There are few members of Congress as critical about Washington politics as Rep. Justin Amash, the Libertarian from Michigan.
In fact, he thinks both sides of Congress place more emphasis on theatrical “performance” than the quality of their legislation.
In the last year, he left the Republican Party, considered a run for president as the Libertarian candidate and on July 16 announced he would not seek reelection.
While the 40-year-old has not publicly announced his plans for 2021 and beyond, he hinted in an interview his professional future may involve trying to educate voters and defend the Constitution from outside Washington.
“I want to do what I can to work from the outside to change things because I’ve tried the inside and right now I can’t get much traction,” Amash said. “I want to engage in opportunities that will teach people about Congress, politics and our constitutional system.”
Amash entered the political arena in 2008 when he was elected to Michigan’s state House of Representatives. As the child of Palestinian and Syrian immigrants, he said he was running to preserve the idea of the American dream.
“When I first ran for the state House, I wanted to show people that someone can go into the legislature and be independent, successful and have the support of the people,” Amash said. “I saw two parties that were working together to hurt Americans and working against each other to hurt Americans. I wanted to go in and make an impact.”
Amash has built his career around stressing small government, independent thought and a love for America. But after 10 years of serving in the House of Representatives, he’s frustrated by what he sees as the theatrics of Congress and partisanship of the national media.
“The machinery of Congress is a lot more complicated [than the state legislature] because there is so much entertainment value,” Amash said, noting members of Congress typically “perform” for specific media outlets. “Most members of Congress are pretty kind to each other in private, but in public, they’re performative. It’s very much theater.”..
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