Libertarian Party

Libertarian Presidential Candidates Prefer Each Other Over Justin Amash

"I don't think he would be a great candidate for us," says one of the independent congressman's leading would-be competitors

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"Goodness," said Kim Ruff, one of the leading declared contenders for the Libertarian Party presidential nomination. "I feel like I talk about Justin Amash more than I do about myself."

It was Saturday night just outside of Boston, at one of the first L.P. presidential debates this cycle, hosted by the Massachusetts chapter of the country's third-place political party. I was moderating, and had just asked the assembled candidates—Ruff, Arvin Vohra, Adam Kokesh, New Hampshire State Rep. Max Abramson, and Dan "Taxation Is Theft" Behrman—whether they would support Amash over their assembled fellow opponents.

To my surprise, Vohra, then Kokesh, then Behrman, each said that they would support everyone on stage before the newly independent libertarian congressman. And even the two other comparative moderates were critical of his potential candidacy.

"We aren't Republican light; we're not Democrat light," said Ruff, an Arizona-based manufacturer who would go on to win that evening's informal post-debate straw poll, eight to five (Vohra) to four (Kokesh) to one apiece for Abramson and Behrman. "We're advocates of full, unencumbered liberty. And that means taking positions that make the public squeamish. I would never do black tar heroin, but I'm not going to stop you from doing it, because what you do with your life is your business."

Ruff continued: "I don't see somebody who is personally conservative being comfortable saying, 'Yeah, I think we should legalize all narcotics. I think sex work is work. I think that you should have body autonomy. And if that means you want to end your life or ask a friend to do it for you, you should have that right.' So no, I don't think he would be a great candidate for us. He's got a lot to learn."

Vohra, who is campaigning on abolishing the welfare state, and for whom stridency is a conscious (and consciously off-putting) tactic, dismissed the idea that Amash's defection from the GOP represents any kind of bravery.

"It does not take courage to speak out against a president that is unpopular with more than half the population," said Vohra, a two-term Libertarian National Committee (LNC) vice-chairman who was nearly booted off the LNC twice over controversial statements before decisively losing re-election one year ago. "We don't need somebody who's really good at playing political charades and pretending to be bold when he's just pandering to a large group of people who believe that the orange man is bad. That is not political boldness….I would support any of the people sitting here in a second—in a second—over Justin Amash, because they have shown real boldness, not just pandering. They have been willing to say things that are true, honest, and unpopular, and that to me is the true measure of leadership."

Kokesh, who is running on a platform to dissolve the federal government, and who initially characterized the prospect of an Amash run as "amazing," portrayed it as a referendum on institutional self-confidence.

"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. "And it's hard….Gary Johnson was better than [2008 nominee] Bob Barr, and Justin Amash might be that much better than Gary Johnson even. It's the worst temptation we've ever seen from this vector. But it's the most important time to resist it. 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."

Even Abramson, the only elected official of the bunch (and he was elected as a Republican, to boot, before, he says*, only recently switching back to the party he ran for governor in 2016 with), lamented the "Republican savior" complex.

"I love Gary Johnson; he's a soft Libertarian," Abramson said. "I like Bill Weld, he's very affable. But when they said 'fiscally conservative, socially liberal,' it was just clear that they just didn't understand it. So far off from what we are. It's not anywhere near correct. We're fiscally libertarian, we're socially libertarian. We're Libertarian!…We have our own message. We're a different party. We're not Republican light, we're not cheap Democrats, we're something completely different. We want a free society."

Lurking not far underneath the candidates' Amash reticence was frustration that his name recognition absolutely dwarfs theirs, that the LNC would clearly be delighted if he ran, and that—due to the party's idiosyncratic nominating process—the congressman could conceivably announce his presidential candidacy on May 20, 2020, and still win.

"We need to be doing this now," said Behrman, who wears a big, floppy yellow hat, and has sited his campaign headquarters in Cancun, Mexico. "And if Justin Amash is busy doing something else that he can't commit to this—hey, I've got a full-time job, I work 40 hours a week not related to politics. I still have time to put into this. If he can't make up his mind and make that decision now, what's he waiting for? Let him stay where he is, do what he's doing; let him choose his own path. But we need to put our support behind myself and these other great candidates so we can start getting this message out and start getting people to see our faces."

Several candidates, during and after the debate, expressed concern that the nomination is ripe for outsider shenanigans abetted by insider dealing.

