Fact one, Sen. Romney consistently sides with President Trump.
According to FiveThirtyEight, a statistics-based news outlet, Utah Sen. Mitt Romney votes in line with President Donald Trump 78.8% of the time. That makes him the sixth least likely Republican senator to vote in line with the president.
For reference, our other senator, Mike Lee, is the fourth least likely to vote in line with the President voting with the President a “measly” 75% of the time.
Fact two, partisanship is always an element of the impeachment process.
A total of three U.S. presidents (Andrew Johnson, Bill Clinton and Donald Trump) have ever been faced with impeachment. That means there have been 254 different opportunities (100 senators on two different occasions and 54 senators in 1868) for a senator to vote across party lines and either impeach someone from their own party or not impeach a member of the opposing party.
And according to The Washington Post, Sen. Romney is the first senator in the history of the United States of America to ever cross that impeachment party line.
This technically makes the outcome of President Trump’s impeachment trial the most bipartisan vote in U.S. history.
Fact three, Utah has an uneasy relationship with the president, but it’s improving.
According to The New York Times, President Donald Trump won the vote in the 2016 Presidential election with 45.1% of the vote. Hillary Clinton got 27.2% of the vote and third-party candidate Evan McMullin got 21.3%. This is especially interesting when you consider how much higher Utah’s Republican support normally is, or if you remember the drumming Trump took in the primaries when Utah loudly chose to support Sen. Ted Cruz.
That being said, Utah Policy reported that the president’s approval rating just rose above 50% for the first time since the 2016 election.
So the needle is moving in Trump’s favor in spite of the obvious discomfort many Utahns feel towards the president.
These three facts tell a lot of interesting stories.
First, it highlights that Sen. Mitt Romney stands to win nothing aside from a good night’s sleep.
I’m a firm believer that a Republican doesn’t need to fall in line with the president’s worldview to office, and I wish more Utahns running for offices would have the cajones to give that strategy a whirl, but Mitt isn’t advantaged by this move.
If he ever wants to run for another term as senator or some future office he has most likely lost himself votes, not gained them. The only way I see an alternative to him gaining votes is if his actions somehow enfranchised that large number of nonvoters in the state to vote again.
But, barring a miraculous sleeping, silent majority, he has probably lost the favor of a lot of Utahns. And if support for the president continues to grow, he’ll likely continue to lose support.
I know that the current narrative is that senator is somehow bitter and jealous of Trump, but we all know that’s nothing more than right-wing trolling, right? Romney didn’t lose to Trump, he lost to President Obama. And Trump didn’t beat Obama, he beat Clinton.
And if we could, for a second, be honest with one another, we’d see that any jealousy the Trump camp sees from Romney is nothing more than projection. You don’t get to spoof hurricane maps and crowd sizes and say the guy who votes with you 8 times out of 10 has the jealousy problem.
It’s weak. It’s sad. It’s factually untrue.
Sen. Romney has been a punching bag of Trump’s for a while now, all imaginary begging for an endorsement aside, and Romney gains nothing from this move.
And let’s be honest, a lot of the Democrats who support Romney for his move to impeach will dog pile on him tomorrow when his beliefs dictate that he should act conservatively on another issue.
Second, it highlights how quick President Trump’s Republican Party is willing to turn its back on people who disagree with them in the slightest.
This culture has existed for a long time in certain local Republican circles where people wish to instigate purity tests and deny non-convention attendees a voice in their own party, but it’s eye-opening to see it so blatantly on display in national politics.
If a guy who votes with you 8 out 10 times needs to be ejected from the party or office, you’re not part of a political party, you’re part of a cult.
What happened to the idea of the marketplace of ideas? What happened to valuing individualism and liberty? What do you think is going to happen as your aging base begins to disappear? Do Republicans think that such stringent purity tests are going to somehow provide them long-term wins?
Do any Republicans care?
I am personally glad that Sen. Romney spoke his conscience on impeachment.
There’s a lot of talk about how he ignored the voice of Utah with his action, but I think that’s only true if we say that the voices of Utahns who agree with him don’t matter. And ignoring those voices is a mistake, especially if you consider how difficult it’s been for Trump to garner support in this historically red state.
I know the senator will probably never read this, but if he does, I’d just like to tell him that I’d like to buy him a BYU chocolate milk. Just tell me where to send it.