Justin Amash

Key Election Forecaster Switches Justin Amash's House Seat to 'Lean Republican' in 2020

"It's doubtful there's a sufficient market for a pro-life/pro-impeachment independent in the district to allow him a path to a sixth term," concludes the Cook Political Report.

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The Cook Political Report, which accurately called Michigan's 3rd congressional district race each of the five times Justin Amash won it as a Republican, is now predicting that he won't win re-election as an independent.

In a post-impeachment vote update last week, the election forecaster switched the race from "Toss-Up" to "Lean Republican," with the Cook's David Wasserman arguing that "Amash's anti-Trump posture seems more likely to split votes on the left."

"Unlike pro-Trump party switcher Rep. Jeff Van Drew (NJ–02), Amash is now his own island," Wasserman wrote. "It's doubtful there's a sufficient market for a pro-life/pro-impeachment independent in the district to allow him a path to a sixth term. He had $273,000 in the bank at the end of September—far less than the GOP nominee is likely to be able to spend—and won't be able to lean on financial support from either party."

Amash's seat is being vigorously contested in the August 4, 2020, primaries of both major parties. Democrats so far include former aide to Barack Obama (in both the White House and Senate) Nick Colvin and social worker/immigration attorney Hillary Scholten, while Republicans have a half-dozen candidates led (thus far in the fundraising sweepstakes) by grocery store magnate Peter Meijer, DeltaPlex Arena owner Joel Langlois, and state Rep. Lynn Afendoulis. Generally, the November 2020 race so far has been seen as a toss-up.

The libertarian incumbent has long made the case that outside observers routinely underestimate his support and misread Michigan's 3rd congressional district, which includes the growing and increasingly Democratic city of Grand Rapids, prosperous suburbs, and some red-meat rural areas. The Dutch Reformed Church, which has a significant presence there, places an emphasis on personal modesty and decency reminiscent of the Donald Trump–averse Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Amash's margin of victory in his district exceeded Trump's in 2016 by 11 percentage points, and also Mitt Romney's in 2012 by two percentage points. The Cook status change does acknowledge that the "situation in Grand Rapids is unique," not least because it is currently unknown whether House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D–Calif.) will take up some of her backbenchers' request that Amash be appointed one of three House managers in the (presumably) forthcoming Senate impeachment trial.

And though Wasserman is correct to the point of tautology that Amash will not receive support from his (non-existent) political party, the congressman does have longstanding ties with national libertarian and libertarian-adjacent organizations, some of which helped him fend off GOP primary challenges in the past. He also will get at least some new money this cycle from the kind of national-security conservatives who actively backed his opponents as recently as five years ago.

The last sitting member of Congress to switch to independent once in office and then survive re-election was Virginia's Virgil Goode in 2000; he subsequently switched over to the GOP in 2002 and has had, shall we say, an ideologically colorful career. As a category, the reelected major-party-defector is basically empty since World War II.

Hindering Amash's case still further is the fact that Michigan is one of just a handful of states that have the straight-ticket ballot option, whereby voters can check a single box with the name of their political party and—ZOOP!—every one of that party's listed candidates gets a vote. "Straight-ticket voting makes it prohibitive to run outside of the major parties," Amash told me in August 2018.

The late date of the Michigan primaries means that Amash will have to decide 11 weeks in advance of them whether he will instead seek the Libertarian Party presidential nomination, which gets decided May 21–25. He has been downplaying such speculation of late, telling Rolling Stone in the fall that "I'll continue to weigh where I think I can make the most impact, but I also think it's important to be successful when you run for office….If I were to run for president, that's not something I would do unless I felt very confident I could win it. And so if you were to see me get into the race it means that I'm confident I can win the race."

The math on a third-party presidential challenge in these polarized times is brutal, yet it's hard to imagine a scenario in which Amash concludes he has better odds of taking the White House than defending his seat. As the 4th quarter for fundraising reaches its final hours, six of the congressman's last eight posts on his famously chatty Twitter feed are appeals to donate to his congressional campaign.

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  1. He knew this was happening and it’s why he suddenly became “principled” , he had no chance of winning anyway.

    Maybe if he’d actually accomplished something he could have run on that but… Yeah.

    1. And only now, that he is heading for loserdom, is he first and foremost pro-life.

      1. These people think they are clever.

  2. Suck it.

    1. Time will tell if he becomes that desperate for funds.

  3. Even if Koch / Reason libertarians lose a valuable Congressional ally like Amash, we’ll still have AOC for many years.

