Can Justin Amash Win as an Independent? | Guest: Rep. Justin Amash | Ep 36

(rock music) – [Matt] Our audience is three beers in, so we’ll see how this goes. If you guys want to, come up front, because there’s a unspecified prize for people that come up
front to participate. I don’t even know what it is. Let’s give a round of applause
for Congressman Justin Amash who stayed over Saturday to join us. Give it up for Justin. (audience clapping and cheering) – Thanks. – And an extra day inside the Beltway, I assume is a little bit less
of your soul that you’ll keep. – [Justin] Yeah, that’s right.
– Yeah. So the last time we
spoke was in the spring, and I don’t know if
anything’s happened since then that we can talk about, but… (audience laughing) I was thinking that maybe we would start with your declaration of
independence on the 4th of July. Why did you do that? – Well, I’m tired of the two-party system. Yeah, we can clap for that. Please clap. (audience clapping and laughing) So, you know, I’ve been in
Congress for several years now, and it became clear to me that the thing that was frustrating me most was just the whole party system here. If you don’t stick with your… Oh, we’re gonna get bad mic feedback now. – Do it like this. By the way, this is the
first time we’ve done this, so it’s possible that
things are gonna go wrong. Yeah, just up on it, but lean it back. – All right, how ’bout now? – Very good, perfect.
– We’re good? Good, all right. So, please clap. (audience clapping) Okay, thank you. – At least somebody
remembers who Jeb Bush was. (audience laughing) – Okay, so it became clear to me that one of the biggest
problems we were facing is not the lack of principled Republicans, it’s that we have an… And we do lack principled
Republicans, let’s be honest, but it’s that the two-party
system drives people to do things that they
otherwise would not do. So there are lots of people who come in with very strong principles,
but there is every incentive through the party system to
cast aside those principles. They’re usually told at first that it’s just taking one for
the team on a small thing, and then it gradually becomes
something bigger and bigger, and eventually the party
controls everything you do, and even people who came in
with very strong beliefs, very strong principles, find themselves as totally different characters just maybe even one or two
years into their service. I think that we need more
independence involved in politics. We need more people to break
away from the two-party system. It doesn’t mean that you
can’t be a Republican, or you can’t be a Democrat,
or you can’t be a Libertarian or a Green Party member. What I’m saying is if you
sell your soul to the party, if you decide that the
party is more important than your principles, then you
have no business being here and you’re actually doing a
lot of harm to our country. By the way, for those of you
who are listening to this, for some reason there’s a
bubble machine on stage. – Yeah, I don’t know. – With independence comes bubbles, which is awesome.
– That’s right. – Actually, I wanna go
back to the piece you wrote on the 4th of July. You quote extensively
from George Washington and his farewell address. And this quote I think is pretty powerful. Disorders and miseries
which result gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and response 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. The reason I like that quote
is that I think he anticipated, it’s interesting that
Washington is warning of us this because he, in a sense, was
an iconic cult-like figure in America’s founding, but he warned us against just following a guy and giving that guy a blank check. I feel like both parties have done that. – Yeah.
– In my lifetime. – Yeah, absolutely, and I often
hear people say things like, “Well, don’t both sides this
or don’t both sides that?” The reality is that both
parties have a lot of problems. I mean, we really see it
manifesting itself now in Donald Trump, where
the Republican Party is completely beholden to him, and everyone can see it very clearly. That’s not very hidden. But what a lot of people don’t see is what goes on in Congress,
where you have party leaders, and in the current
situation, Speaker Pelosi, who really controls the
place with an iron fist. And the Democrats really do fall in line with what she wants. So it may be someone like Donald Trump who’s doing it on Twitter
and very upfront about sort of dominating people’s lives, but what people don’t see
is that behind the scenes, the same thing is going
on, on the Democratic side. They are beholden to their
leadership in the same way that many Republicans are
beholden to Donald Trump, and they will not break
from that leadership. And if that leadership does wrong, they will pretend that the
leadership did no wrong. And that’s really
dangerous for our country, and I think George Washington
was really onto that. – So last time you did the podcast, and I’ll do a shameless plug
for the Amash Kibbe on Liberty, we talked about Hayekian Libertarianism. – Go Hayek. – I know there’s three of us. There’s three of us, and two
of us are on stage right now. And last time we sort of
talked about values and ideas and the philosophy of freedom and how free people come together and do beautiful things
through cooperation. I want to focus more on sort
of the political viability of the stance that you’re
taking today, because– (airplane whooshing) We’re right under the airport, by the way. Because you look at the data,
and particularly Generation Z, and I’ll quote from one
of the most credible sources of news, Teen Vogue. (audience laughing) Oh come on, it’s as least as credible as The New York Times, right? (audience laughing) If I can find it, here it is. – [Justin] Is this really Teen Vogue? – Yeah, it’s really Teen Vogue. – Okay.
