Friday, July 5, 2019

One is the loneliest number ...

A few weeks ago (June 10) Politico (among other sources) reported that Michigan Republican Representative Justin Amash quits House Freedom Caucus. And that came after he called for Trump’s impeachment - and was/is the only Republican in Congress to do so.

Rep. Justin Amash quit the conservative House Freedom Caucus on Monday night, weeks after becoming the lone Republican to call for President Donald Trump’s impeachment.

The Michigan lawmaker told a CNN reporter that he has “the highest regard for them, and they’re my close friends,” but he “didn’t want to be a further distraction for the group.” Amash’s decision to step down was confirmed to POLITICO by his office.

Amash, a founding member of the Freedom Caucus, has long been a lone wolf in Congress, routinely bucking GOP leadership and defying Trump on a number of issues throughout the past two years.

But Amash’s support for impeachment roiled members of the Freedom Caucus, who found Amash’s criticism dead wrong. The group decided to uniformly oppose his impeachment stance last month, though they stopped short of kicking him out of the caucus — despite some lawmakers complaining that Amash was still a member.

[Amash is] facing two primary challenges back home and being ripped by Trump on Twitter. While Amash beat back a primary challenge from an establishment candidate in 2014, he faces a far more uncertain political future in the age of Trump, in which fealty to the president has often become a litmus test in the GOP.

There has also been speculation Amash might challenge Trump in 2020 as a libertarian candidate, something he did not rule out at a recent town hall.

“I’ve said many times, I don’t rule things like that out,” Amash said. “If you’re fighting to defend the Constitution, if you find a way to do that that’s different and maybe more effective, then you have to think about that.”

That was the town hall that gave him a standing ovation.

Given the monarchical, anti-democratic requirements for GOP members to pay homage to Trump, it was likely that Amash would eventually quit the GOP. And he now has.

The Daily Beast reports that Justin Amash Quits Republican Party After Backing Trump Impeachment. The only congressional Republican who has backed President Trump’s impeachment is quitting the GOP.

Justin Amash—the only Republican who has said publicly that he wants President Trump to face impeachment—is celebrating the Fourth of July in style after announcing that he’s quit the GOP.

Writing in the Washington Post, Amash made a thinly-veiled attack on Trump in an emotional plea to Americans to reject “the partisan loyalties and rhetoric that divide and dehumanize us.” He went on to say that American politics is trapped in a “partisan death spiral,” and warned : “If we continue to take America for granted, we will lose it.”

Amash’s decision to quit the party comes after he joined Democratic calls for an impeachment inquiry after the publication of the Mueller Report in April. Since then, he’s had to deal with the scorn of his colleagues and has been publicly singled out as a “lightweight” by the president, who said Amash was “a loser who sadly plays right into our opponents hands!”

Trump welcomed the news of Amash’s exit Thursday, calling him “one of the dumbest and most disloyal men in Congress.” He added: “[Amash] knew he couldn’t get the nomination to run again in the Great State of Michigan. Already being challenged for his seat. A total loser!”

In his article, Amash quoted extensively from George Washington’s farewell address which warned against the dangers of partisanship. Amash wrote that Washington’s fears are coming true and that Americans allowed elected officials to toss the constitution aside for the sake of party unity, and that he’s become “frightened” by the two-party system in recent years.

“Today, I am declaring my independence and leaving the Republican Party,” wrote Amash, summing up his announcement. “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.”

Amash’s departure will fuel speculation that he’s hoping to become the nation’s leading anti-Trump conservative and seek the Libertarian Party nomination for the 2020 presidential election. He’s been evasive on the question before, telling CNN earlier this year that he can’t rule out the move because he feels that “someone” has to shake up two-party politics.

The move will also throw open the GOP primaries in Michigan’s 3rd District, where several Republican candidates have already announced their intention to challenge Amash for his congressional seat.

Providing he does try to keep a hold of his seat—which he didn’t mention in the article—he’ll now face reelection as an independent.

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