    #Impeach

    1. Nothing about social justice. You’re losing it.

  4. He also will get at least some new money this cycle from the kind of national-security conservatives who actively backed his opponents as recently as five years ago.

    The NeverTrump globalist surveillance-state warmongers will save Amash!

    1. Pro-life Globalist NeverTrumper = NeoClown
      But not Pro-war enough.

      NeoClowns have no home in either party. And a Pacifist NeoClown has no home with the NeoClowns.

      Can be hired as a NeverTrumper Faux Right Dancing Monkey by the EnemyOfThePeople.

  5. If there is anything a slack-jawed, bigoted, stale-thinking Republican can’t stand, it’s a genuine libertarian. There are plenty of half-educated, grievance-consumed white clingers in Michigan’s left-behind-and-never-coming-back rural stretches, making this a good district for conservatives.

    1. Sounds like a win then.

    2. Genuine libertarians don’t exist anywhere except back alley bars where they can down Old Smuggler Scotch at a discount and rant about facial recognition technology while putting up candidates that are one notch above completely laughable.

      Republicans are libertarians that got smacked in the face with reality.

      1. Bullshit. Republicans are goons just like Democrats. Having a handful of Amash’s can’t save the GOP.

        1. You’re right, a bunch of Amash’s wouldn’t be able to save the Rs.
          Because Amash is an impotent little bitch of a fraud

    3. When you’ve won Kirkland, you’ve lost every other libertarian.

    4. Don’t you ever get tired of posting the same boring shit?

      1. He doesn’t. I was starting to think Arty was some Reason staff sock, but I’m told that he is a long time Volokh commenter that followed him here

        1. Seems like the Reverend is doing good work. The entire Peanut Gallery felt compelled to respond to assuage their butthurt. Every. Single. One. Only lovecon89 is missing, and I am sure he will turn up soon.

          1. Aww, eunuch found a new idol.
            Don’t get your hopes up though – he doesn’t respect you either

      2. I find the comment remarkably poignant. Certain ideas bear repeating.

        1. “Kill yourself, Pod.” is one of those.

    5. I hope you got plenty of hankies for Christmas, because not only is Trump living rent-free in your head, he’s gonna kick your monkey ass again next year, because the country now has jobs, the market just had one of its best years ever once again, and your shitty democratic party candidates are all even bigger losers than you are.

    6. Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland
      December.27.2019 at 4:48 pm
      “If there is anything a slack-jawed, bigoted, stale-thinking Republican can’t stand, it’s a genuine libertarian…”

      We don’t care to read your confessions, asshole bigot.

    7. You cling to this schtick harder than any of us cling to anything

    8. The Kirkland Comment Generator is broken.

    9. Kirkland: you wouldn’t know a genuine libertarian if he gave you blowjob on stage at the Cato institute.

      1. I’m. Or so sure you’re right about that. Arty does have a part tome job manning a glory hole at his local trick stop. So his expertise at sucking off anonymous men might come into play here

    10. #LibertariansForTheDeepStateCoup

  6. Rats and sinking ships?

  7. Would have been interesting to see Amash run as a libertarian. Doubtful he could pull off Johnson’s 5%. But damaged goods. Bring on the crazy.

    1. I’d imagine he has more nation-wide name recognition with the voting public than Johnson did. If he failed to top Johnson, it would only be because Johnson’s inept campaign damaged the Libertarian brand. It’s almost unbelievable Johnson ever held public office anywhere.

      Amash would likely also give better interviews, and get invited to give more interviews. His 10 years in congress would give him media access a non-main-party governor can’t aspire to.

    2. No third party will pull off what GJ did in 2016. Let the crazy wing of the LP run their Prez candidate for 2020 and get their 0.3%.

      If Amash loses, the best thing for libertarianism would be for he and Gabbard to do a debate tour round campuses and such. The two longest serving millennials. Both shat on by the two party system. Both with a slew of ideas – and basic civility – which just aren’t on the DeRp agenda at all.

      Those two could strip that entire generation and Z’s away from DeRp. Which at minimum could result in both the G’s and L’s having a real bench of both candidates and organizers for 2024 – while DeRps are still figuring out how to get beyond the 60’s boomers.