(laughing) – You don’t read Teen Vogue? – [Justin] No, sorry. – So I was looking for data
showing the very obvious trend amongst Millennials and Generation Z where they’re not registering as Republicans or Democrats anymore. They’re registering as Independents, if they register at all. And they’re looking to sort
of curate their politics the way they would curate music, which has been a theory of mine, and I found Teen Vogue
sort of proving my point. So today, at least, Teen
Vogue is 100% spot on. According to a Pew research report prior to the 2016 election, 50% of young adults self-identified as political Independents, although they were much more
likely than older generations to hold liberal views on a variety of social and political views. They’re talking about things like marriage and sexual identity, things like that. And that trend with
Generation Z has only grown, and the president and executive
director of Rock the Vote says, “This generation rejects labels “and putting things in boxes “and that tendency isn’t
exclusive to politics. “They’re rethinking and
re-imagining systems “and institutions and
terms and even ideas.” And I think that’s absolutely true, and I’ve just documented
it through Teen Vogue. But that said, there aren’t
that many Independents out there that succeed in politics. Why is that? – I think there are a number of reasons. One is that this a trend
that’s been happening in more recent years. I think in previous generations, you had two parties
that were much stronger, the Republican Party and
the Democratic Party. And over the last, I’d say, decade or two, that’s starting to weaken, and we’re finally getting
to the tipping point I think where people are able to
break away from the parties. And a lot of times what happens, frankly, is that the candidates who run
outside of those two parties aren’t the strongest candidates. And I mean no offense to
some of the great candidates who do run outside those parties, because there are great candidates, but in terms of numbers, we
just don’t have that many who run outside of the two parties, because usually in their
own minds they think, “Well, if I want to be credible, “I have to run within one
of these two parties.” So some of the stronger candidates have run within the parties, and I think that will start to change. And it’s hard for someone,
I think right off the bat, to run as an Independent even now. It is easier for someone like
me who’s been in Congress who’s established a reputation
with his constituency to then make a move and be an
Independent and get elected, but over time, I think the
amount of time you have to build up that kind of
support with your constituents before you can do it
will narrow to the point where we’ll eventually have Independents who can run just right out of the gate and compete with the two parties, or Libertarian Party members
or Green Party members or Constitution Party members
or whatever it might be. They might be able to compete as well because these two major parties are getting weaker and weaker, and that is due to changes in the way young people think about things,
and I see it all the time. Students come to visit us
at the Capitol all the time and I talk to them, and very
few of them view themselves as just hardcore Republicans
or hardcore Democrats. – Yeah, I’ve said this for years and I feel more strongly
about it than ever. I feel like technology is enabling not just a libertarian moment, but a shift where
everybody’s sort of empowered to curate things for themselves, and the laggard in all
of this is politics. Politics is the one thing where the top-down systems of yesteryear still seem to be clinging to power. I’m thinking of– (siren blasting) See, they’re gonna shut us down. (audience laughing) It’s a two-party duopoly coming to disrupt our event.
– It’s the Deep State. (audience laughing) – Well, I actually think
that’s probably Hillary Clinton on her way to arrest
Tulsi Gabbard right now. (audience laughing) I’m gonna ask you about this, and I have no idea what you’re gonna say, but as you may know, Hillary
Clinton said yesterday or the day before that she believed that Jill Stein, Green
Party candidate in 2016, was a Russian asset, which is a very loaded term.
