February 6, 2020

‘Detroiter’ Mitt Romney breaks with party on impeachment vote

President Donald Trump has been acquitted of two impeachment charges. The hearings have been endowed with an air of inevitability. But the predictable partisan conclusion of this process was upset by Sen. Mitt Romney’s (R-Utah) surprising break from party lines. Romney made history with his vote to remove the president from office on the charge of abuse of power, making him the first senator to vote in favor of impeaching a president from his own party. “There are areas of agreement between Democrats and Republicans. It’s hard to imagine that happening during a presidential election year,” says Marc Kruman, founding director of the Center for the Study of Citizenship and professor of history. Ultimately the Utah senator’s vote didn’t impact President Trump’s swift acquittal, but it did raise questions regarding the state of American politics and the role of congress moving forward. He says this impeachment process has, not surprisingly, been viewed through the lens of partisan politics. The unwillingness of elected officials to see beyond party has left American democracy in a fragile state, says Kruman. In order to restore some type of order he says there has to be a move toward compromise and consensus. “There are, in fact, areas of agreement between Democrats and Republicans that they should work on. It’s hard to imagine that happening during a presidential election year.”