If Susan Collins loses her Senate seat in Maine this year in a burn-it-all-down conflagration it will play out the same way. Put aside that she is hardly a Trumpist. According to FiveThirtyEight’s vote tracker, she votes with Trump less frequently than any other Republican senator, and she’s criticized him on a host of matters.
If she loses, Republicans are never winning her seat back. And it doesn’t matter who the next Republican president is—one of the moderates that some Never Republicans favor, or Don Jr.—the Democratic senator from Maine will be there to oppose what’s he or she is doing.
What the Never Republicans are hoping for is not just a repudiation of Trump, but a major shift of the Overton Window of American politics to the left. They want the least resistance to the most progressive president of our lifetimes to give him the greatest possible running room on abortion, conscience rights, health care, judges, climate, immigration, transgender policy, policing, gun rights, campaign finance, taxes, spending and, surely, things we can’t even think of yet.
This is a high cost to pay, not just for the Republican Party, but for the country—at least that’s what you think if you are a conservative who believes progressives are deeply wrong on all these questions.