"The reason that I encourage these debates to start early is that I know—just as, if Justin Amash decides to run, just as I know he's going to wait until the last minute—[that] the LNC is going to try to make sure that this debate and other debates like it are not broadcast until the very last minute," Vohra asserted. "So that it's easy for an outsider, whether it's Justin or somebody else, so it's easy for an outsider to take over."

In fact, newly hired LNC Executive Director Dan Fishman was in attendance Saturday, and attempted to capture shareable video of the debate, but the results were pockmarked by technical glitches. The next debate event that candidates are trying to put together is slated for November 2 in South Carolina.

The decision by potential contenders to go negative on Amash, just like the undisguised enthusiasm some LNC types have for media chatter about his potential candidacy, makes all the sense in the world from an incentives point of view. They're running to win, and there is pent-up grassroots Libertarian frustration at the tendency for their presidential nominations to be handed to temporary Libertarians like Bob Barr rather than longtime activists such as Mary Ruwart. (Indeed, Ruwart was singled out for praise by three of the five candidates on stage.)

As for Amash, he has little incentive to make any premature declaration about running for president. The first major-party primaries are seven months away, and God only knows what American politics will look like then.

(* There is a dispute over whether Abramson has in fact changed parties, and so I edited the above sentence to include "he says.")

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  1. We have our own message. We’re a different party. We’re not Republican light, we’re not cheap Democrats, we’re something completely different. We want a free society.

    This guy gets it

    1. The funny hat screams Libertarian.

      1. At least he kept his clothes on.

    2. Sadly, you still don’t.

      1. Uh-huh, sure, Mr. “enforce all the laws even the unjust ones”

        1. As opposed to Mr. ‘import lots of child molesters because open borders no matter what’.

          1. Misleading vividness, straw man, and somehow ad hominem, all rolled into one worthless post. -1 internet.

            1. Proof is in the Reason Roundup 2.28.2019.
              Posted the link in the ‘Raids’ article from Sunday if one would rather go there for it.
              Yes, he said child rapists deserve asylum in the US – and argued for vehemently

              1. You recall another commenter’s post, and the specific thread, all the way back on… 2.28.19?

                You need a new hobby.

              2. Yes, he said child rapists deserve asylum in the US – and argued for vehemently

                That’s a lie. But like a great many of his comrades on the radicalized right, Nardz’s motto is – “It doesn’t have to be true, it just has to go viral”.

          2. Why would child molesters want to come here? Do they think they are more likely to actually get caught in Mexico, or that our prosecutors are easier on child molesters? This is a nonsense take.

        2. Jeff… who decides which laws are unjust. You? What a naive and childlike belief system you have. And this is after you are for prosecuting trump for process crimes absent an underlying crime. What child like thought systems you have.

          1. No, the only childlike “thought system” is the belief that laws must be enforced because.

            Yes, every individual has the right to decide for himself the justice of laws, and apply that judgment to his peers, or (should he be accused) appeal to a forum of his peers to share his judgment.

            This is why we have juries and jury nullification, you thoughtless imbecile.

            Honestly, you don’t understand the first thing about America. You should really move to China. You’d fit in there. You sure as fuck don’t belong in my country.

            1. Maybe some good samaritan will decide homicide laws are unjust and pay you a visit

          2. Of course you have to prosecute obstruction. Under your thinking, people should be encouraged to destroy evidence against them because doing so gets them off the hook, even if there is abundant evidence that they intentionally destroyed evidence. That is the whole reason why obstruction is against the law. Under your thinking no one would ever get prosecuted for obstruction. If they fail in their obstruction attempt then they will just get prosecuted for the underlying crime, and if they succeed there will be no evidence.

          3. ” One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that “an unjust law is no law at all.””

            — MLK

    3. They like Bill Weld. They don’t get shit.

      I mean, Bill Weld FFS.

      1. They like him, say he’s an affable guy, but none of them say he should be in politics, do they?

      2. “…frustration that his name recognition absolutely dwarfs theirs…”

        Says the ostensibly libertarian writer at an ostensibly libertarian rag, that only mentions these people in relation to an article on Amash…

  2. Simpsons’ episode w/the softball ringers come to life. “You’re Darryl Strawberry … yes … you play right field … yes … are you better than me? … well I just met you, but yes.”