– I did hear that. – And she went on to say
that they’re grooming someone in the Democratic primary, and she was clearly
referring to Tulsi Gabbard. It seems like that is sort
of the machine’s desperate last attempt to undermine the
disintermediation of politics. But what do you think? Is Tulsi Gabbard a Russian asset? – Not from anything I’ve seen. I mean, she has unique views
on a whole number of issues, but the idea that you
should just make accusations without presenting evidence is becoming more and more commonplace. And I think it plays right
into the hands of Donald Trump. I explained this on Twitter, and some on the Left did
not like what I said, but look, Donald Trump had
an investigation going on him with respect to Russia. I think it was a legitimate investigation. I read the Mueller report. I think he’s committed
impeachable conduct. When Hillary Clinton comes
in with this kind of stuff and says someone’s a Russian asset, whether it’s Jill Stein or
Tulsi Gabbard or anyone else, and doesn’t provide much evidence, what do you think people on the Right say? They say, “Well, look,
this is just the Left “calling anyone they disagree
with a Russian asset, “a foreign asset, trying to smear them.” And it actually strengthens Donald Trump. It makes it look like he is legit when he’s saying it’s a
hoax and all the rest. I don’t think so, I
don’t think it’s a hoax. I think that she’s really
playing into Donald Trump’s hands and it’s not a smart thing to do. It’s very dangerous for our
country to go down this road of just attacking people
and not providing evidence. And we’ve seen it with respect
to me where I had colleagues because of some of my
foreign policy stances and surveillance stances, you know, I’m for more non-interventionist
foreign policy, I’m for protecting people’s privacy. I had colleagues, at least one colleague call me Al Qaeda’s best
friend in Congress. These kinds of smears
have no place in politics, and we should really stop it. If you want to accuse someone
of something like that, present some real evidence. – Yeah, that sloppy use
of really charged words, I don’t think it started
with Trump at all, but like the word treasonous, I’m mean, that is about
as serious of a charge as you can throw at someone in politics, and we throw it back and
forth like nothing anymore. – Right, and look, nobody is saying, to people on the Left, nobody
is saying Trump is a good guy. I’m certainly not saying that. I mean, there are people who say that, but I’m not saying it.
– I’ve met those guys. – I’m not saying that. Trump throws things around
loosely all the time. He makes all sorts of false accusations without any evidence. So I don’t understand
why people on the Left won’t hold Hillary Clinton
to the same standard. We should criticize
Donald Trump when he says that someone has committed
treason or something is a hoax or whatever, and he’s
just making things up. When we see something with our eyes or hear it with our ears,
and then Donald Trump says, “No, you should believe the opposite,” we should call him out on that, and similarly we should
call out Hillary Clinton when she makes accusations
without any evidence. – But you know what really
motivated her comment, and she’s come up with various theories as to why she lost the election, none of which involve her responsibility for losing the election.
– Right. – But she’s complaining
about third parties, and I think this is one of the
most challenging arguments, and I believe it’s a myth,
but she basically argues, and a lot of Democrats argue, that Jill Stein and the Green Party siphoned off enough votes
in battleground states that Hillary Clinton lost the election. That dynamic played out,
and I did a full disclosure, I was doing a Gary Johnson Super PAC, and there was a time when
Gary was essentially tied with Hillary Clinton for the youth vote, and some flip was switched
and the questions to Gary started getting a lot tougher, and I think that’s where
blunders like Aleppo came from. But the dilemma for third-party candidates as you get closer and
close to the election is the two parties say, “Well,
you’re just helping that guy “who’s really bad win, so fall in line “and come back to your
tribe and vote partisan.” – Yeah, and that’s a convenient
thing for them to say, and it perpetuates the
system we have right now. This is the kind of
system that puts people like Donald Trump into office, that could have put someone like Hillary Clinton into office, frankly. This system where you’re supposed to just fall in line with your party and forget about principles
and forget about morals, forget about character,
forget about integrity, and I think that’s really
dangerous for our country, and I’m trying to get
people to wake up on this. We have to vote for the
candidate we believe in when we go to vote. Don’t just vote for the one you think is the lesser of two evils. The only way it changes
is if everyone goes and does what they believe in. It is certainly possible for
a well-qualified candidate to beat a Republican candidate or a Democratic candidate for president. It’s just the people have
to believe in that person and they have to get past this idea that you can only vote
for these two parties. – So one of the, and I don’t
know if you have an opinion about ranked choice voting, but one of the dilemmas
for engaging young people in politics is those
sort of crappy choices that they get faced, and why
would you go stand in line if your choices are X versus Y? But how do you combat the
argument that they just can’t win? – They can win. Look, it will take the right candidate at the right level of
candidacy to make that impact. You can’t just throw any
candidate on a ticket, whether it’s Libertarian or
Green or an Independent run and think that they are going to succeed. It does take the right candidate. Candidate quality does matter. But the idea that you have to choose between these two parties is
an idea that the parties love because it perpetuates their power, and it allows them to do
the wrong thing repeatedly, to tell you that they’re doing it for the sake of stopping the other guy. So it really is just a matter of belief. Americans just have to change
their thinking about this, change their mindset. I’ve looked at ranked choice voting. I think it’s an interesting idea. I haven’t worked through
all the calculations of the pros and cons, but I do think that we do have problems with our election system that make it challenging for third parties and Independent candidates
to win, and we should do away with all of those disadvantages as well. – When I refer to the two-party duopoly, I mean it in the literal sense that people that write the rules by which third-party
