Only one Republican senator was willing to break with the Republican Party on the impeachment vote. In explaining his vote, Sen. Mitt Romney said President Trump’s actions were “a flagrant assault on our electoral rights, our national security interests, and our fundamental values. Corrupting an election to keep oneself in office is perhaps the most abusive and destructive violation of one’s oath of office that I can imagine.”
Many of his fellow Republicans demanded that Romney “stand with the team.” And it seems that this complicity of “standing with the team” to support a corrupt president was also true of many of our elected officials in Minnesota.
This is what Independent Review editorial writers Brent Schacherer and Stephen Wiblemo were calling out in their Dec. 16 opinion piece, and I applaud them for this. Had more people been willing to take a stand against the misinformation of this administration, many lives might have been saved.
Back in 1950, Margaret Chase Smith, one of the few Republican senators to take a stand against the smear tactics of Joe McCarthy, said, “As a Republican, I say to my colleagues on this side of the aisle that the Republican Party faces a challenge today that is not unlike the challenge which it faced back in Lincoln's day.”
She was a freshman senator at the time, and what she said took political courage. For the next four years, she continued to oppose Joe McCarthy and his hate speech. Finally, in December 1954, the Senate belatedly censured McCarthy for conduct “contrary to senatorial traditions” and norms.
Character matters. For our democracy to work, we need a Republican Party that can be more than the party of Trump.