Rep. Justin Amash, until recently a Republican congressman from Michigan, has officially left the Republican Party. In an op-ed for the Washington Post, Amash called on Americans to join him in “rejecting the partisan loyalties and rhetoric that divide and dehumanize us.”
Amash described himself as a lifelong Republican and said, “The Republican Party, I believed, stood for limited government, economic freedom and individual liberty — principles that had made the American Dream possible for my family.”
“In recent years, though, I’ve become disenchanted with party politics and frightened by what I see from it,” he continued. “The two-party system has evolved into an existential threat to American principles and institutions.”
Citing George Washington’s concerns about partisanship, Amash agreed with the father of our country, “Americans have allowed government officials, under assertions of expediency and party unity, to ignore the most basic tenets of our constitutional order: separation of powers, federalism and the rule of law. The result has been the consolidation of political power and the near disintegration of representative democracy.”
Amash is one of the most conservative members of Congress but has been increasingly at odds with other Republicans over the findings of the Mueller report and the party’s unwavering support for President Trump. Amash left the Freedom Caucus, a group he helped to found, in June after his colleagues censured him for favoring Trump’s impeachment. Although attendees at a town hall in May expressed support for Amash, he has polled poorly against a self-described “Trump Republican” challenging him in the primary.
The likely next course for Amash is to launch a presidential campaign as a Libertarian or independent. The Libertarian Party has a broad grassroots network that would help Amash to get on the ballot in every state, but the party also has a long history of self-sabotage.
President Trump celebrated Amash’s departure on Twitter, calling him “one of the dumbest and most disloyal men in Congress.”
However, the Republican celebration may be premature. The president’s net approval in Michigan stands at negative 15 in a new poll by Morning Consult. With Amash leaving the party, it seems likely that the GOP will not only lose the state’s electoral votes, but a congressional seat as well.