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Title: Will Justin Amash Run for President as a Libertarian in 2020?
Source: Reason
URL Source: https://reason.com/2019/09/16/will- ... dent-as-a-libertarian-in-2020/
Published: Sep 16, 2019
Author: Matt Welch
Post Date: 2019-09-16 09:43:46 by Deckard
Ping List: *The Two Parties ARE the Same*     Subscribe to *The Two Parties ARE the Same*
Keywords: None
Views: 199
Comments: 5

topicspolitics

(Jeff Kowalsky/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

FreedomFest, a largely libertarian gathering in Las Vegas with a significant conservative presence, has been tacking in a noticeably Trumpian direction since the future president spoke there in 2015. So the latest iteration of the conference this July was an interesting backdrop to speculation that newly independent Michigan Rep. Justin Amash might seek to challenge a chief executive against whom he was the only Republican to back impeachment proceedings.

"I respect what Justin has done," said his best friend in Congress, Rep. Thomas Massie (R–Ky.), while sitting on a FreedomFest panel with Amash and Sen. Mike Lee (R–Utah). "But what I say is, if you read the Republican platform, there's really nothing wrong with it, if you're for smaller government and for liberty and support the Constitution. The problem is, if you follow the Republican platform as a Republican when you get to D.C., you will be reviled for it."

Massie, a four-term libertarian-leaner, has experienced what it's like to be reviled by your own team. In early July, the Louisville Courier-Journal reported that Massie will likely face a primary challenge backed by national Republican leaders who are angry at his ideological obstinance.

"These two guys have really tried to reform [the GOP] from within," Amash said from the stage. "I think we're getting to a point where it's clear to all of us that this is an insurmountable challenge. And that's why I decided I needed to become an independent, and try to serve my community a different way, and try to set an example."

Conversations about whether Amash might seek the Libertarian Party presidential nomination have been roiling the movement all year. When he first came out for impeachment in late May, leading to yet another burst of speculation, several already-declared L.P. presidential candidates more or less agreed with anarchist activist Adam Kokesh that such a move would be "amazing." By mid-July, however, that field of comparative unknowns had grown visibly tired of the topic.

"I feel like I talk about Justin Amash more than I do about myself," candidate Kim Ruff groused at a Massachusetts state convention presidential debate that I moderated in mid-July. Neither Ruff (who won an informal post-debate straw poll) nor any of the other participating candidates—Kokesh, former party vice-chairman Arvin Vohra, New Hampshire state Rep. Max Abramson, and Dan "Taxation Is Theft" Behrman—said they would support Amash over their competitors should he decide to run.

"We cannot elect or nominate a former Republican…for the fourth cycle in a row. I just think that would set the party back so far," Kokesh said. "I would really, enthusiastically welcome Amash to the race, but I would be more thrilled to support and see anybody on this stage beating him."

The existing Libertarian contenders may grumble about party leadership openly rooting for Amash to take the plunge, but L.P. National Chair Nicholas Sarwark is unapologetic. "We have the best opportunity to pick the best nominee if there's good competition in the game," Sarwark told me at FreedomFest. "I don't have a favorite, but I'm going to be welcoming to new people."

Amash has until May 21, 2020—when the L.P. national convention kicks off—to make up his mind. What will drive the decision? By "thinking about where I can use my skills and influence best," Amash told Reason's Nick Gillespie. "And I feel like if I can be most effective on the national stage spreading the message of liberty and the message of respect and love, then that's what I do."

In many respects, the choice looks grim. In one best-case scenario, Amash survives a three-way race for re-election to the U.S. House despite Michigan's straight-ticket ballot device (which allows someone to vote for an entire political-party slate by checking a single box) and despite the two major parties dumping millions into a winnable seat. A second optimistic outcome would be for him to labor mightily, in much more adverse circumstances, to top Gary Johnson's record-shattering 2016 result of just 3.27 percent of the presidential vote.

Five years ago, libertarians were clucking about their resurging fortunes in American politics. Now, one of the last federally elected officials to unapologetically fly that flag finds himself alone and potentially endangered.


