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Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

Maine voters have begun to sour on Republican Sen. Susan Colllins, and as a result her approval ratings are down by double-digits over the last two years.

On Sunday, Collins blamed the precipitous drop on unnamed “dark money” groups, instead of her support for the Trump administration and Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

“The divisiveness of our country and the unceasing attacks by dark money groups in Maine have clearly had an impact,” Collins told Bloomberg in an interview about her political future.

She expressed hope that Mainers will “really focus on the [reelection] race” next year and that “I’ll be fine.”

Collins is the second most unpopular senator in the country, behind Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Collins’ current 45 percent approval rating is 33 points lower than the 78 percent rating she had four years ago.

“Since Trump entered the White House, her approval rating has dropped 16 percentage points,” the Boston Globe noted.

Collins’ decline has occurred in tandem with her support of Trump and the Republican agenda. A study from Congressional Quarterly found that Collins voted with Trump 93.3% of the time — in league with conservatives like Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and John Kennedy (R-LA).

Collins also was out front in supporting Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination, despite credibleevidence that Trump’s pick had sexually assaulted a teenager when the two were in high school.

Collins was also a backer of the Republican tax scam passed in 2017, which contained provisions attacking the Affordable Care Act, legislation that Collins has claimed to support.

Collins’ support of Trump hasn’t helped her at home either. Since Trump took office, support in Maine has declined by 19 points. He lost the state to Hillary Clinton in 2016.

Collins’ decision to blame her woes on dark money is also being questioned, thanks to her own reliance on out-of-state money.

The senator set up a joint fundraising committee with Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), one of Trump’s closest allies (and a golfing buddy). Thousands of dollars flooded in.

“She’s come to rely more and more on corporate PACs and out-of-state donors – and instead of trying to fix the problem, she is trying to defend the status quo,” Maine Democratic Party Chair Kathleen Marra said in a statement.

Marra added that Collins has been “voting more with Trump and special interests more than ever on bills that give corporations tax breaks while raising health care premiums and threatening protections for pre-existing conditions.”

Collins’ voting record and decisions in office have moved closer to Trump, while her state — which was never Trump country — has drifted further away from him.

There is ample evidence that voters in Collins’ state are unhappy with the decisions she’s made in recent years, but instead of taking responsibility for her record, she’s blaming her problems on “dark money.”

Published with permission of The American Independent.

Poll: Most Parents Oppose Rapid School Reopening

Numerous local school systems around the country are plowing ahead with plans to resume in-person instruction despite growing evidence that children are just as capable of spreading the coronavirus as adults.

Classes were set to begin on Monday in Baker County, Florida. Masks for students will be optional, not required. "It looks like it's back to normal this morning, honestly," a local television reporter observed as parents dropped their kids off in the morning. Many students wore no face coverings.

The Trump administration and the GOP have pushed for full reopening of schools for months."Schools in our country should be opened ASAP," Donald Trump tweeted in May. "Much very good information now available."

"SCHOOLS MUST OPEN IN THE FALL!!!" he reiterated on July 6.

"The science and data is clear: children can be safe in schools this fall, and they must be in school this fall," demanded Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ) on Aug. 1.

"I believe our schools can, and should rise to the occasion of re-opening for in-person education this fall," agreed Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD) two days later.

"The CDC and Academy of Pediatrics agree: We can safely get students back in classrooms," tweeted House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) last Tuesday.

But while Scalise, Mike Pence, and Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos have all cited the American Academy of Pediatrics in their arguments for reopening, a new study by the group and the Children's Hospital Association raises red flags about how safe that will be.

Their report found 338,982 reported coronavirus cases in children as of July 30 in the United States. Between July 16 and July 30, the nation saw a 40% increase — 97,078 new infected children.

Last week, a high school student in an Atlanta suburb posted a photo online showing few students wearing masks in a crowded school hallway. Since that time, at least six students and three adult employees in the school have reportedly contracted the coronavirus, and the school temporarily has switched to online classes.

Another Georgia school district has already seen at least 13 students and staff members test positive since reopening a week ago.

A recent study in South Korea found that children aged ten and older spread the coronavirus at the same rates adults do. A separate study in Chicago suggested young kids might also be effective spreaders.

These contradict the false claims made by Trump and his administration that kids have an "amazing" near immunity to COVID-19.

"If you look at children, children are almost — and I would almost say definitely, but almost immune from this disease, so few. They've got stronger, hard to believe, and I don't know how you feel about it, but they have much stronger immune systems than we do somehow for this," Trump told Fox News on Wednesday.

"You got to open the schools. They have a stronger immune system even than you have or I have," he told Barstool Sports on July 23. "It's amazing. You look at the percentage, it's a tiny percentage of one percent. And in that one case, I mean, I looked at a couple of cases. If you have diabetes, if you have, you know, problems with something, but the kids are in great shape." Children have made up nearly nine percent of all cases, even with schools mostly closed.

And DeVos incorrectly said in a July 16 interview, "More and more studies show that kids are actually stoppers of the disease and they don't get it and transmit it themselves."

In early July, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued guidelines for how schools could operate more safely during the pandemic.

Trump publicly ridiculed the guidelines, dismissing them as "very tough & expensive" and "very impractical."

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.