Taking a look at the partisan nature of votes on impeachment articles in the U.S. Senate, it seems almost impossible for any party to ever cross the two-thirds majority of 67 votes needed to remove a president from office.
In yesterday’s vote on two articles against President Trump, Mitt Romney was the only Republican to side with Democrats in a guilty vote, if only on one of the two articles in question. In doing so, he was the first senator ever to vote for the removal of a president from his own party.
Former President Bill Clinton, who was impeached in 1998, also faced two articles in the Senate. He was acquitted in a slightly more bipartisan vote. In his case though, all Senators from his own party, the Democrats, sided with him, while five and ten Republicans voted to acquit him of obstruction of justice and perjury, respectively.
The third president to ever be impeached, Andrew Johnson, faced a smaller Senate in 1868. The Democrat had ten Republicans side with him on each of a total of three impeachment articles – resulting in a 35:19 guilty vote, which caused the rest of Republicans to narrowly miss the two-thirds majority. The ten senators who voted for Johnson did so affirming their faith in abolition (or, as some historians have noted, possibly accepting bribes) – none of them returned to the Senate. Out of the eight where historical records as to why exist, three lost reelection campaigns, while the rest resigned, did not run again or died in office.
Johnson assumed the presidency after the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, to whom he was vice president. He faced eleven articles of impeachment in the House, mainly to do with his decision to replace the Secretary of War despite an act that said he needed approval from the Senate to do so.