Thinking Citizen Blog — Michigan Rep Justin Amash (Libertarian): Is he doing the right thing? Could he swing the election? Which way?
Thinking Citizen Blog — Sunday is Political Process, Campaign Strategy, and Candidate Selection Day
Today’s Topic: Michigan Rep Justin Amash (Libertarian): is he doing the right thing? could he swing the election? which way?
Who is Justin Amash? For one thing, he is the first Republican to call for the impeachment of Donald Trump (5/19/19). He has been a member of the US House of Representatives since 2011. In July 2019 he quit the Republican Party to become an independent. In April 2020, he joined the Libertarian Party, becoming the first Libertarian ever to hold a seat in Congress. He describes himself as a believer in the Constitution, meaning: “limited government, economic freedom, and individual liberty.” He counts Friedrich Hayek and Frederic Bastiat as his “biggest heroes.” He announced his candidacy for the US presidency on April 28, 2020. Experts — please chime in. Correct, elaborate, elucidate.
THE ACCUSATIONS: YOU ARE ONLY GOING TO HELP TRUMP!
1. “Nooo! You’ll be the Ralph Nader of this election!” (Mia Farrow)
2. “Any vote for Justin Amash is a vote for Donald Trump. If he runs he knows he will be helping Trump. If Justin runs he’ll be putting his own interests ahead of the country’s interests. If he runs, shame on him.” (Joe Walsh, former Illinois Congressman and author of “F**** Silence: Calling Trump out for the Cultish, Moronic Con Man He Is”).
3. How could this be? Well, for one thing, Amash is from Michigan, a swing state, that went for Trump in 2016 by only 10,786 votes. Amash could easily prevent a Biden win in Michigan.
NB: “The best and surest way to beat Trump is to have only one alternative to him.” (Joe Walsh, Washington Post, 4/29/20)
“JUSTIN AMASH WON’T SPOIL THE ELECTION HE’LL ENHANCE IT!” (Jeff Jacoby, Boston Globe)
1. “…an Amash candidacy could inflict a fatal wound on Trump’s bid for reelection. Many right-leaning voters are weary of Trump, yet will never cast a ballot for Biden. A Libertarian alternative gives them — or rather, us, since I’m in that category — a more appealing option than voting Republican or sitting out the election.”
2. “In almost no field apart from politics are people denounced for providing more than a binary choice. Bartenders stock more than bourbon and vodka. Schwab doesn’t limit investors to Mutual Fund A and Mutual Fund B. No one tells Netflix that adding “Tiger King” to its lineup was wrong because it could only siphon viewers away from “Outlander” and “Never Have I Ever.”
3. “Having more than two choices is nearly always a good thing. It is certainly a good thing in politics. Amash proposes to run for president as a “classical liberal” — i.e., a pro-freedom, limited-government, anti-authoritarian constitutional conservative. He holds himself out as an option for voters seeking a candidate who is “normal, honest, practical, and capable.” Maybe such a candidate can’t win the White House, but voters should be the ones to make that decision.”
THE STATISTICIANS: Amash impact is too tough to call (FiveThirtyEight)
1. “Consider what happened in 2016: In 11 states, Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson’s raw vote total exceeded the vote margin separating Trump and Hillary Clinton. Now, that doesn’t mean Johnson necessarily changed who won in each of those states, but he and other third-party contenders (like Jill Stein of the Green Party) may have helped shape the outcome, especially in the three states that proved decisive in the electoral college: Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.”
2. “there is evidence that more libertarian-minded voters are more likely to vote Republican than Democratic, which could cost Trump at the ballot box.”
3. “Still, an Amash bid could still present problems for Biden, too. If 2020 is a referendum election on Trump’s presidency, Biden may not want another well-known candidate in the race to give potential anti-Trump voters a different choice. Polls have long shown that a majority of voters prefer an alternative to candidate Trump but that doesn’t mean that alternative has to be Biden. So it’s possible that Amash could win over some of these voters, lowering Biden’s ceiling and narrowing the race between the major-party nominees.”
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