Michigan Congressman, Justin Amash, announced this morning he is leaving the Republican party (story HERE). His reasons are common enough. He’s tired of the hyper partisanship and he’s never been a big fan of Trump.
Amash is nowhere near the first to leave one of the two big parties. He will not be the last. And this publicity stunt will result in a temporary bump in the news cycle, that will be followed by a career change when he’s eventually knocked out of office.
Amash is forgetting a major rule in the current political system. This is a team sport and you can’t get a lot done by yourself. Pick a color. It’s red or blue for the foreseeable future.
Listen, I can understand his frustration and the truth is that if you don’t get frustrated with your party then you’re probably not that involved.
It happens with both Republicans and Democrats. Don’t pretend like it doesn’t. There are still “Never Trumpers” and Bernie fans that know this all too well.
We tolerate it because for a variety of different reasons. Mainly, because we’re not billionaires (most of us) and we can’t move a mountain of an issue alone. Even if we have the resources, we our a nation of government and laws and it takes coalition building to make things happen.
Here in Florida, we had a Justin Amash almost a decade ago. In fact, he was Governor and he switched parties when he realized the GOP wanted Marco Rubio to be the next Senator from Florida instead of him.
Charlie Crist lost his Senatorial bid that year. He wised up and joined the Democratic party when he realized the lesson Amash will eventually learn and still lost when he tried to return to the Governor’s mansion in 2014.
Crist is lucky. He’s a Congressman now. But he’s still on a team. It just happens to be the blue one this time.
Amash is also considering a third party Presidential run in an attempt to “Jill Stein” the Trump campaign into a loss. If that happens, he’ still politically done.
The day may come when the parties aren’t as important as they used to be, but if you’re still working in the world of politics, you still need to pick a side.
There is no glory in this decision. Only tough lessons and a lot of unanswered phone calls.