Justin Amash is serving in Congress as an Independent and he’s now launched an exploratory committee to seek the Libertarian Party’s nomination for President of the United States. Before he left the Republican party, he was known as a Libertarian-leaning Republican who often spoke out against mainstream Republican stances. He’s an independent thinker when it comes to politics, so it’s best to look at his individual stances on policies when seeking to know whether he is conservative or liberal. He doesn’t fall in either the category of Democrat or Republican. Read on to learn more about his political beliefs.
Justin Amash Is an Independent Who Believes in Limited Government, the Dangers of a Two-Party System, But Also Called for UBI for Three Months During the Pandemic
In November 2018, the Iowa Sentinel-Standard referred to Amash as a “Libertarian Republican” who is a “free-market conservative.”
He’s stood up against mainstream Republican policies when he felt it was best. He did not endorse Donald Trump for President and he opposed Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination. Amash said that Kavanaugh was too hostile to Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable searches and seizures, and said that Kavanaugh was also too deferential to executive power, the Sentinel-Standard noted.
Amash also voted for Trump’s impeachment.
He said at the time:
I rise today in support of these articles of impeachment. I come to this floor not as a Democrat, not as a Republican but as an American who cares deeply about the Constitution, the rule of law and the rights of the people under our system of government. Impeachment is not about policy disagreements or ineffective governance, nor is it about criminality based on statutes that did not exist at the time our Constitution was written. Impeachment is about maintaining the integrity of the office of the presidency and ensuring that executive power is directed toward proper ends in accordance with the law. President Donald J. Trump has abused and violated the public trust by using his high office to solicit the aid of a foreign power, not for the benefit of the United States of America but instead for his personal and political gain.”
Many of Amash’s policies are indeed conservative. He has a lifetime score of 98 and a 2019 score of 86 from The Club for Growth as a “Defender of Economic Freedom.”
His bio from when he ran for Congress reads that he’s an advocate for government restraint and believes in limited government, free market, and individual liberty. He opposes bailouts to failing companies and industries, has fought tax breaks and subsidies to government-favored companies, and opposes legislation that limits market competition.
His bio also notes that he’s pro-life: “As a pro-life conservative, Justin believes that unborn children are human beings endowed with a right to life that no one may take from them.” He believes federal money shouldn’t fund abortions. However, in 2012 pro-life advocates noted that he voted “present” on a defunding Planned Parenthood bill. His 2019 score on “Choice” by NARAL is 0%.
However, Amash does steer away from some Republicans on other issues. For example, he believes that marijuana should not be federally illegal. He wrote on Twitter in 2018: “Under our Constitution, marijuana shouldn’t be federally criminalized. @RepTomGarrett has a bill that will stop AG Sessions in his tracks: the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2017 (#HR1227), which I’ve cosponsored.”
In 2019, after leaving the Republican party, he filed a bill to let states set their own marijuana rules without interference from the federal government. His bill also called on the government to study the safety of legalization, including fatalities, injuries, and traffic crashes in states where it’s legalized.
As for Medicare for All, Amash opposed Obamacare’s requirement that individuals must purchase health insurance approved by the government, his website noted back in 2010.
As far as Universal Basic Income, the coronavirus pandemic moved Amash closer to it, as he called on the federal government to give Americans cash payments of $1,250 a month (plus $500 per child) for three months. On his Facebook page he wrote on April 2, in part: “Because most Americans are being told to stay home, the centerpiece of the law should have been substantial monthly cash relief to the people. Instead, much of the assistance was funneled to Mnuchin and the Federal Reserve, mostly to boost large corporations at their discretion… If substantial monthly cash payments had been provided to the people, then businesses could make necessary adjustments to wages and hours without harming workers. This dynamic would allow them to keep more people employed while enhancing the long-term viability of the business. The law also provides robust unemployment benefits, but this money would have been better spent on monthly payments to all Americans regardless of employment status…”
Amash opposes indefinite detention (as seen in the National Defense Authorization Act) and opposes the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA), along with opposing mass collection of Americans’ phone records, his bio noted.
Amash also believes in decreased military spending. In 2011, he said that then-President Barack Obama shouldn’t be getting in the middle of Middle East peace negotiations. He did not believe the United States should play a role in deciding Israel’s borders, MLive reported. This was part of Amash’s belief that the U.S. needed to decrease its foreign presence and military spending.
He said at the time: “I don’t have anything against Israelis or Palestinians, I hope they have peace… But I don’t think the President should dictate the outcome.”
On July 4, 2019, Amash declared his independence and left the Republican party to become independent. He wrote: “The two-party system has evolved into an existential threat to American principles and institutions.”
He believes strongly in what George Washington warned about in his Farewell Address regarding a two-party system, and in fact has part of the address pinned on his Facebook page. The address reads, in part: “The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism. But this leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism. The disorders and miseries which result gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual; and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction, more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation, on the ruins of public liberty.”
In summary: the best way to know whether Amash is more liberal or conservative in his beliefs is by looking at his stance on a particular issue. As an independent, he doesn’t fall strictly on party lines for either side.
READ NEXT: Daily COVID-19 Updates