On April 30th, fellow Liberty Block editor Conner Drigotas published an article making the case against Justin Amash running for President as a Libertarian. I’d like to offer my take on Amash and his role in national politics as somewhat of a rebuttal.
First, I agree that Justin Amash is one of the very few Congressmen for whom I have any respect. Considering that he has been in DC for a few years, the fact that he still has a shred of morality and integrity speaks volumes about his character. I do not agree with him on every issue politically, but I hold Congressman Amash in high esteem.
On July 4th of 2019, the Michigan Congressman ‘declared independence’ from the Republican Party and became one of the few ‘Independents’ in Congress. His decision was largely fueled by the divergent visions of the future of the party between his small-government ideology and the new Trump way, which seems to have little consistency or principles and lots of compromise and moderate socialism. Further complicating matters was speculation that Amash would be losing his seat due to redistricting after the 2020 Census.
Over the past few months, many libertarian activists and journalists have been optimistically discussing a potential run for president by Amash, possibly as a member of the Libertarian Party.
On Tuesday, April 28th, Congressman Justin Amash announced that he has become a member of the Libertarian Party and that he launched an exploratory committee to examine the prospects of seeking LP’s nomination for President.
The reaction to Amash joining the Libertarian Party has been polarizing. Many Libertarians resent a former Republican Congressman ‘reject’ joining the Party and immediately seeking the nomination for the highest possible office. Many are excited to have a principled, well-known, brilliant lawmaker who has proven to be effective and remained libertarian even while under DC pressure. Some Libertarian delegates are already committed to their favorite nominees, including Jacob Hornberger (President of the Foundation for Economic Education), Adam Kokesh (former Marine and famous pro-liberty activist), and Vermin Supreme (a political satirist who seeks to make the ultimate mockery of authority). That Amash is not even a shoe-in for the nomination is interesting and represents a very interesting issue of ‘seriousness’ faced by the Libertarian Party.
Assuming that Justin Amash does win the Libertarian Party’s nomination for President at their convention (which is scheduled for late May but now uncertain due to the coronavirus), how would he fare against Trump and Biden?
Joe Biden, the Democrat who has spent 50 years in Washington DC as a Senator from Delaware and then as Obama’s vice president is universally despised. Much like Hilary Clinton, Biden is the epitome of a corrupt career politician who has long since lost all of his morals and principles. Furthermore, signs grow clearer each day that the 77-year-old is suffering from moderate dementia, making him a liability should he win any important election.
Donald Trump is polarizing and has only grown more polarizing since being elected in 2016. He has very few principles and has pissed off nearly every faction of American voters multiple times. He is not known for ideological consistency, even among pro-Trump Republicans. While he has kept some promises – which is more than most politicians can claim – a decent Democratic nominee would have a chance to beat him. Americans don’t all love Trump, but, in my opinion, they are even less enthusiastic about a Biden presidency…
What do I recommend that Amash does?
Realistically, Amash has zero chance to win the presidency and he will be out of Congress very soon. He should give up on both campaigns before he wastes any more time, money, and effort. As I’m fairly certain he already knows, the US cannot be saved from itself, and DC is clearly not the place to make change anyway. As time passes, the swamp only becomes more authoritarian. The only path towards sustained liberty for Amash and for others who value freedom is simple: Prioritize one state in the US that has a relatively free society and keep it that way. Work in a place that you can influence. Focus on a state whose residents understand and desire true freedom from government oppression. Help that state grow stronger and fortify it from other states and DC. When push comes to shove and the federal government tells the state to stop being libertarian, Amash could help the state remind the US government about the 10th amendment. When the federal government predictably rejects that claim, call their bluff and put secession on the table. The next step would lead to a free and sovereign state, no longer oppressed by politicians in Washington DC. Which state could this plan work in? I don’t think that many states fit this description. Michigan certainly does not.