Have you heard of the “Common Sense Coalition?” In today’s political climate, it may sound like some antiquated relic studied by school children touring the National Museum of American History. But in reality, it was a bipartisan group of senators that helped broker the end of a government shutdown in January.

The Common Sense Coalition heralded their legislative accomplishment as an example of how to dislodge gridlock in the Swamp: Democrats and Republicans working together toward finding a solution, putting aside partisanship to pursue solutions for the public — frankly, the way our government should work.

Fast-forward to October 2018. The divisive acrimony of Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing lay bare the raw emotion of a polarized electorate. The Common Sense Coalition and its can-do attitude had been all but forgotten. But many of its members found themselves in the eye of the confirmation storm. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, had been seen as the de facto leader of the Common Sense Coalition back in January and emerged as a central figure in the outcome of the Kavanaugh vote.

During the shutdown negotiations in January, Collins served as a convener bringing together the likes of Sens. Lindsay Graham, R-S.C., Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., Chris Coons, D-Del., Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., Bob Corker, R-Tenn., Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, and Claire McCaskill, D-Mo. Collins famously used a Native American “talking stick” to help keep the bipartisan conversations orderly among this group.

It was this same group of senators in the Common Sense Coalition that became some of the most well-known faces in the cast of characters who took center stage in the debate around Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court confirmation.

A group that was once united in trying to find solutions became emblematic of a nation divided. As the confirmation vote drew closer, it was members of this so-called Common Sense Coalition who huddled in the SCIF reviewing the FBI investigation report and ultimately it was the same people who held Kavanaugh’s fate in their hands.

Members of Common Sense Coalition each played their part in this national drama. Lindsey Graham became an outspoken advocate for Kavanaugh and critic of the process. Heitkamp and Murkowski both cast no votes, a risky move for senators representing red states North Dakota and Alaska respectively. While Flake’s cautious approach still led him to yes, some thought Flake’s retirement may “liberate” him to take a risk and vote no. Manchin kept his cards close to the vest, but his yes vote was generally expected given the dynamics of the West Virginia electorate.

But, it was the coalition’s leader, Susan Collins who stole the show. Her lengthy floor speech meticulously and methodically laid out her case. A Republican woman from a state that voted for Hillary Clinton voted yes to confirm Brett Kavanaugh. Regardless of how each individual senator cast their vote, it was clear that they all approached their decision with great thought. The coalition may not have been united in their position, but they seemed bound by a common sense of duty.

What’s next for the members of this barely known, loosely affiliated group of senators? Some will not come back after November, but for those who remain, I ask, what will they do to help instill trust in our government again? The confirmation process all but destroyed the already fragile credibility of our institutions. The mission of the Common Sense Coalition, one of seeking common ground toward developing solutions, is needed now more than ever. I hope the members rise to the occasion.

Capri Cafaro (@thehonorablecsc) is a contributor to the Washington Examiner's Beltway Confidential blog. She is a former member of the Ohio State Senate, where she was the Senate minority leader. She is now an Executive in Residence at American University's School of Public Affairs.