Poster Comment:

"I respect what Justin has done," said his best friend in Congress, Rep. Thomas Massie (R–Ky.), while sitting on a FreedomFest panel with Amash and Sen. Mike Lee (R–Utah). "But what I say is, if you read the Republican platform, there's really nothing wrong with it, if you're for smaller government and for liberty and support the Constitution. The problem is, if you follow the Republican platform as a Republican when you get to D.C., you will be reviled for it." (2 images)

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#1. To: Deckard (#0)

"We cannot elect or nominate a former Republican…for the fourth cycle in a row. I just think that would set the party back so far," Kokesh said. "I would really, enthusiastically welcome Amash to the race, but I would be more thrilled to support and see anybody on this stage beating him."

The existing Libertarian contenders may grumble about party leadership openly rooting for Amash to take the plunge, but L.P. National Chair Nicholas Sarwark is unapologetic. "We have the best opportunity to pick the best nominee if there's good competition in the game," Sarwark told me at FreedomFest. "I don't have a favorite, but I'm going to be welcoming to new people."

Surprising that Kokesh stayed out of jail long enough to attend. Hopefully, he had time to get arrested a few times while at the convention.

I don't see how the LP fell for the ex-GOPers like Barr and Root and Weld. Barr and Weld had held office and knew how to handle the press and run a campaign but they brought nothing else to the LP brand. Johnson was a pretty libertarian GOP governor in a Bluish state so he wasn't all that much of a Republican and was fine with the LP platform. Johnson was always more about results than ideology.

Amash is along the lines of Johnson but Amash is more ideological. In office, he's never worried about whether he offends the Dems or the GOPes. And he has a list of long-held libertarian positions so running as the LP nominee would be no stretch for him.

Tooconservative  posted on  2019-09-16   12:59:26 ET  Reply   Untrace   Trace   Private Reply  


#2. To: Tooconservative, Deckard (#1)

LP needs to remove the open border and free trade from their platform. Replace free trade with fair trade. Then you might not get mocked for being demoncrap stooges.

You have to fight with in a party because the MSM will not let you get time on air if you are a third party unless you bash the group they opposes.

Justified  posted on  2019-09-16   16:03:50 ET  Reply   Untrace   Trace   Private Reply  


Replies to Comment # 2.

#3. To: Justified (#2)

LP needs to remove the open border and free trade from their platform. Replace free trade with fair trade. Then you might not get mocked for being demoncrap stooges.

I think a large majority of libertarians oppose open borders. A small but vocal bunch do argue philosophically for the abolition of all national borders and the legal recognition of only private property borders. Needless to say, this is a pretty radical reinterpretation of property rights, national sovereignty, etc. In fact, it would end national sovereignty by ending the state, for all purposes.

This purist element among libertarians never reckon with the need to resist invaders (migrants or soldiers) or maintain a modern highway system or airports or railroads where only a government body can step in, buy the land by eminent domain if necessary, and build freeways. There are a lot of issues where the anarcho-capitalist libertarian types just can't cut it in a modern society.

A libertarian Republican, by contrast, does not want to abolish the state entirely and does not believe our liberties are hopelessly constrained in the modern American state. So people like Ron Paul and Rand can fit into Republican circles without too much trouble and have good voting records as typical conservative Republicans. However they are, like Rand or Ted Cruz or Mike Lee, much more inclined to be open to libertarian policy than traditional Republicans are. They also have interest in shrinking government back to a more constitutional level of legislating and a lesser role for the courts in daily life.

OTOH, I'm not sure how the libertarian wing of the GOP is doing in the Trump era. Probably mostly happy that Hitlery didn't get elected to continue the Odinga regime and stack the Court for a generation. Which is what we hope to do with Trump's re-election.

Stacking the courts is Good when we do it, not those other guys.     : )

Tooconservative  posted on  2019-09-16 17:02:17 ET  Reply   Untrace   Trace   Private Reply  


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