Senators Susan Collins and Jeff Flake Visit throughout Kavanaugh Hearings

By Anthony Vezza ‘19 | October 23, 2018

Senator Flake speaking at NHIOP

Susan Collins at NHIOP
Susan Collins talking with students after her interview in NHIOP

Over the last few weeks, the country observed the hearings of Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination and Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s allegations. Among its development, Republican Senators Susan Collins and Jeff Flake oversaw the proceedings and were major party whips to finalize the vote. Both spoke at Saint Anselm College about the importance of finding common ground in such a polarizing period of American politics. Though both are considered “traitors” and are villainized by their party for speaking out against their allies, Collins and Flake have pursued listening to their opponents and seeking out the bigger picture of modern politics and the future of America.

Senator Collins of Maine was the first to visit campus on Sept. 21 for a Constitutionally Speaking event at the Dana Center. Interviewed by Virginia Prescott of Georgia Public Broadcasting, Collins faced multiple questions about her approval of Kavanaugh. However, Collins shifted the focus to the challenges of decision-making in a divided political environment. “In my time in the Senate, the level of polarization and sheer ugliness and lack of civil discourse has been unprecedented in the last few years,” said Collins. “It is fundamental to our democracy to find common ground.”

Just one week after the Collins event, Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona asked for an FBI investigation on Brett Kavanaugh’s past after hearing both his and Christine Ford’s testimonies.

The following Monday, Oct. 1, Flake made his second visit this year to the New Hampshire Institute of Politics to discuss the lack of consensus among ideological factions in Washington. “I am a proud conservative and life-long Republican,” Flake stated. “That does not make democrats my enemies.” The senator plans to retire when his term is up but has left an insightful lens for people to look to for the future. “The only tribe that any of us owe allegiance to is the American tribe,” he said towards the end of his speech. “Politics that endure always with the imprint of both sides. That is when America is at her best.”

As the country waited for a final decision for the Kavanaugh vote in the following days, both Collins and Flake provided evidence that the political realm is in desperate need of individuals who are willing to break from the ideological restraints of their party for the sake of democracy. The two Republican senators showed that a resurgence of civility, principle, and compromise may be what is best for America as decision-makers and spectators alike continue to navigate through this complex political process. Both senators, despite their talks, voted for the confirmation of Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.