      1. Interesting idea but Amash has mostly distinguished himself by his raging TDS to the casual observer. Whatever you think of Trump he’s hardly the biggest threat to libertarianism out there. A discussion about foreign policy and endless war is long overdue and yeah these two would make a great team.

      2. Tulsi is preparing the way for a Prez run in 24 or later, as is Buttigieg. Both are establishing name recognition without the socialist tag. If they fall in line and support the big Donkey in November they will be among the favorites in 24 to succeed the Donald.

        1. Both Gabbard and Buttigieg have horrible policy ideas, and all the crap they said this time around will haunt them until the end of time. That’s in part why Hillary lost: politicians can’t reinvent themselves in the age of YouTube.

          1. South bend is doing great under Buttgieg, let’s make it national.

      3. “If Amash loses, the best thing for libertarianism would be for he and Gabbard to do a debate tour round campuses and such. The two longest serving millennials. Both shat on by the two party system. Both with a slew of ideas – and basic civility – which just aren’t on the DeRp agenda at all.”

        No offense, but if Libertarians get behind somebody who has campaigned FOR reparations over slavery….they have little room to discuss either party losing their moorings.

        I like Tulsi most of the Democrats…but seriously, come the fuck on.

        1. And Amash, in his own way, is really no better than Gabbard. If anything I’d give Gabbard props for having a modicum of integrity. Amash is slipping into grifterdom.

          Neither are going to do liberty any favors.

        2. The point for big-L libertarians is not to ‘get behind’ either one of them. It is to move beyond a 50-year old ‘Nolan chart’ with many issues that are almost entirely irrelevant now and impossible to explain to anyone under 60 and/or an even more tired/older Randian/ancapAustrian fiction that were quite deliberately never relevant/real to begin with.

          If that means big-L’s need to directly address things like structural ILLIBERTY that persists – or environment – or homelessness/housing or video-game permawar that no longer depends on either a draft or even an awareness that it is occurring – or frankly any other issue that is meaningful to actual voters in the real world – well so be it. If they don’t, then they should be replaced by a non-DeRp party that CAN actually address issues that aren’t addressed by the DeRp’s.

          And this would have absolutely no impact whatsoever on those R’s who pretend to be libertarian. Like many commenters on this site. They are partisan R’s. They will always be R’s to their grave. They are a completely useless demographic for L’s to appeal to — because there is zero chance in hell that they will ever do anything that isn’t complete partisan hackery for the R’s. And yeah – that pretty much includes the entire Paul/Mises/neoconfederate crowd.

          1. Reparations for slavery are a hot button issue for voters? Seriously?

            Any “libertarian” who doesn’t laugh her off the stage over this is worse than any Republican out there who opposes this dreck.

            1. Guess it depends what you – or Gabbard – mean by ‘reparations’.

              Many white homeowners are sitting on a ton of home equity wealth that continues to be subsidized by the US government even as it was acquired under explicit conditions that excluded descendants of slaves from acquiring same.

              ‘Failure to even discuss that’ = perpetuating it. Even though failure to address that now goes well beyond mere racial stuff and is now clearly intergenerational punishment/subsidy. Why shouldn’t that be an issue in need of ‘repair’? And on what planet could ‘libertarians’ avoid having an opinion when avoiding an opinion means continuation of govt subsidy for some?

            2. And again I am NOT saying that this is some ‘tour’ of ‘libertarians’. It is a DEBATE about issues that are not even remotely on the DeRp agenda and never will be on the DeRp agenda for at least a couple more decades. But that both Amash and Gabbard seem willing to broach. That’s why I said the third party beneficiaries would likely be the G’s and the L’s.

    3. Accidentally flagged this comment. No offense intended.

  8. I won’t be surprised if the winner turns out to be more effectively libertarian than Amash was.

    1. He already is more effective at libertarian policy.

  9. Rep. Amash should leave that district — a deplorable, shambling, declining clingeropolis — and move to a modern, successful community, especially if he has a family. Why would any educated, reasoning, decent person voluntarily be on the wrong end of bright flight and the great American sifting, particularly with children involved?

    1. …says the guy who brags about writing for the Cleveland plain dealer on his website lmao

      1. I have never claimed to have written for the Cleveland Plain Dealer, mostly because I never wrote for the Plain Dealer (at least, not knowingly), you cackling, half-educated, replacement-ready Republican bigot.

