no Trump. Collins should be judged by how she acted in the real world.

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  • "all talk and no action" IDK if I'd call defeating ACA repeal, or 45% against voting record "no action" but I understand what you are saying. – Paul Draper Feb 19 at 17:58
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    @PaulDraper The ACA repeal is probably her most significant action against Trump, but a few points: 1) she did vote to repeal and replace the ACA, she just voted against the final "skinny repeal" which would have kicked millions off their insurance for no benefit, which I'd argue is just basic common sense, and 2) the Lincoln Project is run by conservative Republicans, not progressives, so they're no fans of the ACA – this was probably a vote that they disagreed with her on. – divibisan Feb 19 at 19:00
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    if I understand you correctly, her opposition was too much in line with Lincoln Project's common sense for them to count it, and also against their wishes. – Paul Draper Feb 20 at 1:54
  • @PaulDraper Yes I agree with this also, "all talk and no action" is unfair. "Mostly talk without action" would be fairer. – RBarryYoung Feb 20 at 15:03
  • Collinses would be the plural. We keep up with the Joneses, after all. – Michael Harvey Feb 20 at 17:19

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