    1. Boggs! I told you to get rid of those sideburns!

      1. That was Mattingly. Boggs fell into the bottomless pit.

        1. Mattingly yes. Ozzie Smith went into the pit.

          1. But is Steve Sax still doing time for all those New York crimes?

          2. Ironically, it was Ken Griffey Jr. who became addicted to the nerve tonic and developed gigantism, not Barry Bonds

  3. And that means taking positions that make the public squeamish.

    It appears to be a requirement.

    1. Guaranteed short trip to the Oval Office.

      1. Like… Monica?

  4. “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,”

    Thaaank you. Enough of the squishy republicans ruining the LP. Obviously, the party needs more giant yellow hats, stripteases, and whale fuckers to legitimize the spread of libertarian ideas.

    1. Or a runner up who was on the lam and investigated for murder.

      1. In all fairness, the alleged murderer was by far the smartest candidate of the bunch. And he had the largest name recognition, more so than the “what’s a leppo” Johnson.

  5. Shockingly, the Libertarian Party candidates for President are…partisan.

    1. Better, get Ron Swanson as the candidate. Or at least Nick Offernan in character for a full presidential term. Which would still be a million times better than any democrat, or RINO.

      1. Nick “Ron Swanson would vote for Hillary” Offerman? Based on that I’m not sure even in character he could be trusted. It broke my heart when he came out with that.

      2. I wonder if you can elect a fictitious character? Cause that would be funny, at the very least.

        It would also further show how unseriously we take all these clowns (politicians).

  6. I didn’t think Gary Johnson was the most principled candidate in 2016, but he almost certainly was able to get the libertarian message out in the public eye more than any of these other candidates could. And that’s not saying much, given the results at the polls.

    It seems to me that if the choice is ideological purity among obscure candidates who stand little chance of growing the party or accepting libertarian-leaning candidates with national name recognition (like Amash) which might actually achieve growth in poll numbers, the priority right now is towards the latter. Given how wacky Johnson is, I think Amash would do better than he did in 2016. He’s more polished and seems less prone to the strange gaffes Johnson had. In an ideal world he probably wouldn’t be my favorite candidate among these names. In the real world he has to be.

    1. >>>And that’s not saying much, given the results at the polls.

      could be he reached everyone and the consensus was meh.

    2. he almost certainly was able to get the libertarian message out in the public eye more than any of these other candidates could

      What message did he get out? I remember his main slogan was “be libertarian with me.” Okay, and what’s that entail? He didn’t really get to into libertarian philosophy (ie, the message) because he’s not a philosophical libertarian.

      accepting libertarian-leaning candidates with national name recognition (like Amash) which might actually achieve growth in poll numbers

      The LP has tried that in the last 3 presidential elections with basically nothing to show for it. So on to the next strategy, I guess.

      1. Badnarik/Campagna 2004: 0.32%
        Barr/Root 2008: 0.40%
        Johnson/Gray 2012: 0.99%
        Johnson/Weld 2016: 3.29%

        I don’t know how meaningful an indicator popular vote percentage is, but I wouldn’t say it’s nothing.

        1. I think in retrospect, we see higher numbers for third party when the two candidates are incredibly polarizing, and I can’t remember a more polarizing election than 2016.

          Although it’s important to note Ross Perot’s 17% in 1992 and that election wasn’t particularly polarizing as elections go, so… who knows.

        2. That has more to do with people tuning out the 2 major parties more over time than anything.

          Green Party popular vote totals

          David Cobb 2004: 0.10%
          Cynthia McKinney 2008: 0.12%
          Jill Stein 2012: 0.36%
          JIll Stein 2016: 1.07%

          I mean “name recognition” didn’t seem to do much for the Barr campaign.

          1. Yeah, those Green Party numbers do add some perspective.

            However, Barr, even though he attained the lowest percentage of all the Republican retreads, still managed to attain a higher percentage than the average of the other campaigns. In fact, only Ed Clark and Harry Browne (1996) managed to get a higher percentage than Barr (Barr had a higher percentage than Browne’s 2000 campaign).

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Libertarian_Party_(United_States)#Size_and_influence

            1. It’s mostly the rise of the internet creating greater opportunity for exposure.

          2. So L is always 3x Green? I never thought I’d say this, but here’s to hoping Jill Stein gets 25% next election.

            1. Hell I’d settle for 14.5%.

              Although, I suspect that even if the LP did have a plurality of the popular vote, they’d still somehow wind up with zero electoral votes.