        Still wondering why your kind can’t be competitive in the culture war?

        1. I don’t think they wonder. They know perfectly well it’s Greta Thunberg’s fault.

          1. In the case of Greta Thunberg, maybe they wonder why anyone is listening to the unhinged rantings of an unbalanced child having a tantrum about all of her imaginary terrors instead of trying to get her the kind of psychiatric help she obviously sorely needs.

            1. Actually, you’d think a serious welfare state like Sweden would be providing care fro someone like Greta instead of letting her run loose.

            2. That you people are triggered by this child is truly the most insane thing I’ve witnessed in politics all year, and that’s fucking saying something.

              You, seek help. She’s fine.

              1. How dare you! You have destroyed the dreams of my generation.

                Fuck you, snivelworm.

              2. I’m not triggered at all. I just feel sorry for her.

                I am perhaps feeling a little bit “triggered” by the fact that so many adults take her unhinged rantings seriously. It really gives me pause to realize that so many of the world’s institutions are being run by people who are so stupid or equally unhinged or just plain mendacious.

                1. Grown-ass men intimidated by a little girl. You people are so fucking pathetic and stupid it’s painful.

        2. It’s right on your website next to your cooky list, ya cook. We all know you’re Hihn…

          “About Mike
          Mike is a political independent, but worked with the Libertarian Party as an “electoral libertarian” — focused on electing both movement libertarians and those who follow the “libertarian ethos” — fiscally conservative and socially liberal.
          As an independent, he was mentored as an op-ed writer by an Op-Ed Editor at Ohio’s largest newspaper (Plain Dealer).  His op-eds were self-syndicated from te early 1980s to the late 1990s.  (He’s now retired)”

          From your website cooky

          1. It’s not Hihn. It is a Volokh snivelworm. Fundamentally, it’s a smelly lib which likely, in its capacity as a service worker, is forced to be polite to many that it considers beneath it. Thus political “enemies” allow this thing to vent it’s spleen in the way in which it wishes it could at will, if only it wasn’t required to treat obvious inferiors with politesse.

            So in summary: smarmy self-importance combined with vile bigotry makes it no surprise that it values today’s shitty faux ”liberalism”.

        3. You smell of cat piss. Why can’t your kind use a laundry?

    2. I agree: let all Democrats and progressives concentrate themselves in half a dozen socialist enclaves. They’ll then have to build walls around themselves to keep tax payers from running away. That’s probably the best way to deal with deplorable, shambling, left wing clingers who haven’t figured out yet that they belong in the dustbin of history.

  10. Doesn’t suck Trump cock enough to be a true libertarian.

  11. Stop calling Amash the “libertarian incumbent”. Amash is about as “libertarian” as Bernie.

  12. Amash is the typical libertarian.

    Make yourself irrelevant in the name of “priciples”, which is really just a euphemism for ego.

    1. One thing “libertarians” fear is actually having to implement their theories and see if they actually work in reality.

      They are aware they absolutely would not. Better to be “pure” than to have to water down anything to improve the situation.

    2. Sad to see Amash trying to get attention by becoming independent and supporting Trump’s impeachment (I don’t see any evidence to support that vote). In spite of that, I hope he wins re-election, but I agree, it seems likely he’s become irrelevant where before at least he could vote and get TV time to promote libertarian ideas. The easiest way to get libertarian policies implemented is via the GOP IMHO.

  13. If we want to discuss these things intelligently, we need to understand and account for Duverger’s law.

    “Duverger’s law holds that plurality-rule elections (such as first past the post) structured within single-member districts tend to favor a two-party system”

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duverger%27s_law

    Even if Amash somehow overcomes the force of gravity in this upcoming election, his district will revert to the statistical mean eventually–and that mean will not be independent. It will be Republican or it will be Democrat.

    Unless one of the two major parties becomes so irrelevant through missteps and changes that another party can rise to take its place, there is no way the Libertarian Party or any other “independent” party will establish a path to power. Rather, if libertarians wish to establish political power through winning elections, then they need to colonize one of the two major parties. Those of us who once supported libertarianish Tea Party types like Amash and Rand Paul thought that was what they were doing–and that was why we were wiling to support them despite them not always toeing the libertarian line.

