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Justin Amash’s call for a break from the US’ two-party system falls on deaf ears

Justin Amash’s call for a break from the US’ two-party system falls on deaf ears
Rep. Justin Amash left Republican Party and became a hero for Donald Trump’s opponents and possible presidential candidate. But his urge for re-examination of the two-party system may seem too much for US politics to stomach.

Amash argues that heightened levels of partisanship have distorted the country’s founding fathers’ vision of liberty and limited government. As a result, Congress has turned into little more than a rubber stamp for the executive branch of government, he wrote in a Washington Post op-ed on Thursday.

On the same day, he announced that he was leaving the Republican Party and will continue to represent Michigan’s second congressional district as an independent. The news was greeted with delight from President Trump, who had earlier railed against Amash as a traitor to the party after calling for his impeachment. Trump tweeted:

The Post described him as an “endangered species” for his anti-Trump stance in a party that has largely rallied around the president in spite of the president veering from Republican orthodoxy on a number of issues including trade policy. His call for a reevaluation of the US’s two-party system has not been well received either. The Post points out that only one Republican so far this century has left the party to sit in Congress as an independent – Jim Jeffords of Vermont in 2001.

His proposal to run for president as an independent or on a third party ticket has also been met with skepticism. Commentators have pointed out that third party candidates often only end up affecting the outcome of elections by distorting the result as a “spoiler” candidate. Notable examples of this phenomenon include Pat Buchanan’s run for president in 2000, Ralph Nader’s run in 2004 and Jill Stein’s in 2016. “Taking a significant share of the vote in 2020 could render him a perceived spoiler — a new Ralph Nader,” as the Post puts it.

Some Twitter users, however, were more optimistic about the prospect of him running in the 2020 presidential election.

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