The former Freedom Caucus member who previously suggested President Donald Trump be impeached has announced he is leaving the Republican Party.
Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan now says he is an Independent, as partisan politics has taken its toll on the American people.
“The parties value winning for its own sake, and at whatever cost,” Amash wrote in a 4th of July op-ed for The Washington Post. “Instead of acting as an independent branch of government and serving as a check on the executive branch, congressional leaders of both parties expect the House and Senate to act in obedience or opposition to the president and their colleagues on a partisan basis.”
He said that congressional leaders use the prospect of “chairmanships, committee assignments, bill sponsorships, endorsements and campaign resources” to keep party members in line. He added that Congress is getting exceedingly close to becoming a rubber stamp for the president, or the House speaker, or the Senate majority leader.
“With little genuine debate on policy happening in Congress, party leaders distract and divide the public by exploiting wedge issues and waging pointless messaging wars,” Amash wrote. “These strategies fuel mistrust and anger, leading millions of people to take to social media to express contempt for their political opponents, with the media magnifying the most extreme voices. This all combines to reinforce the us-vs.-them, party-first mind-set of government officials.”
Amash announced that he is leaving the Republican Party and asked others to help him end the two-party system.
The Palestinian-American congressman had gained notoriety recently for criticizing Attorney General William P. Barr and claiming Special Council Robert Mueller’s report showed Trump “engaged in impeachable conduct.” The Daily Wire’s Ryan Saavedra reported at the time that Democratic politicians, activists, and journalists praised Amash’s tweets critical of Trump.
The praise from the Left was soon followed by punishment from the Right. Michigan State Rep. Jim Lower — a Trump supporter — announced he would primary Amash in 2020. About a month after his tweets, a poll showed Amash would lose his primary to Lower. The poll found Lower would receive 49% of primary votes to Amash’s 33%.
Around the same time the poll came out, Amash voluntarily left the House Freedom Caucus. The caucus had previously condemned his tweets, but caucus member Jim Jordan (R-OH) said Amash was still a friend of the group.
Amash’s record in congress shows he truly is an Independent. While he has been the only Republican to vote against right-leaning bills like a resolution supporting officers and personnel of Immigration Customs and Enforcement, he has also been one of the few Republicans to vote to cut spending (something conservatives are supposed to support). He also has a stellar record supporting guns and life.
Amash has always been more Libertarian than Republican, so his announcement is not that unexpected.
“But we owe it to future generations to stand up for our constitutional republic so that Americans may continue to live free for centuries to come,” he wrote. “Preserving liberty means telling the Republican Party and the Democratic Party that we’ll no longer let them play their partisan game at our expense.”