      2. I think he was successful in the idea of being fiscally conservative, socially liberal. It’s sort of simplistic and cliche, but it’s a way to explain the ideology to swing voters whose eyes would probably glaze over with concepts like negative rights and NAP.

        If Libertarians can’t get into national debates, there is no chance of moving the needle much. Johnson almost got there. Amash might have a chance. Kokesh? Vohra? McAfee? Not a chance.

        1. Amash has no chance. I promise you. The debates are completely rigged against anyone but D and R getting in. Kokesh and McAfee are both legit insane and I think would scare most voters. Vohra has no chance of getting into the presidential debates either, due to it being blatantly rigged, but he will at least get out an authentic libertarian message in a package that doesn’t come across as someone who failed as a Republican or who is insane.

          1. Amash would have a slight chance, due to the fact that leftists could use him as another Trump basher.

            They have every incentive to give him an opportunity to siphon reluctant Trump voters.

            That said, I wouldn’t put money on it. Just playing devil’s advocate.

            1. But Gillespie assures us that Amash would draw from… BOTH SIDES

          2. McAfee has the largest name recognition of the bunch, is the most accomplished in the private sector (i.e. the real world) and is by far the smartest one of the bunch, despite a few quirks.

        2. “Johnson almost got there.”

          You’re falling for the scam. A third party candidate can never clear the bar to get into the debates unless the major parties see something in it for them, because that bar isn’t fixed.

          It’s adjusted every time to assure they don’t clear it.

          1. Yeah, you’re probably right. At least in 2016 there was some discussion of whether or not Johnson belonged outside of just libertarian circles, because he was polling high early. I don’t remember that in 2012 and certainly not in 2008.

            1. I think Amash would poll higher. We’d then see if the bar adjusts or if the (D)s takes the opportunity.

              As others have stated earlier, long-term Me is in conflict with short-term Me regarding whether or not
              I want Amash to run.

              Popcorn Me definitely wants him to run.

              1. Until amash became the newest republican attacks trump he was a nobody. He was merely a malcontent member of the freedom caucus. Those who are turned by anti trump arent voting for Amash, except maybe a few never trumpers. But those never trumpers were never trumpers in 16, so they voted for Weld already. Amash will accomplish nothing running for president just like he accomplished nothing in 10 years of Congress.

      3. I wish it was “onto the next strategy”, but unfortunately the LP shows every sign of doing the same exact strategy we’ve been trying for 48 years. It’s amazing to the that the party that most often quotes “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result” is the one who most often does the same thing over and over.

        The LP needs to decide if it wants to be a political party or just a debating society. If it just wants to debate then we can sit back and yell “Anarchy or Death” til we’re blue in the faces, confident that no more than 2-3% of the public will ever vote for that. OR – we can decide that a little libertarianism is better than none, confident that when the public sees how great a little freedom is they will want more and more. We can then start running candidates who may not be pure Rothbardians, but will be far superior to anything offered by the D’s and R’s and actually has a chance to win.

        the other thing we need to do is recognize that any victory is impossible until we change our electoral system. Getting Ranked Choice Voting passed nationwide is the only thing that will change things. The LP MUST get behind this as our primary issue. The public has never been more ripe for this kind of change.

    3. Before “Aleppo” and a few other stumbles, I think Gary Johnson was on to something by trying to change the image of libertarians from wild-eyed radicals to the moderate adults in the room. It is common sense moderate to support low taxes and free markets AND to believe that what you smoke or who you marry is none of the government’s business AND to seek relief from the burden of being the World’s Policeman.
      Purity? Look, I’m a card-carrying LP member and I feel guilty about playing softball in a city league (socialist softball!). But I recognize that the real world is analog, not ones and zeroes. I will use my judgment to determine if supporting a particular candidate or organization will significantly advance libertarian principles even if they fall short of privatizing Parks and Rec.

      1. Bake the cake.

    4. I dunno man, I’ve been told its all about principles above all else – even if it means never getting your preferred policies passed and ensuring that libertarians remain a completely irrelevant sector of the electorate.

  7. We don’t need somebody who’s really good at playing political charades and pretending to be bold when he’s just pandering to a large group of people who believe that the orange man is bad….

    I wonder what his Reason screen name is.

