Maine Senator Susan Collins has found herself at the center of controversy in the confirmation process of Judge Brett Kavanaugh. In the all-out fight to stop his ascension to the highest court, outside groups have stooped to new lows of intimidation and bribery to pressure her vote and silence her independent voice.

Collins is one of two female conservative senators that opponents of Judge Kavanaugh hope they can pressure to vote against his confirmation to the Supreme Court.

Her staff has been harassed with vulgar phone and social media messages. One young female staffer was told she should be “raped and impregnated.”

Even worse, a group of left-leaning activists is now using a crowd-funding platform to raise funds that they will use to bribe Collins into voting against Kavanaugh. So far they have raised over $1 million – no small sum. They won’t give her the money directly, but threaten to donate the cash to her 2020 political opponent if she votes yes.

This is not just corrupt and wrong, it could very well be illegal.

The Wall Street Journal editorial board is adamant that we shouldn’t tolerate this:

“We’re all for citizens exercising their free-speech rights, including campaign donations, for or against political candidates. But federal law defines the crime of bribery as “corruptly” offering “anything of value” to a public official, including a Member of Congress, with the intent to “influence any official act.” The crowdfunders in this case are offering something of value—withholding funds from her opponent—in return for a Supreme Court confirmation vote.”

And author Stephen King is threatening Collins as well. He tweeted:

@StephenKing: IF Susan Collins votes to confirm Kavanaugh, and IF she runs for re-election—two bigs ifs—she will be defeated. It would be unwise for anyone to mistake how angry most Americans are at the way this is being railroaded through.

Some in the press are actually okay with this intimidation though. Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne Jr. writes:

“Exceptional dangers require exceptional and sometimes unusual responses.”

This couldn’t be more untrue. No time calls for this level of incivility, violent language, and threats. Encouraging behavior like this on ideological grounds will yield dangerous fruit. Our democracy is strong because we do not tolerate political intimidation or corruption.  

Intimidating Collins (and her staff) through threats and bribery should draw bipartisan condemnation. No woman – whether she’s an elected official or a 25-year-old staffer – should accept verbal violence and threats just because of what she believes in. 

No matter how passionate someone is about the confirmation of a Supreme Court justice, no individual, lawmaker or organization should be engaged in coordinated effort to bully.

Ideological differences should be debated not stifled. At the very least, the right and left can agree on this.

>>> Do you agree that we must end this intimidation of women? Join our Championing Women movement.