In an opinion piece in the Washington Post in July 4, a US Congressman from Michigan, Justin Amash, announced that he is leaving the Republican Party to become an Independent. He said that politics in the US at present is “trapped in a partisan death spiral” for which both Democrats and Republicans are to blame.
Before the announcement it was already clear that if Amash ran for re-election in his district, he would face one or more intra-party primary challengers. Tactically, the announcement may allow him to sidestep such a challenge and run for re-election as an independent.
At least one Amash admirer, Bonnie Kristian, speculates that such independence probably improves his chances for re-election: if that is what he wants. She isn’t sure that it is.
The Thing to Know:
Amash may fairly be described as a conservative, with libertarian leanings. He was a founding member of the House Freedom Caucus in 2015 precisely for members of the House of Representatives with such views. His departure from the Republican Party may serve as a symptom of how completely Trumpism has taken over that party and how inhospitable the environment has become for dissenting sorts of Republican.