    1. I am going to guess you, under the premise; he who smelt it; dealt it.

      1. I enjoy too much pragmatism to be one of these candidates.

    2. The good Reverend Kirkland. He’s practicing his N+1 dimension chess to counter Trumps campaign strategy.

      1. Come on, Rev. Kirkland is a parody account, just like OBL.

        1. It is hard to believe anyone is that much of and assholish idiot.

        2. OBL comes out with original stuff, occasionally. The Rev is always leftovers.

    3. We don’t need somebody who’s really good at playing political charades

      but isn’t that…what politics is?

  8. The only sane option is re-nominating BobfuckingBarr.

  9. Please NO!
    After Johnson said that I as a merchant do not have the right to refuse service I lost ANY desire for him. I foolishly sent him 500.00 on his previous attempt.
    Please not another retread, one who wold sacrifice the good for the perfect he will never get.
    If he is our candidate, I will support Trump.

  10. “video of the debate…were pockmarked by technical glitches”

    That’s the polite way of saying the video unintentionally captured upskirt shots of miniskirted OBL sitting in the front row.

    1. Sooo… hotdog or bun?

      1. What part of ‘pockmarked by technical glitches’ do you not understand?

      2. Does it have to be or?

  11. The best way to grow the libertarian movement is to get rid of most of the self-declared libertarians and start appealing to the people who would actually prefer to live is a free society than just pose as contrarians.

    1. Username checks out.

    2. get rid of most of the self-declared libertarians
      […]
      live is a free society than just pose as contrarians.

      So chuck them all out is what you’re saying.

      1. Nobody expects a libertarian purge.

        Ok, most don’t.

        Alright, some.

        Sigh, yeah, it’s expected.

    3. The best way to grow the libertarian movement is to get rid of

      …the Libertarian Party, amirite?

      1. Yes, you are right.

        The proper course is to steer the major party that accepts you in your direction.

        This is what the socialists have done with the Democratic Party.

        And unlike the socialists, libertarian ideas are actually accepted by the mainstream. We could be extremely successful if there weren’t so many contrarian idiots calling themselves libertarian.

        1. True.
          The R base has a general affinity for libertarian ideas as a whole, though they object to some particulars.
          But those contrarians want to pretend BOTH SIDES are the exact same and ignore R politicians stabbing their constituents in the back as opportunity to exploit discontent.
          And if you lead off with ideas like ‘open borders’ and ‘heroin for all’ instead of moderate positions, it’ll obviously be rejected at first glance

  12. Just look at that crowd in the picture. Is it any wonder the Libertarian Party is a joke?

    1. Vohra seems to be the real deal.

      1. I’m really not fully opposed to the one idea I know of him: shooting up school boards

        1. I missed that one.

      2. He’s an obnoxious troll.

  13. Ron Paul is conservative and a libertarian.
    Gary Johnson was a great candidate, because he was more qualified and more libertarian than Trump or Clinton.
    Justin Amash wouldn’t move the needle.

    1. How can anyone who saw him in the 2011 Republican presidential debates or any time since say Gary Johnson was a great candidate? Wet dishrag. Boring as all fuck.

      1. This is reason. A certain segment here doesnt believe libertarians have to be effective or convince other people to even take a small step towards liberty. They prefer principles and inaction to effective change.

  14. How many Amash articles is Reason going to barf out? This is getting ridiculous.

    Reason: Please return to your regular pablum of TDS spreading and Shikha hysteria-spewing.

    1. No, I really prefer the Amash articles. Think about what you’re asking.

    2. Amash articles are TDS spreading. Hes competing for a morning joe slot as we speak.

  15. In bed.

  16. It appears the Lib Party is purposefully trying to not become a serious third-party. Legal drugs is mainstream now, elimination of fed gov, etc, is not classic conservatism but silliess. Gov Johnson was a complete amateur, embarrassing Bill W, himself and all of the Libs. The Libs are being driven by a power that wants them/us to stay ridiculous and never field a serious candidate. The AZ Lib convention could have been a Monty Python skit.

    Get serious, former centrist conservatives to head the party, dump the clown college types now in positions of power and start taking voters from both parties, so disband as it is a complete waste of time and effort.

    1. I’ve attended multiple AZLP conventions. Last one I attended was at the Clarendon a few years back. Not sure what your slight is regarding.