    When punk rock gets on the radio and is accepted by a mass audience, it doesn’t sound like GBH or Minor Threat. In order to appeal to a mass audience, it sounds like Green Day or Nirvana. That’s okay. If you like punk rock, you want popular music to sound watered down–just so long as it doesn’t sound like the fucking Bee Gees or The Eagles. It’s the same thing with libertarianism. When it becomes a dominant force in politics, it won’t be the libertarianism of anarcho-capitalist militia movement types. It’ll be the kind of libertarianism that suburbanite grandparents can vote for with enthusiasm.

    I thought Justin Amash understood this. My shock and amazement at Amash’s political suicide is only matched by my horror and confusion at seeing libertarianish Republicans like Rand Paul vote against a bill that would have cut $772 billion from Medicaid–because of things that the bill didn’t also do. These guys were supposed to be the vanguard of a movement to colonize the Republican party and make them increasingly libertarian over the long haul. Amash spectacularly betrayed that purpose–and for no good reason.

    The next step was to find someone among the libertarian vanguard to become a Barry Goldwater figure–someone who may not have had the ability to win national election, yet, but could recreate the Republican party in a more libertarian image, paving the way for the election of a libertarian Ronald Reagan. Justin Amash is in the way of that.

    That Amash was so bush-league that he didn’t know anything about Duverger’s law, the importance of coattails in a presidential election year, or that his influence on public policy would dwindle to nothing outside the Republican party is a sign–in flashing lights–that libertarians shouldn’t squander our support on him. He threw his influence away like it wasn’t important, and if he did so without realizing it, that’s even worse. Why would we root for him to maintain his influence? Surely, there must be other candidates out there who are worthy of our support and won’t flush their influence down the toilet for nothing.

    1. Duverger’s law holds that plurality-rule elections (such as first past the post) structured within single-member districts tend to favor a two-party system

      Duverger’s Law only explains why any individual district in the US will tend to have two parties that compete. It has nothing to do with explaining why the US is one of only a tiny handful of democratic countries that do not statistically have even a two-party system. We have a one-party system in a very large portion of districts. Large enough to bring the aggregate total under two. And where we do have ‘competitive elections’, we are unique in that it is the same two national parties that do the competing. No regional parties – no truly urban/rural/suburban parties – no ideological parties that might randomly have good enough organization in a small number of districts to compete there – no grassroots or individual-oriented parties that might be able to compete in smaller districts that don’t homogenize everything and thus rely on wholesale money/marketing.

      1. That said – while most of that stuff can be firmly laid on an active duopoly cartel unique to the US where the legal election apparatus is firmly under the control of two parties who allocate sub-monopoly ‘market share’ within that apparatus, third parties are to blame as well.

        They need to focus on the ‘one-party’ seats and BECOME the de facto competitor there. Those seats are one-party mostly because the out-of-party carries a shit-ton of national baggage that it cannot possibly get rid of in that district. the third parties don’t have that baggage. They also however don’t have a clue in hell what elections actually are and are heavily composed of people who actively self-sabotage because they want to virtue signal their Cathari purity/perfection.

        1. ” No regional parties – no truly urban/rural/suburban parties”

          Strange we have Scottish or Quebecois national/ethnic parties elsewhere, yet no Latin counterpart in the USA. A successful Latin party would pull a lot of weight, particularly in regions of concentration. I believe there is some cultural antipathy between the Latins of Cuban origin and those of Mexican, but I don’t know if it’s strong enough to prevent a pan Latin thing from getting going in the US.

          1. It would encourage both large parties to actually do something about immigration issues and border enforcement if they tried to do so.

      2. “Duverger’s Law only explains why any individual district in the US will tend to have two parties that compete. It has nothing to do with explaining why the US is one of only a tiny handful of democratic countries that do not statistically have even a two-party system. We have a one-party system in a very large portion of districts.”

        There are safe districts everywhere there are single member districts. In a parliamentary system like the UK, you’re not even necessarily expected to be from the district your represent. New candidates are given a chance by running in districts they’re sure to lose–getting experience and showing the party leaders whether they’re worthy of campaigning in a district where they have a chance to win. It’s like a new pitching prospect starting out in the minor leagues. The party leaders choose to represent the safest districts–not the districts where they’re from. Regardless, there are safe and less safe districts in every system with single member districts. There isn’t anything different about the United States in that regard.

