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Mon, Feb. 17

Editorial: Party loyalty trumps statesmanship in America today

Loyalty is an admirable trait.

On that, we can all agree.

And there is probably no better example of loyalty than what you will find in the halls of the United States Congress.

In both the U.S. House and Senate, loyalty to political party trumps all other considerations in the decisions that make and shape America.

That has been clearly evident in the past month in the impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump. In the end, the accusations against Trump were not so much measured in merit as they were in party politics.

Who has the power? Democrats wanted to seize it. Republicans refused to relinquish it.

In the House votes on the two articles of impeachment levied against the president, there was little sway in the 232-197 balance of power Democrats hold in the House. They were two votes shy of a straight party-line vote on the abuse of power charge and three votes shy on the obstruction of Congress allegation.

The same held true in the Republican-controlled U.S. Senate. There was a straight party-line vote on the obstruction of Congress charge and a one-vote deviation on the abuse of power article of impeachment.

In the end, the impeachment proceedings against the president had less to do with alleged wrongdoings by Mr. Trump as they did in who holds the power in Washington, D.C.

Republican loyalty was the winner this time.

Some would say it was an exercise in partisan politics at its best. Others will say it was a glaring example of the lost art of statesmanship in America today.

Forget for a moment where you stand on the issue of the impeachment charges against the president. Instead, ask yourself if bold leadership is measured in party loyalty or the likely political suicide committed by Sen. Mitt Romney who chose to break from his party’s rank and file and vote his conscience instead?

The plague of party loyalty over statesmanship is not unique to D.C. politics. We’ve seen it trickle all the way down to the Verde Valley with the issue of school district consolidation.

Earlier this week, the Arizona’s Senate Education Committee voted 6-3 to support Senate Bill 1122. SB 1122 proposes a change in state law to allow for a single-canvass vote in school district consolidation elections. Six Republicans supported Andy Groseta’s desire for a change in the consolidation election process.

Three Democrats voted in support of the education establishment status quo.

And, as Mr. Groseta noted, “It was a party line vote. It has been a party line vote in each of our previous legislation (two bills) that was approved by the Legislature and signed by the governor.”

Again, what we are seeing with school district consolidation is nothing more than an exercise in who has the power.

Democrats are in the camp of the education establishment when it comes to consolidation. Republicans are trying to seize that power.

At almost every level today in American politics, statesmanship has become a lost art. They’re all politicians who cling to party loyalty at all costs.

Leadership, compromise and consensus building have lost their place in American politics.

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