Reason.com: 'Justin Amash Isn't Just Rebelling Against Trump. He's Fighting the Two-Party System.'
by Peter Suderman, Reason.com (Published on 06/11/19)
Last night, Rep. Justin Amash (R–Mich.) reportedly stepped down from the board of the House Freedom Caucus, which he helped found in 2015.
The move follows a series of headline-making tweetstorms from Amash taking aim at both President Trump and his backers in Congress, in which Amash, relying on the findings in the Mueller report, argues that the president's conduct is impeachable, and that most Republicans are defending him out of little more than pure partisanship.
Amash's fellow Republicans, even those he is ostensibly close with, have generally not taken kindly to his stance, with the Freedom Caucus recently voting to condemn himfor criticizing the president. Trump, meanwhile—never one to skip out on belittling a critic—has in recent weeks trashed Amash as "a total lightweight" and a "loser."
In general, the GOP's attitude toward Amash, the only congressional Republican who has affirmatively connected Trump's conduct with the notion of impeachment, has been dismissive and defensive. Republicans have tended to take Amash's arguments personally, as signs of pointed disloyalty. The job of a Republican, the GOP's responses have suggested, is to support other Republicans, which these days mostly means supporting Donald Trump and whatever it is he does. Amash was attacking Trump, and therefore had to be cut off.
You can certainly read Rep. Justin Amash's recent criticisms of President Trump and the vast majority of elected Republicans who back him as attacks against a president that Amash believes has failed the nation and the office—or on the GOP for its willingness to go along with the same—and you wouldn't be wrong to do so.
But it would be a mistake to assume that's all Amash is doing, or even that is it necessarily the most important aspect of his critique. Amash isn't just a NeverTrump pundit with a congressional office; his target is larger than Trump and the party stalwarts who back him. Rather, he is taking aim at the binary choices offered by the Republican/Democrat duopoly, the unthinking partisanship it seems to require, and the ways that partisanship has made Congress less willing to exercise its constitutional duties as a co-equal branch of government. Amash isn't just taking on Trump; he's making a systemic critique of the two-party system...