        1. There’s a huge difference between the UK and the US.

          The UK has 650 critters in their Commons. That equals a district size averaging 71,000. So to win, you probably need 35k votes or so – easily achievable with either grassroots organization or wholesale mass ad/money. To run, a candidate needs to get signatures of 10 voters and post L 500. Their ‘two-party system’ has 10 parties (and 1 independent) represented in their Commons.

          The US has 435 critters in the House. That equals average district size of 700,000+. To run, the rules vary widely by state. eg Georgia, where you need more signatures to RUN than you would need to WIN in UK. But only for third parties. They basically have to wage an entire campaign merely to get on the ballot – and then ramp that up by 10x to compete in the election. Except of course for the DeRps who even get their primaries paid for by taxpayers. Our rules are so crappy and corrupt, we are the only signatory of the Helsinki Accords that is in permanent violation of rules that WE insisted on then as an indicator of whether commie countries were dictatorships or actual representative democracies.

          This ain’t Duverger’s Law bud. We are uniquely corrupt. Defending that corruption does not equal making some point about Duverger’s Law. It merely equals defending corruption – and thus being part of the problem.

          1. There is nothing about the UK that is different from the U.S. in terms of Duverger’s law explaining why districts are dominated by two parties, and the U.S. is not different from other countries with single member districts that are dominated by one party.

            Claiming that we’re different from them on these points because we’re uniquely corrupt doesn’t change the fact that we aren’t different from them on any of these points: We have a system that’s dominated by two parties because of single member districts and every other country with single member districts also features districts that are dominated by only one party.

            P.S. Even when the opposition party that’s dominant in some districts is a different party than the opposition party that’s dominant in other districts, the opposition parties caucus together in parliament (with the Scottish National Party and the Labour being an excellent example)–and do you know why? I’ll give you a hint: It rhymes with Duverger’s law.

            1. We have a system that’s dominated by two parties because of single member districts and every other country with single member districts also features districts that are dominated by only one party.

              Which is completely irrelevant once you go beyond the individual district level. Caucusing/alliances is done in every voting system everywhere because all legislatures are binary – yes/no – re legislation. Eliminating third parties is NOT a feature anywhere bigger than tiny island countries.

              Here’s the largest national legislatures with FPTP districts and # of parties in them and in any lower level legislatures that may ally at natl level:
              UK – 650 districts and 10 parties in natl leg.
              Ethiopia – 546 districts and 10 parties in natl leg
              India – 545 districts and 40 parties in natl leg
              US – 435 districts with same 2 parties at all levels
              Nigeria – 360 districts w 2 ‘alliance’ parties in natl leg and 20+ in lower legs
              Canada – 338 districts and 5-6 parties in natl leg
              Bangladesh – 300 districts and 9-12 parties in natl leg

              These are ALL systems where ‘Duverger’s Law’ would apply in full force at the district level. And large/diverse enough to expect multiple interests/perspectives/representation needs to pop up. Not ONE of them is remotely like us in suppressing all but two at all levels. Nigeria may look like ours at the national level but it isn’t. Rather, it has a long history of military coups – that is still a threat (the first civilian ‘transition’ from one Prez to another was 2015) – and the military doesn’t understand alliances/coalitions so the parties do that BEFORE the national elections rather than ‘in legislative session’.

              You’re simply spouting nonsense re what Duverger’s Law actually is and what it results in. Our system is NOT an outcome of that. It is an outcome of CORRUPTION by the two parties which have taken over the government/constitution itself which are now in this country ‘smaller’ than the parties rather than, as everywhere else, larger than the party system.

              1. “UK – 650 districts and 10 parties in natl leg.
                Ethiopia – 546 districts and 10 parties in natl leg
                India – 545 districts and 40 parties in natl leg
                US – 435 districts with same 2 parties at all levels
                Nigeria – 360 districts w 2 ‘alliance’ parties in natl leg and 20+ in lower legs
                Canada – 338 districts and 5-6 parties in natl leg
                Bangladesh – 300 districts and 9-12 parties in natl leg”

                Your link fell off.

                Regardless, you’re listing countries where two parties dominate the legislature–in spite of there being more than two parties. Are you really claiming that Duverger’s Law doesn’t apply to the UK because they have more than two parties?

                “Duverger did not regard this principle as absolute, suggesting instead that plurality would act to delay the emergence of new political forces and would accelerate the elimination of weakening ones,[10] whereas proportional representation would have the opposite effect.”

                https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duverger's_law#Counterexamples

                Again, you don’t seem to be familiar with the most basic aspects of Duverger’s Law, much less understand its implications. This is starting to resemble flat earth society stuff.

