Reason Podcast

Justin Amash on Quitting the Republican Party and Life as an Independent

The Michigan congressman is carving a path as an independent unburdened by the two-party system


When Michigan Rep. Justin Amash declared his independence from the Republican Party on July 4, he instantly became one of the most controversial politicians in America. Donald Trump immediately took to Twitter to denounce Amash as a "total loser" and "one of the dumbest & most disloyal" members of the GOP.

Whether or not you agree with the five-term congressman's choice to leave the Republican Party, he's anything but dumb and unprincipled. Amash has been the most consistently libertarian member of Congress since taking office in 2011, repeatedly voting to reduce the size and spending of the federal government, to stop mass surveillance of American citizens, and to end wars that he believes lack constitutional authorization.

Reason's Nick Gillespie sat down with Amash, the 39-year-old son of Middle Eastern immigrants, to talk about what it feels like to be independent, why he won't be joining Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's social-justice "squad" anytime soon, whether he thinks Donald Trump is racist, if he's going to run for president as a Libertarian, and why he believes we need to talk more about love in national politics.

Interview by Nick Gillespie. Edited by Ian Keyser.