While reading this excellent long-form profile of Justin Amash’s recent quitting streak and where he goes next, I came across this whopper from a GOP consultant in his state (emphasis mine):
For a time, said Sellek, Amash fit that desire for a congressman who got stuff done—he was quite good at spending time in his district and meeting with his constituents—but as he began growing vocally anti-Trump, “that kind of unique principled stance of voting no on nearly everything has worn thin with voters over there. He was already facing growing opposition from inside just the community of Republicans and business in West Michigan who were looking for a representative in Congress that was trying to get end results that benefited the community, instead of using their representation purely as a philosophical standing point.”
This is why we can’t have nice things.
Amash has always been “vocally anti-Trump”, but we can assume Sellek means this year when Amash left the House Freedom Caucus, came out for impeachment, and left the GOP. So has Amash voted “no on nearly everything” (read: against Trump and “the community of Republicans and business in West Michigan”)? Not just no, but fuck no.
In the current Congress, Amash has voted 93.3% with Trump’s position, even has he publicly, rigorously, and and bravely called for the president’s impeachment and removal. He’s voted with the president more in this Congress, “as he began growing vocally anti-Trump”, than he did in the previous one.
A lot of Democrats view this kind of dichotomy – speaking out publicly against Trump while simultaneously voting with his positions – as gutless hypocrisy, and for some other politicians it might be. But Amash’s votes are cast without any regard for partisan considerations (otherwise he wouldn’t have literally left his party and risked his entire career). He speaks out on issues where his principles lead him and votes where his principles lead him. Sometimes that coincides with Trump, sometimes it aligns against him.
But if Justin Amash can vote with Trump 93% of the time, have a 92% Liberty Score from Conservative Review, consistently have the highest rating from FreedomWorks, get an 88 from American Conservative Union, and still be called basically a Democrat, then that just proves Amash’s point that the GOP has become nothing more than a personality cult completely unmoored from ideology, principle, and fixed values.