I always try to err on the side of people operating with good intentions. I have no doubt that Amash loves his country and is deeply disturbed by Trump, despite the latter’s remarkable conservative achievements. But it’s hard to look at this choice to leave the party in such a public way, on the day that we celebrate the founding of our nation, as being about much more than Justin Amash: His reputation, his future, his brand.

A big part of the reason that this appears so self-serving is that it is absolutely hopeless. For the reasons enumerated above, no third party can fix the problems Amash imagines he sees. A more honest and useful approach would have been to announce he is becoming a Democrat. At least then he might have a seat at that table to moderate its policies. But he knows that is folly, too.

There is no seat at the table for a Democrat like Amash. He did have a seat at the Republican table, one he could have kept. Instead he chose Independence Day to announce his journey into the political wilderness. I wish him all the best, because, frankly, the Republican Party is probably better off without him.