candidates might be more viable are members of the other two parties. And it’s particularly glaring, I mean, it happens at
the state level as well, but it’s particularly glaring
at the presidential level. The Presidential Debate Commission keeps raising the barriers to entry to, I forget what it was when Ross Perot got on the presidential stage, but by the time Gary
Johnson and Jill Stein were trying to get on that stage, you had to be polling at 15%
in five independent polls. By the way, five independent polls curated by the Republicans and
Democrats to determine what was the best poll to choose from. And by the way, Tulsi
Gabbard has complained about this as well when she was excluded from one of the Democratic debates. But there are these barriers to entry that are very real and very
difficult to break down. – Yeah, and they’re just a fact of life that we’re going to have to push through. I mean, what I would say to people is Donald Trump himself, as much as I… You know my feelings on Donald Trump. (chuckles) But Donald Trump himself broke through a whole bunch of barriers
to get elected president. Now it’s true that he was a celebrity and he had a lot of name recognition, but he also had a lot of obstacles in the way that he broke through. And if anything, he showed us that there’s hope for other people, there’s hope that anyone
can become president. I mean, when Donald
Trump became president, he had the party
establishment against him, and he gave hope to other people that they could become president. So whether you like Donald
Trump or not, and I don’t, he really did show that there
is a way to break through and it takes a charismatic candidate who can speak to the people and who gets a lot of grassroots support. – Yeah, the cracks in the armor, I guess you could go all
the way back to Howard Dean, who his former campaign
manager famously wrote a book, The Revolution Will Not Be Televised, which was radical back then, but now obviously technology
and social media is ubiquitous, but the Ron Paul movement
was fueled by that, the Tea Party was fueled by that, but more recently, guys like
Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump are kind of disrupting the
status quo within their parties. That’s generally a good thing, I think. – Yeah, of course, and
I admire the candidates on either side of the aisle and those who are not
in either of the parties who will break the mold, who are willing to fight
against the establishment. So whatever you might think
of Bernie Sanders or AOC or some of the people on the Left, at least they are taking
on the establishment on their side in many different ways. And there are people on
the Right who do that in different ways, and
I might not even agree with all of them, but I’m glad
to see what they’re doing. And Ron Paul was obviously one
of those figures on the Right who took on the establishment
and paved a new way. And you don’t have to agree
with everything he believes and you can still think
that he really opened a pathway for other people. – I read a recent Time
Magazine piece where you say you’re having the time of your
life being an Independent. What’s it like being an Independent? In the House, you’re the only one, right? Is that right?
– Right. What’s it like?
– So you’re all alone. – It’s a very broad question, but yeah, I’m having the most
fun I’ve ever had in Congress. I mean, back home I have better support from my constituents than I’ve ever had. I think people are listening
to the message I’m bringing, when before maybe they
would have set it aside because they thought I was
in one of the two parties and they didn’t want to listen to that. So I think it’s opened
up new pathways at home where people are willing to listen and consider what I’m saying. Here in Congress, also among
my friends on the Right, they’re less upset with me from day-to-day because now I’m not on their team, as far as they’re concerned. So they have a different expectation so now when you break from
the party, they don’t care. He’s not in the party anyways, so what difference does it make if he’s not voting with
Republican leadership or with the president? So it’s improved relationships there. My relationships on the Left have always been pretty
good with my colleagues, but I think they’re even better now. And so as a general
matter, I’m much happier. A lot of the time that’s spent in Congress by so many of my colleagues
is spent fundraising and doing just party nonsense, where you’re going to meetings and it’s not discussions
of principles or policy, it’s discussions of how can
we tactically do this or that to the Democrats this week? And I got really tired of that stuff. That’s not what the American people send us to Congress to do,
to go there and raise money, and come up with tactics to mislead people about what the other side is doing. And again, both parties
do that kind of stuff, and that’s why I’m happy
to break away from it. – Are there legislative
opportunities as an Independent and you’re no longer trying
to get a partisan advantage over the other team? Have you found any specific opportunities to kind of bring people
together on any issues? – Well, we’re gonna see. We’re looking at this
Patriot Act reauthorization that’s coming up, and I’d like
to see a tripartisan effort to stop the Patriot Act,
and that would be a first. So, if we can get together,
(audience clapping) get some Republicans, some
Democrats, and me on board, and do something similar in the Senate, maybe get an Independent on there with us and get a Republican and a Democrat, we might be able to break some new ground, and it might excite a lot of people that they see it’s not just
two parties running things now, it’s two parties plus Independent, and there’s a potential
for more down the road. So I think it does open up new doors where people are more
willing to consider my views, especially those on the Democratic side, because they view me as a
more credible person now, now that I’ve taken on the president, taken on my former party. They view me as a person they’re
more likely to work with. – So both parties tend
to, from my perspective, be kinda schizophrenic on the
whole question of surveillance and the Deep State, and whether
or not the FBI and the CIA and the administration
have too much power, do they not have enough
power, and you’ve called out Republicans specifically
and President Trump because they complain a lot
about the Deep State now and they complain about the FBI, but when it comes to actually
voting on specific legislation that would reign that power
in, they want the blank check. – That’s right.
