On Friday, Michigan Rep. Justin Amash officially switched his party affiliation from Independent to Libertarian, making him the first member of the Libertarian Party in Congress. As reported by The Washington Times, Amash — who recently announced his bid for the Libertarian nomination for president — took to Twitter to address the occasion.
“It’s an important step for our young party, and I’m honored to be a part of it,” he wrote.
In a statement released on Twitter, the Libertarian Party expressed hope that Amash would be one of many politicians to do so in the coming months and years.
“We look forward to more members leaving their old parties that only care about scoring cheap political points — and not about the American people.”
Amash has identified as a libertarian throughout his political career, but was a member of the Republican Party for its duration until July of 2019 when he left the GOP following backlash for his call to impeach Donald Trump.
“The two-party system has evolved into an existential threat to American principles and institutions,” he wrote in an op-ed for The Washington Post in which he announced his departure.
“Modern politics is trapped in a partisan death spiral, but there is an escape,” he wrote elsewhere in the piece.
Rep. Amash on why he's exploring a Libertarian presidential run: "There are millions of Americans who aren’t represented by either Donald Trump or Joe Biden, who aren't represented by the Republicans or the Democrats …those millions of Americans deserve a choice on the ballot." pic.twitter.com/kUSNzMNuu5
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) April 29, 2020
The 40-year-old congressman has been critical of the two-party system throughout his career, which has been echoed by others, including Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard. According to a recent Politico piece, Amash’s recent switch to the Libertarian Party and bid for president are part of a plan that intends to “destroy the system that created Trump.”
In an interview with Politico’s Tim Alberta, Amash revealed that his switch to the Libertarian Party was fueled by his dissatisfaction with the current state of the Republican Party, which he said now focuses on nationalism and protectionism as opposed to constitutional conservatism.
While Amash noted the tonal difference between Biden and Trump, he suggested that both the Democratic Party and Republican Party have gaps in their “degrees” but not in “kind.” Specifically, he pointed to the effort of each party to cast the other as a force of evil and their own as one for good.
Interestingly, Raul Labrador, a retired congressman who was allegedly Amash’s closest friend on Capitol Hill, claims that Amash doesn’t see a significant difference between Trump and Biden.
“People must be surprised to realize that Justin would rather see a Trump presidency than a Biden presidency, even it’s a 51/49 proposition.”