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Sanity in the GOP: Justin Amash is a rebel among rebels

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Unread 08.18.16, 03:52 PM
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Sanity in the GOP: Justin Amash is a rebel among rebels

08.18.16 11:37 AM

This is an installment of an ongoing series examining how true small government voices in Congress are being drowned out in the era of Donald Trump.

Libertarian-leaning Michigan Rep. Justin Amash is currently the only congressman in the 39-member House Freedom Caucus to say he is definitely not planning to vote for GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump in November.

“I’m not voting for him,” he told Reuters in March.

Why other members of the Freedom Caucus aren’t on the same page as Amash has been a popular topic of discussion among conservatives. That’s because the GOP nominee’s past support for increased gun control measures and government welfare programs and more his more recent statements have left many staunch conservatives fearful that Trump will ignore the Constitution and grow government.

And the Freedom Caucus, made up of lawmakers with strong ties to the Tea Party and libertarian-leaning mavericks, is supposed to be the House’s conservative A-Team.

The group emerged in 2015 as a political force within the GOP and has since caused numerous headaches for party leaders thanks to no-compromise conservative attitudes, especially with regard to fiscal policy matters.

And the group’s power to influence change within the party certainly isn’t inconsequential. Freedom Caucus legislators are the reason former House Speaker John Boehner decided to call it quits. They’re also partially responsible for blocking House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s bid to take Boehner’s position.

In other words, they’ve played the role of Washington kingmaker before.

And plenty of members have their misgivings about the GOP nominee.

“A lot of us [predicted] the anti-establishment wave,” South Carolina Rep. Mick Mulvaney told National Review. “We’d seen it in 2010 and 2012 and 2014, so we knew it was coming to a crest. We just never expected it to take the form of Donald Trump. We like that he’s anti-establishment, we like the fact that he’s kind of blowing up the internal party politics as we’ve known them. We’re just not sure if he’s a conservative.”

The conservative stalwarts in the Freedom Caucus feel Trump’s rise to popularity might have been prevented— creating an opportunity for a more Constitution-minded anti-establishment candidate— if the GOP leadership hadn’t invested so much energy in pushing back against their efforts to shrink government.

But Amash remains the sole member to say he isn’t on Trump’s side.

The conservative congressman hinted that he may cast a write-in vote for Sen. Rand Paul or even consider voting for Libertarian Gary Johnson.

All he knows for sure, Amash said: “I’m not voting for Hillary or Trump.”

The post Sanity in the GOP: Justin Amash is a rebel among rebels appeared first on Personal Liberty®.

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