– What’s the contradiction? – Yeah, the fact is that a lot of people in the Trump administration, the president, Bill Barr certainly, and a number of the members of Congress who side with the president
on a lot of Deep State stuff, where they’re going and
talking about the Deep State, are actually huge supporters
of the surveillance state. They love the surveillance state. And I think one of the reasons that they talk so much
about the Deep State, why it constantly comes
up in talking points, is because it’s a convenient
distraction from the fact that they actually love
the surveillance state. They don’t want to suggest
to the American people that there are actually
bad laws on the books. Donald Trump and others want you, and Bill Barr and others,
they want you to believe that the laws are just fine. Devin Nunes, he wants you to
believe the laws are just fine. Kevin McCarthy, he wants you to believe the laws are just fine,
everything is fine. The problem is the Deep State. Laws are fine from their perspective. The problem is this nefarious Deep State. And if only we could get
these bad actors out of there, everything would be great. And that’s what they want you to believe. So that’s why they keep going back to it. The fact is the laws are not fine, Donald Trump keeps signing things into law that violate your rights. So he says, “Oh, they’re spying on me,” and then he signs into law something that allows him to spy on everyone. FISA 702 is the perfect example of this. And then like I said, we’ve
got the Patriot Act coming up. The Trump administration said they want a clean reauthorization of it. They don’t want changes to it. And I think they want to extend it not for just a few years, but permanently. So, out of one side of their mouth, they say, “Deep State,
Deep State, Deep State,” to distract you, to make you believe that it’s just about bad actors, and I’m not saying there
are not bad actors, there are definitely bad actors. But the point is our system of government is supposed to work in a way that good actors also can’t do bad things. Our founders didn’t think,
“Hey, let’s just design a system “that prevents bad actors
from doing bad things.” We want to prevent good
actors from doing bad things. There are lots of people
with good intentions when they’re given power on the books will do all sorts of bad things. They’ll spy on you because they’ll say, “Well, this was passed by
Congress, it was duly enacted, “the people’s
representatives supported it, “so we’re not doing a bad thing.” These are good people who
are doing a bad thing, and they don’t think they are. We want to stop those people. So instead of focusing all
the time on the Deep State, let’s focus on the laws
and try to prevent new laws from being put on the books
that violate your rights, and let’s try to take off the books laws that violate your rights, like FISA 702 and the Patriot Act. (audience clapping) – This actually goes back
to George Washington’s original quote, when he’s
essentially warning us not to fall into the trap
of sort of ceding power to the rule of man and
some charismatic figure. It’s why we believe in the rule of law, because we don’t trust
anyone with that much power. We’re gonna do something
that I’ve never done before, so let’s see what happens. But I have solicited
questions from the crowd, both online and people here
have submitted questions. We have now more questions, but I’m gonna start with a hostile one, ’cause I’m sure you’ve never
gotten this question before. – Is it from Hillary Clinton? (laughing) – Why are you a Russian asset? (laughing) Barbara from Pennsylvania wants to know, “Why are you acting like a fool “and going after this president? “What has Trump done that
violates the Constitution?” – All sorts of things. – And this of course is I think
a reference to impeachment, so explain your position on that and why you’re so critical of Trump. – Well, hopefully–
– And why you’re not a fool. – And why I’m not a fool. So I read the Mueller report,
I read the whole thing. I read it very carefully. There’s a clear pattern of misconduct. And for people who say you
need an underlying crime to be impeached, that’s not correct. But here actually the Mueller report did identify multiple
crimes that were going on. The fact that the president
wasn’t directly involved, the evidence did bear
out that the president was directly involved in these crimes, doesn’t mean that he’s then
allowed to obstruct justice and try to prevent the proper
administration of justice, and that’s what he did, and
there’s a clear pattern there. One example was he told Don
McGahn that he wanted him to fire the special
counsel, Robert Mueller. And then later on, he said,
“No, I want you to create “a false record saying that
I didn’t tell you that.” He went and he sent Corey Lewandowski out to tell Jeff Sessions to
limit the investigation to only future election interference. I mean, how is that not obstruction? Forget the current election interference that we’re reviewing,
you’re only gonna study future election interference. Then Lewandowski was supposed
to tell Jeff Sessions that he was fired, and
Lewandowski was a private citizen. He was supposed to tell
Jeff Sessions, (chuckles) the attorney general, that
he’s fired if he doesn’t do it. Those were just two examples
from the Mueller report, and there are many other
examples from the Mueller report, including using the pardon power
to try to influence people, which he very clearly did
try to do multiple times. You can’t use the pardon power in that way to try to influence people. All of these things reflect very badly on the office of the presidency. It’s not just about is there
a specific statutory crime, that’s not actually what
the founders were after when they created impeachment
in the Constitution. They were talking about conduct that violates the public trust, where you’re abusing the