  17. I think we here could probably field a slate that is competitive for the nomination of the Libertarian Party.

    For example I would totally vote for Dillinger for pres. He’d be the most chill prez evah. Some bureaucrat will go up to President Dillinger and say “should we raise taxes?” and Dillinger would be all like “nah bro”. Perfect.

    1. Nobody likes you.

      1. Nobody that matters.
        Eunuch likes him though

      2. Oh look it’s Jesse the Censor.

  18. There was no courage in Amash leaving the GOP just ahead of its primary voters giving him the bum’s rush. He was racing out the door to avoid the boot poised to kick him out.

    1. Most just take the boot. He’s losing because the party no longer holds his ideals. So he’s leaving. Arguably courageous, but certainly not cowardly.

      1. I’m not sure which ideals you refer to? And isn’t his leaving the same as resigning rather then being fired?

        1. He has been very articulate and up front about those ideals.

          1. He has been very ineffective at making progress towards those ideals because he thinks simple show votes will convince people instead of convincing people he is right.

          2. One of them seems to be let’s charge a man for speaking his mind about how he was upset with a politically motivated witch Hunt that the accused was completely innocent of.

  19. Of course the unserious clowns prefer other unserious clowns over Amash. He’s competent and articulate and they are not.

    1. Competent? How?

  20. Ms. Ruff’s remark leads me to a question about actual governance by a libertarian (whether Libertarian or otherwise libertarian):

    Suppose you find yourself president with the current statutes intact. Do you order your attorney general, with the input that you also order from your secretary of HHS, to decontrol all narcotics by making the statutorily-prescribed determinations about them, regardless of what they actually believe? This is the only way you can not “stop you from doing” heroin, etc., because you know Congress is not going to remove the controls.

    However, you also know all the states are going to keep their controls on narcotics, so the practical effect of your orders would be nil except to stop federal enforcement against the traffic. And you also know your orders would result in your administration’s officially saying these substances are not “addictive”.

    So is one purely symbolic message worth the other?

    1. “However, you also know all the states are going to keep their controls on narcotics”

      Firstly as POTUS I’d authorize Executive branch action as a stop gap measure until the grossly unconstitutional CSA was repealed or judicially overturned.

      Beyond that you are correct. There are limits to Presidential and Federal authority. State police powers are substantially broader, so those laws might pass Constitutional muster. So other than using the bully pulpit to argue for change to those laws there may not be much that can directly, or properly be done.

      It’s still a step in the right direction.

      1. Let’s see if I have you right re “executive branch action”. You mean don’t use executive authority to say, “These substances are non-addictive,” but rather say you’re not going to enforce those statutory terms because they’re unconstitutional (except as regards non-prohibitory regulation , of imports, exports, etc.) and because each branch has a duty to uphold the constitution independently and not leave it to the judiciary?

  21. The idea of a Pro-life, socially conservative leaning civil libertarian Republican Congressman as the LP’s nominee is a great idea……four years ago. Four years ago, before Trump showed he could accomplish some conservative and even libertarian goals. Back when both major Party candidates were heavily disliked by liberals and conservatives.

    2020 probably won’t be like 2016 and while Amash could potentially do better than Johnson did in 2012, its unlikely he’ll do “better” than Johnson’s 2016 numbers.

    In hindsight the LP should’ve begged Mitch Daniels or Tom Coburn to run in 2016.

  22. I’d wholeheartedly support Amash if he were to run—there’s value in pushing ideas into the mainstream. Sure, maybe Amash isn’t the One True Scotsman, but he’s the only potential candidate that has even a shot of garnering press coverage (especially given his grandstanding whole departing the GOP).

    In 2016, Bernie was an old crank with no chance to win—he’s the same in 2020. The difference is that he’s shifted the discussion towards his ideas.

    Amash is the only guy that could inject some sense of libertarianism into the election—because he’s the only one with the possibility of press coverage. Maybe that’s enough to keep Trump from totally abandoning some of his few libertarian-ish instincts.

    1. Of course, he should announce his candidacy now—while he had name recognition. That gives him more time to push ideas that hopefully shape the national dialogue.

    2. Hes only garnering press coverage because hes the latest trump bashing republican. Not exactly libertarian ideals here.

      1. Sure, he’s getting press coverage because he criticized Trump.

        I don’t think that changes the fact that Amash is the only libertarian-leaning potential candidate with any name recognition. No one else would even be included in polls.

