Congressman Justin Amash announced this morning in an op-ed published by the Washington Post that he is leaving the Republican Party. Once a prominent member of the Tea Party, a conservative political coalition that dominated the Republican Party a decade ago, the Michigan representative now considers himself an independent.
An ideological libertarian, especially on fiscal issues, Amash wrote:
Today, I am declaring my independence and leaving the Republican Party. No matter your circumstance, I’m asking you to join me in rejecting the partisan loyalties and rhetoric that divide and dehumanize us. I’m asking you to believe that we can do better than this two-party system — and to work toward it. If we continue to take America for granted, we will lose it.
An outspoken critic of America’s two-party political system, Amash reiterated his opposition to it in his op-ed, calling the two-party system an “existential threat to American principles and institutions.”
Perhaps best known by many for being the lone Republican in Congress to advocate for the impeachment of President Trump, Amash said in an interview with Vox yesterday that “there is room for a third party.”
Amash’s interview with Vox, in which he cast himself as a politician with integrity as well the rare politician with the answers to this nation’s problems that allude both parties, combined with today’s news that he’s leaving the Republican Party, will serve to fuel speculation that he’s gearing up for a 2020 presidential run.
No doubt, even if he doesn’t run for president, cutting the cord with the Republican Party gives Justin Amash even more room to be a thorn in the side of Republicans. Having resigned from the Freedom Caucus a month ago, Amash has reached across the aisle to hold hands with Democrats on a variety of issues — most notably in opposing legislation funding Trump’s border wall. He’s also a well-known critic of deficit spending, a position that no longer fits with either political party.
Facing an upcoming primary battle in which President Trump has promised to campaign for his challenger, this move frees Amash from the tethers of the Republican Party. He will now be able to avoid the possibility of being primaried and can run in the general election as an independent.