He'd already quit a Republican caucus; now Justin Amash is abandoning the GOP altogether. In a Fourth of July surprise, the Michigan congressman, who's made recent headlines for being the "lone-wolf GOP Trump critic," made a big announcement in the Washington Post: "Today, I am declaring my independence and leaving the Republican Party." Amash notes that both his parents were immigrants, as well as Republicans, and that he followed in their footsteps because "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." Now, Amash says he's "disenchanted" and "frightened" not just by the GOP, but by the Democratic Party, too—a two-party system that's "evolved into an existential threat to American principles and institutions." He adds: "Modern politics is trapped in a partisan death spiral, but there is an escape."
Amash cites George Washington's own warnings about partisanship, and he bemoans today's "hyperpartisan environment" in which "party leaders distract and divide the public by exploiting wedge issues and waging pointless messaging wars." This all leads to a demoralized, distrustful, and angry public, Amash writes, which is why he proposes a solution, at least for those who don't consider themselves "rigidly partisan" on either side: Ditch your party and become an independent like he is now. "I'm asking you to join me in rejecting the partisan loyalties and rhetoric that divide and dehumanize us," Amash writes. "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." Read Amash's adieu to the GOP here. (Read more Justin Amash stories.)