  23. Did I misread that one of the candidates seriously wants to dissolve the federal government? Did he not read a history book on the period between 1783 and 1789 to see how well that works out? The Federal Government is a necessary evil, I can see shrinking it, and fully support that, but completely dissolving it? Also, how do you accomplish that short of repealing the Constitution? And is that a path we want to go down?
    And people wonder why the LP isn’t taken seriously?

  24. Translation: Justin Amash is a loser who committed political suicide for no good reason and everyone of note in the Libertarian Party knows it.

  25. I am going McAffee.

    1. Maybe if he stop sending me reminders that my free trial is over.

      1. He sold that years ago and lost the money in bad investments. If the company is still sending you those, heh, he did something.

        I tend to like weirdo nerds. Tesla, Einstein, Roentgen, Frank Zappa, Hunter S Thompson, whomever.

        1. Is your sarcasm detector broken?

  26. He had the bead judgement to call for the impeachment of a sitting president, based on no evidence of a crime. A president who, while not a libertarian has done more libertarian things than any other president in decades.

    Instead of reaching out to Trump and trying to work with him to get more libertarians stuff done, he shits the bed and makes an enemy out of the president. And as you say, commits career suicide.

    I have little use for Amash after that.

    1. I am sure he has similar use of you.

      1. It would be one thing if he was actually successful at implementing any of his preferred policies (as Rand Paul has been), but he’s not even good at that. He renamed a fucking post office. That’s the sum total of his achievements in political office.

    2. We should call for the impeachment of every sitting president, for better reason than to keep them on the defensive. Politicians do not need a long leash, which you’d appreciate if you were remotely libertarian instead of a morally bankrupt fuckwit.

      1. no better reason*

      2. Yes because it is so Libertarian to launch into unsupported investigations by the state to keep people in line? Nothing says Libertarian more than using the police state to harass those we dislike.

  27. This is why the LP can’t win. It chooses not to.

    As much as the Trumpista at Reason hate Amash, he has the best libertarian record since Ron Paul. None of those guys up on stage even have a record, as none of them have ever held office for anything. Not even dog catcher.

    These guys say the LP is a political party, but they act like it’s a quirky debate club. They don’t want to win, they don’t even want to get a message out. I was at a LP convention where the back row was filled by AnCap delegates who kept raising points of order to deliberately delay votes because they couldn’t think beyond their contrarian kneejerks. And the rest of convention just put up with it.

    Those people up on stage do not want to win. They have no plan to win. They can’t handle the idea of winning.

    The LP can’t win so long as their number one priority is legalizing black tar heroin.

    Fucking Judean People’s Front.

    1. “The LP can’t win so long as their number one priority is legalizing black tar heroin.”

      A. Lazy fucking strawman is lazy. (Number one priority???) What part of making a point that it’s nobody’s business if you do do you not understand?

      B. (This one might be hard for you) Are you suggesting the path to obtaining the levers of political power is easier of one is less than upfront about one’s actual goals???? I’m shocked, shocked I tell you.

  28. It’s all falling apart for Amash. GOOD.
    What the hell made him think the Libertarians would accept him with open arms.
    Amash’s political career is finished.
    Not to worry though.
    I suspect CNN or MSNBC will welcome him so long as he keeps bashing Trump.

  29. It’s 2009, Reason is ESPN and Amash is Favre.

  30. […] le visage du parti pour l’élection générale. Inutile de dire que les autres candidats ne sont pas forcément heureux de cette situation. Comme le rappelle Max Abramson, un de ces candidats, le symptôme du « sauveur Républicain » […]

  31. Until the LP gets a Perot or Trump… None of it actually makes a difference. They exist to be an unimportant protest vote, and maybe to convince a few people on issues based on principle. So whatevs.

  32. […] aren’t happy about the ideological compromises that has involved. Here’s Reason’s Matt Welch discussing an early presidential-candidate forum he moderated last […]

  33. […] happy about the ideological compromises that has involved. Here’s Reason’s Matt Welch discussing an early presidential-candidate forum he moderated last […]

  34. […] aren’t happy about the ideological compromises that has involved. Here’s Reason’s Matt Welch discussing an early presidential-candidate forum he moderated last […]

  35. […] aren’t happy about the ideological compromises that has involved. Here’s Reason’s Matt Welch discussing an early presidential-candidate forum he moderated last […]

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