powers of your office. It might actually be statutorily allowed, but it’s still an abuse of power, and that’s what they were after. And now we’ve got this Ukraine stuff, and this stuff where, we
all read the transcript, and then the president presents it like it’s something totally different from what the transcript says. And then Mick Mulvaney,
he’s a friend, I love Mick, but he goes on TV and he says, “There was a quid pro quo
basically, get over it.” And then later on he says,
“No, no, I didn’t say “there was a quid pro quo. “You guys just are misleading people “and that’s not I said at all.” In some ways, you feel bad for him. He’s in an administration
where they can’t keep their stories straight, and
you send people out there like your chief of staff
or other officials, and in some cases, they’re
speaking the truth, and then they get hammered
by the president who says, “Why’d you go speak the truth? “You need to change your story “and go tell them something that’s false,” that’s consistent with the false things that he’s been saying. So it is a very difficult job, but a lot of people
are going through that. I think that it’s unfortunate
what we’re seeing, and I think the president continues to mislead people about Ukraine, he continues to mislead people
about all sorts of issues. – So I’ve struggled the square the circle because many people
that I respect the most, certainly in Congress, have
very divergent opinions on this question, and I
have a theory as to why you and Rand Paul don’t disagree
as much as it sounds like, and I’m gonna float it past you, ’cause on the one hand, you’re a lawyer, and you’re looking at obstruction and you’re looking at the way that the founders structured impeachment, and you’re making the same
arguments as Andrew Napolitano, who is also a lawyer, which
is a technical argument. This act or these acts
exceed the threshold of obstruction of justice,
and that’s a crime. What Rand and others would argue is that impeachment is a
fundamentally political process designed or evolved into something where one party tries to
take out the other’s guy. What’s your reaction to that generally? – Well, it certainly wasn’t designed with respect to parties,
’cause you didn’t have parties the same way you have now back then, but I would say, and
I’ve always said this, that it’s quasi-political, quasi-legal. It’s not a wholly one or the other. It has a very sort of
legal structure to it, but obviously it’s a political process. And I think really for me, I’ll speak for myself because
I don’t want to suggest what any of my colleagues think on this, like Rand or Thomas or any of the others, they have their own opinions on it and they can share their
view on it, but for me, what’s critical to our
system of government and critical to liberty is this idea that we uphold the rule of law, that our elected officials
are not above the law, and that nobody is above the law, not the president of the
United States, not anyone. To abuse your office, to
use your office in ways that are unacceptable to the
American public is impeachable. In other words, to violate the
trust of the American people is an impeachable offense,
and we shouldn’t tolerate it. We shouldn’t just say, well, it’s okay because we don’t want the Left to win. We have to show, we have
to teach a lesson to libs or own the libs or whatever it might be, and I think that’s how
a lot of people operate, where they’re just looking at, well, we don’t want the
Left to win this one, so we have to stand with the president. And I don’t view it that way. I think we have to hold
all of our officials to the highest level
of integrity and honor, and that’s especially true of the president of the United States. – [Matt] And this is an issue
you’ve spoken out as well, and I wonder if this more fundamentally than holding presidents to that standard is holding Congress to their abdication of their responsibility to
reign in the executive branch, because even when it comes
to Ukraine and foreign aid, Congress has ceded the power of the purse. I don’t know when they started, but there is absolutely no
accountability on Congress, and if they don’t claim their power back, why wouldn’t a president just take it? – Yeah, that’s a great question, and that’s been a huge problem
for us for a long time. It’s gotten worse and worse. There are no checks and balances. Separation of powers has fallen apart because the president continues to assume more and more powers. For many Republicans who are now saying, “Well, it’s okay because
this president’s a Republican “and we don’t want the Left
to succeed,” and all the rest, at some point, there will be
a president from the Left, and that president will
use all the same arguments. That president can use emergency powers and that president can use the
office for personal vendettas and that president can go
and abuse the public trust, and people on the Left will say, “Well, that’s not impeachable,” and people on the Right will say it is. And we’re going to fall into this trap that the two parties really set, which is it’s all about
stopping the other side, the other side is worse than we are, and forget about principles,
principles are for another day when the other side is
completely vanquished, which never happens. There are going to be people
with different opinions. You’re not going to get rid of people who have different opinions, so you can’t wait to
pursue your principles. You have to pursue them every day because there will never be a time when the other side is completely gone, and now you say, “Well,
now I can be principled “because the other side’s completely gone. “Now we don’t have to worry
about the other side.” But that’s what I hear from
my colleagues time and again. “Justin, this is no time for principles. “This is a time for war, we
have to fight each other. “And then once we’ve
defeated the other side, “then we can be principled again.” – Tomorrow.
