Reader Starchild asked if we cover third-party candidates. Well, if they make news, we do. Mostly, what we do here is scan all forms of media for what is being said, even among smaller outlets. We try to bring you topics that we think will interest you—or get you to comment. One such story was that the 2016 vice presidential candidate for the Libertarian Party recently announced that he changed his party affiliation so he could run as a Republican in 2020. Now we have the opposite situation.
Michigan Representative Justin Amash says he would be open to running for president on the Libertarian ticket, according to Politico.
“I would never rule anything out,” the Michigander said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
“That’s not on my radar right now, but I think that it is important that we have someone in there who is presenting a vision for America that is different from what these two parties are presenting,” he said. Amash is the chairman of the House Liberty Caucus, which represents libertarian-minded lawmakers.
Amash, who was first elected as part of the tea party wave in 2010, notably did not endorse Donald Trump for president in 2016. Recently, he was one of 13 House Republicans who opposed the president’s national emergency declaration.
The site Being Libertarian thinks the party should stick with a loyal party member.
If Amash were nominated, he would be the third congressman to run for president as a Libertarian.
The first was Ron Paul in 1988, and the second was Bob Barr in 2008. Paul received 0.47% of the vote, and Barr 0.40%. Between those two candidacies was Harry Brown, an author and economist who received 0.50% of the vote.
The site notes that Amash is not the only possible candidate for the Libertarian Party (LP).
Libertarians currently running for the presidency include Adam Kokesh, a radical activist from Arizona and former candidate for the Senate in 2018 and House in 2010; John McAfee, the founder of McAfee Associates, Inc., and current CEO of Luxcore; Vermin Supreme, political satirist; Arvin Vohra, the former Vice-Chair of the national LP; and many candidates unknown to the mainstream.
Speculative candidates include Amash; Larry Sharpe, former New York gubernatorial candidate; Joe Walsh, former US Representative; and Patrick Byrne, the CEO of Overstock.com.
In the Washington Examiner, Amash says a strong third party is needed.
Amash, 38, who has served in Congress since 2011, condemned the legislative branch on Sunday for being “totally broken” since lawmakers “can’t debate things in a clear way anymore” given the “wild amount of partisan rhetoric on both sides.”
“Everything has become, do you like President Trump or do you not like President Trump?” he said. “And I think that we need to return to basic American principles, talk about what we have in common as a people because I believe we have a lot in common as Americans, and try to move forward together rather than fighting each other all the time.”
Perhaps as a shot at Gary Johnson and Bill Weld, Amash warned Libertarians against nominating a “squishy Republican.” He went on to criticize the two parties in Reason.
Amash, who prefers the term “libertarian” over “libertarian-leaning Republican” and is fond of tweeting stuff like “Both parties mislead, misdirect, employ double standards, and lie.”. . .
Amash has stayed in the GOP despite describing himself as “the only libertarian in Congress”
Despite the criticism of him, Weld sort of endorsed Amash.
When informed of Amash’s “squishy” comments Saturday night on the same LibertyCon stage, Bill Weld shot his hand up and said “That’s me!” I then asked the former Massachusetts governor if he would encourage Amash to run. “Absolutely,” he said. “Justin is a hero.”
In 2016, the Chamber of Commerce (the most establishment wing of the party) also worked for the Defeat of Amash, according to The Hill.
Last year, Trump’s people tried to defeat Amash in the primary.
President Trump’s social media director, Dan Scavino, lashed out at the Michigan lawmaker in a tweet, calling the representative a “liability,” and challenging Trump supporters to “defeat him” during the 2018 primaries.
Amash quickly fired back. . .”Trump admin & Establishment have merged into #Trumpstablishment,” he tweeted. “Same old agenda: Attack conservatives, libertarians & independent thinkers.”
Amash instead sees Trump as someone who hasn’t materially altered the country’s post-Sept. 11 foreign policy or succeeded at his diplomatic overtures while imposing tariffs, increasing spending, and growing government. . .
The split mirrors a dilemma faced by the party as a whole: to connect with, and try to lead, an unruly base, and risk association with a president who may discredit Republicans in the eyes of new voters they need to reach. Or, alternatively, to risk going hunting where the ducks aren’t.
The Wall Street Journal quotes even harsher criticism by Amash.
Donald Trump’s “constant fear-mongering’’ about terrorism is “irresponsible and dangerous.’’ He needs to “stop attacking the legitimacy of the judiciary.’’ He picked an attorney general with “anti-liberty” positions on surveillance and police seizure of property.
So we have the libertarian wing, the big business wing, the Chamber of Commerce wing, and the Trump wing of the GOP. Can that bird fly?
Despite Amash’s libertarian bona fides, conservative writer George Will says Amash may have the answer to the left-right paradigm that has caused such gridlock (and hostility) in Washington, according to Business Insider.
“As Amash undertakes to “tear down the left-right paradigm,” he must consider how the delicate but constructive fusion of libertarians and social conservatives has served Republicans, and the sometimes inverse relationship between being interesting and being electable.”
Amash is mindful of two things: 1) that there’s a demand among Republican elites for a more “moderate” face of the party; and 2) that lawmakers in the self-styled liberty movement have a reputation for being the opposite of moderate.
And so Amash surveys the scene and calls himself, well, a “moderate”—because, he tells Will, “the point of the Constitution is to moderate the government.”
That’s pretty much the Justin Amash story. We’ll try to highlight the stories of Adam Kokesh, Vermin Supreme, Arvin Vohra, Larry Sharpe, Joe Walsh, Patrick Byrne, and others if they make waves in the Libertarian ocean.