                1. Here’s the link
                  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_electoral_systems_by_country

                  Are you really claiming that Duverger’s Law doesn’t apply to the UK because they have more than two parties?

                  It applies to DISTRICTS. Not entire countries.

                  And ALL legislatures everywhere under every voting system turn into two de facto parties – ‘government’ and ‘opposition’ – because legislation is either yes/no. It either wins or it doesn’t which can look like FPTP elections at the district level. But is not FPTP because FPTP is about elections not legislation. Which renders any ‘insight’ re that nonsense. It has no more to do with Duverger’s Law than it does with eating spinach.

                  1. “And ALL legislatures everywhere under every voting system turn into two de facto parties – ‘government’ and ‘opposition’ – because legislation is either yes/no.”

                    You mean except for countries with single member districts, right?

                    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bundestag

                    1. “You mean except for countries with[out] single member districts, right?”

                      Fixed!

                    2. Notice in the Bundestag, the Greens, the libertarian party, the socialist party, and Alternative for Germany (a right-wing anti-immigrant party) are all together in the opposition. Do you imagine the Greens and Alternative for Germany are united because they’re both in opposition? I doubt they see policy the same way on any issue–not in opposition to Merkel on immigration and probably not on any other issue either.

                    3. Do you imagine the Greens and Alternative for Germany are united because they’re both in opposition?

                      Do you imagine that Sinn Fein and the Ulster Unionists are united because they’re both in opposition in the UK?

                    4. And yes – ‘opposition’ in every country – except of course the US – is composed of a bunch of very different perspectives on everything.

                      The US is – let me repeat – UNIQUE in only having TWO political parties for citizens to express meaningful voice. And it has nothing to do with fucking Duverger.

                    5. You don’t seem to get it.

                      In a proportional representation system like Germany’s, their equivalent of the Democrats and their equivalent of the Republicans are on the same side in terms of the governing coalition–but they agree on very little except their opposition to Alternative for Germany. Meanwhile, the “opposition” parties may not be in control of the government, but they are not a coalition who’ve agreed to cooperate on anything–not even, necessarily, the policies of the coalition that controls the Bundestag.

                      The Social Democrats are as likely to cooperate with the “The Left” and the Greens as they are to cooperate with Merkel’s Christian Democrats.

                      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bundestag#Distribution_of_seats_in_the_Bundestag

                      Alternative for Germany won 94 seats in the Bundestag in the last election–where they had none before–and they aren’t in any kind of coalition with the “opposition” Greens whatsoever.

                      The facts completely destroy your baseless claim:

                      “ALL legislatures everywhere under every voting system turn into two de facto parties – ‘government’ and ‘opposition’ – because legislation is either yes/no.”

                      —-JFree

                      It is not only possible to demonstrate that this claim is false. It has also been demonstrated to be false.

                      It’s a refuted claim.

                      It is a false claim. It is an ex-parrot.

                      Contrast this to a system with single member districts, where reverting to the mean really does mean that two parties will subsume smaller parties–like the Republicans did to the Ross Perot’s Reform party and like the Republicans did to the Tea Party. In systems with single member districts, the system reverts to a mean of two parties over time. That is not the norm in systems that do not feature single member districts but use proportional representation instead–regardless of the size of the districts in either system.

                      You are wrong.

    2. “That Amash was so bush-league that he didn’t know anything about Duverger’s law”

      Another thing that Amash has in common with the NeoClowns – Muh Moral Preening Uber Alles.

      Once Trump wrested the top of the GOP from the Globalists, Amash’s political hopes were dashed with the NeoClowns. They lost. They’re over.

      Bretton Woods Globalist Trade was a bribe the US gave other countries to support us in the fight against the Soviets. Republicans have already moved back to an AmericaFirst trade policy. The Dems are moving in that direction.

  14. The upward bounds on Justin Amash’s personal influence on federal policy can be calculated as follows:

    (1/435)*(1/2)*(1/3) = about one tenth of one percent.

    That’s how close the vote needs to be for his vote as an independent to make a policy that there wouldn’t be otherwise. It’s calculated by taking his position as one of 435 voters in the House of Representatives, which is one-half of one of the three branches of the federal government.

