Editorial: Virtue of independent thinking  

Senator Susan Collins’ vote to convict former president Donald Trump in his second impeachment trial did not go over well with state Republican Party leadership. Party Chairwoman Demi Kouzounas and members of the Maine Republican State Committee, including Hancock County leadership, expressed their outrage in a letter to Collins.   

They wrote to “condemn in the strongest possible terms” Collins’ vote, reiterating their belief that the trial was unconstitutional and outlining concerns about the impeachment process. The senator was well familiar with their concerns as she met with county leadership prior to the trial and heard from countless constituents. The letter writers thank Collins for listening and for her long commitment to the state but say that they cannot stand silently by in the wake of Collins’ decision. No one expects them to.   

There is a difference, however, in vigorously disagreeing with someone and seeking to punish or ostracize. The former is healthy political discourse; the latter is a recipe for political discord. There is no one way to be a Republican, a Democrat or an American. Collins said she based her vote on the Constitution and the evidence before her as an impartial juror. In impeachment round one, she came to a different conclusion and enraged a different group of Mainers.    

There is a reason why Collins is the only Republican from New England serving in D.C. and there is a reason why she won handily despite polls showing a much closer race. Mainers are an independent lot, and they recognize and appreciate the same trait in leadership – even if they do not always agree with individual decisions.  

Data from the Maine Secretary of State’s Office compiled after the July 14 primary shows there are 386,786 enrolled Maine Democrats, 339,782 unenrolled voters and 295,122 Republicans, according to the Portland Press Herald.   

Perhaps the Maine GOP’s time would be better served identifying and cultivating candidates who share Collins’ broad appeal rather than lambasting her for not toeing the party line.  

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