News & Politics

Justin Amash: Republicans Used to Care About Principles, Now Only About Trump

Rep. Justin Amash, R-Mich., is interviewed by Congressional Quarterly in his Cannon Building office. (Photo By Tom Williams/Roll Call) (CQ Roll Call via AP Images)

Earlier this year, Congressman Justin Amash announced he would leave the Republican Party. The reason, he said, was the party’s support for President Donald Trump and the overall partisan nature of politics. Now Amash adds that, as far as he is concerned, he didn’t leave the party… it left him.

Back in June, Amash wrote that he supported “Republican candidates throughout my early adult life and then successfully ran for office as a Republican. 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.”

However, Amash explained, “in recent years […] I’ve become disenchanted with party politics and frightened by what I see from it. The two-party system has evolved into an existential threat to American principles and institutions.” Democrats are automatically against everything President Trump does, while Republicans defend every single thing he does (and says), even when it clearly violates the principles of small government. So, Amash argued, it was time for him to leave the party and to continue as an Independent.

Yesterday, Amash added an explanation to the above by arguing that he didn’t really leave the Republican Party; it left him.

“Republicans used to care about pics 1-3,” Amash writes about pictures showing his extremely conservative performance in Congress. “Now, they care mainly about pic 4.” That fourth picture is an image of President Trump. “It’s no longer about conservatism,” he summarizes, but “about kneeling before a man.”

To a degree, it is difficult to argue with Amash on this point. It is true: Republicans are focusing much of their time and attention on defending Trump and his agenda. And yes, sometimes this means that they’re willing to side with him against principles and policies they used to hold dear. See how Republicans seem to be perfectly OK with an ever-increasing debt, for example.

On the other hand, it’s also difficult to argue that Republicans — or conservatives in general — are completely wrong to do so. It is becoming increasingly clear that the Trump presidency is becoming nothing more or less than a battle to protect American democracy. You don’t have to support everything Trump does to understand that if his detractors succeed in bringing him down, Trump will be the last non-left-wing president. Ever.

Amash, then, certainly has a fair point. Sadly, however, conservatives don’t have another option. If Trump falls, Democrats will dominate politics for decades to come. Considering the radical left-wing policies pushed by the Democratic Party, conservatives can’t let that happen. It really is that simple.