– Yeah, tomorrow. – [Matt] Tomorrow we’ll be principled. – And that’s what they say, and we never reach the
place of principle then. – [Matt] Yeah, we got time
for two more questions. One comes from Aaron, who do
you favor from US history, the Federalists or the
Anti-Federalists, and why? – Mm, that’s a very good question. So I think they both had very good points, but in the scheme of things,
I think our Constitution is a very good system, and
it’s hard to go back now and imagine what it would be like if you didn’t have our current system, and if the Anti-Federalists
had really prevailed. The problem we have right now is that we don’t follow the Constitution. I think that it’s a
pretty good compromise, especially in the modern
world that we have. Maybe back in the 1700s,
the Anti-Federalists would have had a better argument, but I think actually for the modern world, our federal system, our federalist
system, is a good system, but we need to follow it. There is a reason to
have the states united to defend against foreign
threats, for example. It makes sense philosophically
and practically. There is a reason to
give states a lot of room to make their own decisions on a whole bunch of other things. The problem is not our system, the problem is that we’ve decided not to follow that system very closely. And even so, we have the
best country on the planet, because we have that system, and as much as we’ve strayed from it, there are a lot of aspects of
it that we still do hold to. – I would love to convince
some of our progressive friends that federalism, and Mike
Lee makes this argument, that federalism is basically a way that we could learn to tolerate and even respect each other again because we don’t all have to be the same and it doesn’t have to come
down from Washington, D.C. that we will live X way. – [Justin] Yeah, that’s absolutely right. – So make that argument out there, do it. – Yeah, I will do.
– Okay. So, final question, by far
our most popular question, and before you answer this question, I want you to realize
that if you answer it in a certain way, clicks
on my podcast will explode. Now that may be less important to you than other considerations, but
a lot of folks want to know when you’re going to announce that you’re running for president. (audience clapping and cheering) – So, (chuckles) I don’t have
any announcement, I’m sorry. (Matt groans) No announcement, but– – [Matt] We could have
blown this thing up. – But look, I love
representing my district, and I’m doing well in my district. People are supportive of the idea of an Independent congressman
running for office. They like that, and it’s
succeeding in my district. I think people in Washington are probably a little bit baffled by it. If they went into my district
and saw what was going on, they’d be baffled, because I
think there’s this assumption that when you leave the
parties, you’re in trouble. That is not true. I assure you that I’m
in better standing now in my district than I’ve ever been, and we’re doing really well. My brain says, “Hey,
that’s the thing to do, “represent my constituents
and try to change Congress.” But I do look at what’s
going on in national politics and I see President Trump out there misleading people every day, telling people our troops are coming home and they’re not coming home. He’s sending more troops to Saudi Arabia. He’s increased our troop presence
by 14,000 just since May. None of those wars have ended
that he claims he’s ending. Surveillance continues. He expanded civil asset forfeiture. A lot of things that
a lot of conservatives and libertarians care about, Donald Trump is totally failing. Spending is at like all-time highs. So, he’s failing on item after item, but because he goes
and holds angry rallies against the Left people
say, “Well, he’s our guy.” We can do a lot better
as an American people. Then on the Left, you’ve
got I think candidates that just aren’t that great. I mean, I watched the last debate and it just wasn’t that
inspiring, frankly, and I don’t know how
any of those candidates are going to compete with
Donald Trump, frankly. I think that he’s got a shot at winning against those candidates. I think that they are generally
not strong candidates. Despite all the things I said I don’t like about Donald Trump, he goes out there and he’s charismatic and populist, and people are driven to that. So you need better
candidates, and all of them, all of the leading candidates are over 70, so now you’ve Donald Trump over 70, three leading candidates on
the Democratic side over 70, I don’t know, it sounds
like there’s an opening for someone else. So, yeah, I’m not gonna rule that out. (audience clapping) It’s a long answer. – That was a very crafty way
of answering my question. You guys want to give
it up for Justin Amash? (audience clapping) – Thanks so much.
