Mitt Romney and the problem of math

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You don’t much like Mitt Romney, and I don’t blame you. But liberals should maybe stop a minute before they dismiss his efforts to oppose President Trump from within the Republican Party.

Understand: I don’t expect Romney to join a Democratic agenda.

I do think it’s possible he could supply a vote in the Senate to convict Trump if impeachment happens.

If impeachment happens, Republican votes will be needed to convict Trump. Because Republicans are the majority in the Senate. And impeachment requires two-thirds of senators present to get a conviction. That’s the Constitution. It’s not going to change.

Democrats can’t do this on their own. They. Just. Can’t.

It’s my impression that many liberals and Democrats believe Trump should be impeached. If so, they should be figuring out how to do it effectively. If you come at the king, you best not miss, etc.

That means figuring out how to bring at least a few Republicans along for the ride.

With his op-ed, Romney has signaled that while he is a Republican, he disdains Trump enough that he might go on that ride. His reasons for going on that ride are going to be different than ours.

This is not me being la-la land “can’t we all get along” about politics. At Salon, Amanda Marcotte accused me of “gushing” over Romney and grouped me with media members who have ” faith that we will be graced with a tough, morally resolute Republican hero straight out of a John Wayne movie.”

Which, no.

This is all about the math. How do you get to two-thirds of the Senate?

It’s being *very strategic* about how to get rid of a bad president. It will mean making temporary allies of people whose politics we might otherwise disdain. And yes, after that, we’ll all go back to being rivals again. If there’s another way to accomplish the goal without figuring out awkward partnerships with the Romneys of the world, I’m all ears. But I haven’t heard anybody propose it.

If Trump is just another bad Republican president, this is no big deal. We can wait until 2020 and try (and hope) to beat him at the polls then, like we have with other presidents. If you believe, as I do, that he’s bad the way Republicans tend to be bad and still piles a whole bunch of badness on top of that, it becomes imperative to try and get him out of office sooner than later. That means making awkward allies and even a few compromises to get backing from some Republicans.

There is no way this ends without a mess.



  1. The problem with your logic here is that Republican Senators show no signs of being interested in impeaching or even checking the president. A few have made occasional ineffectual noises but Mitch McConnell and the rest of the GOP writ large are, as Rebecca ably pointed out in her most recent post, quite satisfied with the platform Trump espouses, thank you very much, even if they recognize that it’s to their advantage to tut a little about the langage he uses to describe it once in a while. The suggestion that the Democrats should be careful not to alienate Republican leaders in case they suddenly develop spines or consciences and might vote to impeach smacks of appeasement, and we all know where that leads.


    • Hi Maria: I’m not suggesting appeasement. I’m just suggesting that when a Republican Senator does show interest in checking the president, Democrats – recognizing the Constitutional requirements that two-thirds of the Senate approve an impeachment verdict – maybe not turn their back on that Senator. Mitt, for all his faults, demonstrated that interest this week. He may be with the president on a lot of things, but he’s not with the president on all things, and maybe we should be prepared to exploit that division. That’s more likely to succeed than demanding a wholesale conversion by the Mitts of the world.


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