Western Michigan at times can be a strange, yet predictable political place. GOP Congressman Justin Amash, who represents that area’s 3rdCongressional District, just proved it.
Strange, because Amash is the first Republican member of the Congress and Senate to read and digest the entire 448 page Mueller report (his assertion-not mine) and concluded, on his own reading and digesting, that Trump should be impeached.
And, he has said so publicly and loudly.
Courage? Stupid? Political suicide? Clever strategy? The start of a GOP domino effect for Trump’s impeachment? Not likely. What is more apt to happen (Trump has already called hm a “loser”) is a retribution by Trump and his lockstep GOP) in an all-out attack and a primary opponent (one has already popped his head up). From the Trump owned Republican party point of view, Amash must not only be defeated, but destroyed.
(Disclosure: My roots are in Western Michigan. Born and married there, fathered four sons, buried my Dutch immigrant parents, have two brothers and many relatives, friends and former students who still live there. I graduated the Christian schools, Hope College and was a Professor of Political Science at Calvin College and from there was elected as a Republican Delegate from Grand Rapids—the largest metro area in the 3rdCD– to the 1961-62 Constitutional Convention.)
The 3rd Congressional District was previously the 5thCD and represented for years by Gerald Ford who was considered a moderate or middle-of-the road Republican. Well, you know the rest of that story. And, later, the congressional districts boundaries changed but Grand Rapids was still the urban core of the 3rdCD.
Congressman Ford was later followed by Justin Amash, first elected in 2010, who is one of the youngest, and most conservative congressmen in Washington. Some consider him a closet Libertarian with a healthy interest in that party’s presidential nomination in 2020.
Have I whetted your appetite for some more anomalies?
Try this. Amash’s 3rd Congressional District has voted for every Republican presidential candidate (even Bob Dole) since 1992, often with strong pluralities. Trump beat Hillary Clinton 52-42%. Indeed, Trump was able to win Michigan’s electoral votes because Western MichIgan (including Ottawa county) gave him enough votes to do so. Without Western Michigan, Trump would have lost that state. And, today (and in the last days of his 2016 campaign) if Trump wants an energized, well attended, slightly crazed, MAGA rally, he heads to Grand Rapids. They do not disappoint. But, now what?
Western Michigan voters come out of a strong, Calvinist history in the Reformed Church of American and the Christian Reformed Church (how do you Christianize an already Reformed Church?). Perhaps their theologians will be able to find a formula that can find atonement for Amash. Or, is Amash and Western Michigan to be seen as divine punishment for electing Trump? And, is Amash now repenting and looking for grace and forgiveness?
Now, what about the DeVos family? They gave Western Michigan the golden calf of the Amway fortune, an expensive GOP political machine, and, of course, Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos. Do they walk away from Amash and his perceived heresy? How do they explain it to Trump?
What do Amash’s conservative GOP colleagues In the congress do now? He has been one of their stalwart votes. What the Michigan 3rdDistrict Congressman has done spreads far from his district and into the heart of the Republican 2020 campaigns.
As I said, Western Michigan is a strange yet predictable place. Stay tuned, it can only get even more weird, and that’s one reason I love politics. Peace.
Dr. Walt de Vries is a political consultant, author, university professor, and founder of the North Carolina Institute of Political Leadership (1974) and co-founder of the American Association of Political Consultants (1969). He has co-authored two books on ticket-splitters (1972 and 2000) and another on Southern Politics (1976). Walt has done public opinion polling since 1960 and formed his own political consulting company in 1967. He has polled in all 50 states and several foreign countries. He currently resides in Wilmington, North Carolina.