– Thank you. – [Justin] Thanks, Matt, appreciate it. – Thanks for watching Kibbe on Liberty. By now you know this is
the most important event of your week, so make sure
you subscribe on YouTube, click the little bell so
you get notifications. Kibbe on Liberty, mostly
honest conversations with mostly interesting people.

12 thoughts on “Can Justin Amash Win as an Independent? | Guest: Rep. Justin Amash | Ep 36

  1. Watch all episodes of the Kibbe on Liberty podcast here: ​

  2. No matter who wins, govt. still exists, force wins, choice loses, freedom loses. Voting is choosing not to self-govern, not to be a sovereign citizen, letting an elite choose how all live and using the initiation of violence, threats, and fraud, not reason. This is destructive madness.

  3. Glad Justin is my rep. I respect him speaking his mind candidly and openly, going independent, and rolling with the punches. Burn the two party system to the ground.

  4. Amash does pretty good about explaining why he doesn't wanna be a republican, but he's never said anything about how he's a libertarian. Why doesn't Reason or Kibbe ever ask him about the end of drug prohibition, sex work, Abortion, Immigration or other points that Libertarians and Republicans don't see eye to eye? Why don't they ever ask Amash about his family's dealings with China and how he wasn't never Trump until Trump threatened sanctions on a fascist government? Amash is not a Libertarian he is a swampy Republican light who is involved in shady business dealings with China, and if he gets the LP nomination I will be done with the LP. The last 2 LP candidates were Republicans who switched over to get the nomination. Now it looks like we're on the way to number 3. Libertarians need to support Libertarians not Republicans.

  5. What the heck YT? Usually this comes up in my channel feed and sometimes I get notified. must be a good one to have not gotten either.

  6. His statement: "The only way it changes is if everyone goes out and [votes for] what they believe in.", is just as foolish as the statement "We can only have a peaceful world is if everyone stopped hurting each other.". We can't get everyone to do anything, nevermind a series of related things. We need a plan that doesn't require everyone to do the same thing. Ranked choice voting is a step in the right direction, because it allows people to vote for principles and pragmatics at the same time.

  7. Speaking of hope… An early comment, which I believe was posted before the video posted, was "Hope not". I asked "Why do you say that?" but didn't receive an answer. My mindset has typically been rooting for the Libertarian Party as a means to breaking the 2 party duopoly. Always looking for that knight in shinning armor that will ride into the White House and save our Republic. I was prepared to challenge the ubiquitous response that he will only steal votes from X and help elect Y or possibly refute a Russian plant theory or he can't win, however, my perspective has changed a bit after watching the video and noting a few interesting (to me) points. The biggest take away for me was the idea that congress is failing at their duties to rein in power grab of the executive branch. There were other points made about toeing the party line and the lack of honoring the public trust that manifest openly in the duopoly and are excused by the public since they are a means to prevent X from "winning". Mr. Amash relayed his observations that his standing with his constituents has not diminished, possibly even improved, since his move to become independent. If Mr. Amash did run for the presidency and win as an independent would the system change? Would the bipartisan congress suddenly find their moral ground? Would duopoly diminish in the slightest bit? Maybe the fight to save the Republic is local and our want for a knight in shining armor is only misguided in the fact that it's not plural. Knights in shining armor, local control, states rights are possible avenues in a successful bid to effect change in congress where it is needed most. As exciting as it would be to have a strong independent candidate for president, I'm not so certain now that Mr. Amash couldn't be a better influence, and ultimately advance a slow but steady return to the constitution, honor, public trust, and the quiet beauty of local control.

    Also, thanks to Free the People for bringing this to the YouTube and challenging my preconceived notions.

  8. The reason we always have two-party domination is because the voting system is only accurate with two candidates in the race. That's why we need to fix the way we vote. Ranked Choice Voting is one option, but there are others. Fargo recently went with Approval Voting, which now has a campaign in St. Louis. I'm personally a big fan of STAR Voting which is gaining traction in Oregon.

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