Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Justin Amash was thinking about leaving the GOP long before Trump

Posted By on Wed, Nov 13, 2019 at 10:52 AM

click to enlarge U.S. Congressman Justin Amash speaking with attendees at the 2017 Young Americans for Liberty National Convention. - GAGE SKIDMORE
  • Gage Skidmore
  • U.S. Congressman Justin Amash speaking with attendees at the 2017 Young Americans for Liberty National Convention.

U.S. Rep. Justin Amash, an independent from west Michigan and vocal critic of President Donald Trump, famously split from the Republican Party in a splashy op-ed published in The Washington Post (on Independence Day, no less). But in a lengthy profile published by Rolling Stone on Tuesday, Amash says he was thinking of going rogue long before Trump.

Amash told the magazine that from his vantage point, the legislative process had broken down, replaced with what he calls "an elaborate form of performance art" in which "people have capitulated and allowed the system to consume them." And he doesn't see things getting better any time soon.

"You finally get to the point where nobody breaks from what the speaker wants or what the party leaders want," Amash said. "I've called it a partisan death spiral. There's no real way out because you'd have to convince the majority of Congress to break from the system that seems to work well for a lot of them."

"You either fall in line and the party apparatus supports you, or if you have independent thoughts, you are punished, criticized, and attacked even by your own party," he said.

Amash is running for re-election in his district as an independent, but faces competition from at least five Republicans and four Democrats gunning for his seat. After previously supporting his campaign, West Michigan's über-rich DeVos family has now turned their backs on him.

Previously, Amash — who was the first Republican to call for Trump's impeachment before he left the party — had teased that he could challenge Trump for president in 2020, but downplayed those rumors to Rolling Stone.

"I'll continue to weigh where I think I can make the most impact, but I also think it’s important to be successful when you run for office," he tells me. "If I were to run for president, that’s not something I would do unless I felt very confident I could win it. And so if you were to see me get into the race it means that I'm confident I can win the race."

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