Rep. Amash quits GOP, say­ing that U.S. is in a ‘par­ti­san death spi­ral’

Lodi News-Sentinel - - SPORTS - By Todd Span­gler

WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. Justin Amash of west Michi­gan on Thurs­day morn­ing quit the Repub­li­can Party, say­ing that extreme par­ti­san­ship in Washington and across the U.S. has “evolved into an ex­is­ten­tial threat to Amer­i­can prin­ci­ples and in­sti­tu­tions.”

In an opin­ion piece written for the Washington Post, Amash — who is the only Repub­li­can in Congress to call for Pres­i­dent Donald Trump’s im­peach­ment — said he would serve as an in­de­pen­dent and called on other Amer­i­cans to aban­don party la­bels and re­ject “the par­ti­san loy­al­ties and rhetoric that di­vide and de­hu­man­ize us.”

His of­fice con­firmed later in the morn­ing that he plans to run for re-elec­tion in his Repub­li­can-leaning dis­trict, cen­tered around Grand Rapids, as an in­de­pen­dent.

“The founders en­vi­sioned Congress as a de­lib­er­a­tive body in which out­comes are dis­cov­ered,” Amash wrote in the opin­ion piece. “We are fast ap­proach­ing the point, how­ever, where Congress ex­ists as lit­tle more than a for­mal­ity to le­git­imize out­comes dic­tated by the pres­i­dent, the speaker of the House and the Se­nate ma­jor­ity leader.”

“Modern pol­i­tics is trapped in a par­ti­san death spi­ral, but there is an es­cape,” he said.

At mid­night, Amash, now I-Cascade Town­ship, also posted on Twit­ter a photo of the Dec­la­ra­tion of In­de­pen­dence with the note, “Happy Birth­day, Amer­ica.”

Pos­si­bly be­cause the sur­prise an­nounce­ment was made early on a hol­i­day morn­ing, re­ac­tion was slow to come in, though Trump weighed in, call­ing Amash’s de­par­ture “Great news for the Repub­li­can Party” and call­ing the con­gress­man “one of the ... most dis­loyal men in Congress.”

Amash didn’t com­ment di­rectly on his po­lit­i­cal fu­ture in the piece but a re­porter for Michi­gan Ra­dio and NPR caught up with him at a pa­rade in Grand Rapids and he said he planned to run for re­elec­tion as an in­de­pen­dent.

“I’ve been think­ing about it for awhile,” Amash said. His of­fice con­firmed his de­ci­sion a short time later.

He says he’s still run­ning in #MI03, but as an in­de­pen­dent.

With sev­eral other Repub­li­cans and Democrats al­ready in the race, Sa­bato’s Crys­tal Ball, a po­lit­i­cal hand­i­cap­ping site at the Uni­ver­sity of Vir­ginia’s Cen­ter for Pol­i­tics, de­clared the seat up for grabs if Amash, a five-term in­cum­bent, ran as an in­de­pen­dent.

In ear­lier re­marks, Amash had also not ruled out a run for pres­i­dent, though nei­ther had he in­di­cated very strongly that he was look­ing to make such a run. His de­ci­sion to run for re-elec­tion ap­peared to make that un­likely.

In May, Amash be­came the first — and so far only — Repub­li­can in Congress to call for Trump’s im­peach­ment, say­ing he reached that con­clu­sion af­ter reading the entirety of Spe­cial Coun­sel Robert Mueller’s re­port into Rus­sian in­ter­fer­ence in the last pres­i­den­tial elec­tion and pos­si­ble ob­struc­tion of jus­tice claims.

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