    As a member of the Freedom Caucus, the upward bounds of Amash’s influence were as follows:

    (36/435)*(1/2)*(1/3) = 1.4% of the federal government.

    As a member of the Republican party, Amash’s influence had the following upward boundary:

    (198/435)*(1/2)*(1/3) + (53/100)*(1/2)*(1/3) + (1/1)*(1/3)+(5/9)*(1/3) = 68.2% of the highest levels of federal government.

    That’s 198 out 435 Representatives + 53/100 Senators + 1/1 President + 5/9 Supreme Court Justices–each making up 1/3 of the policy making apparatus of the federal government.

    That was the influence Amash should have been playing for. Instead, come 2020, 2022, or 2024, the upward boundary of his influence is most likely to be zero. The only person who should be angrier at Amash for squandering his opportunity to influence policy than libertarians, freedom loving Republicans, and the constituents in his district is Justin Amash.

    1. And you’re completely wrong about his influence by that math. Critters are not ‘independent’ in their votes on damn near anything. They are party hacks and if they aren’t party hacks they will soon be redistricted out of their district or face a primary challenge within their party.

      So formally becoming an ‘independent’ – and assuming each vote of his is now an independent event – his ‘personal influence’ is now the (1/margin of difference in the ‘normal’ House vote) not (1/435)

      1. “his ‘personal influence’ is now the (1/margin of difference in the ‘normal’ House vote)”

        This is scary. Under the right circumstances, his personal influence could be infinity.

        1. As was Jim Jeffords when he switched from R to D and turned the Senate from R to D control and thus changed every committee chair until the next election.

      2. So he’s still an irrelevant fraud

      3. “And you’re completely wrong about his influence by that math. Critters are not ‘independent’ in their votes on damn near anything. They are party hacks and if they aren’t party hacks they will soon be redistricted out of their district or face a primary challenge within their party.”

        What are you saying here?

        Justin Amash decided to desert his party and the opportunity the opportunity to influence policy through the cooperation of other politicians through party. His influence could have risen in the party over time. His influence could have drawn more libertarians to support the Republican party–and made the Republican party more responsive to the concerns of libertarians. Instead, he decided to NOT be a party “hack”–so his influence is zero. Justin Amash is now a nobody–because he deserted his party.

        At most, his power is one-tenth of one percent, and because he is no longer a Republican, his influence will eventually fall to zero percent. Calling Republicans party hacks won’t change the fact that by committing political suicide, Justin Amash has destroyed his own potential for influencing public policy. His constituents should be especially upset. If he wins reelection, their concerns will essentially go unrepresented in Congress.

        1. His influence could have risen in the party over time.

          Horseshit. Because we froze the House a century ago (and not because actual population is dropping), Michigan will lose a seat this next census. Which means some incumbent will lose their district – and that is ALWAYS going to be the person who is most outside the ‘norm’ of their party. The one who you think is going to ‘influence’ the party over time. That ain’t how ‘being inside the tent’ works.

          One of the major purposes of ‘freezing the House’ was precisely to eliminate mavericks and to domesticate them to party – in a legislature that was small enough for party to control to strangulation and for big money to be able to buy cheaply.

          For 2020, the same thing is gonna likely happen in Minnesota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, WV, Alabama, and Rhode Island. Unless someone decides to see the writing on the wall and retire – those states will lose a maverick and become far more ‘party loyal’ by the 2022 election.

          THAT was the fate that Amash gave up. Now, if he loses – the Michigander who suffers that fate is instead gonna be some total party hack. Good for Amash.

          1. You’re looking for a novel explanation for something that simply boils down to reversion to the mean.

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Regression_toward_the_mean

            In a system where batters swing bats at balls that are being pitched to them in various ways, no one bats over .500 over the course of an entire season. The last person to bat over .400 over the course of an entire season was Ted Williams in 1941. It doesn’t matter if the commissioner of baseball tweaks a rule or limits the number of players. If you’re batting .500 halfway through the season, your batting average will almost certainly drop over the rest of the season–because of reversion to the mean. The mean is somewhere around .265, and it’s hovered around there since 1871.

            Since 1871, professional baseball players and pitchers have tried all sorts of different techniques, styles, training routines, etc. in an eternal struggle to either lower batting averages from the pitchers’ perspective or increase batting averages from the batters’ perspective. 150 years later, and batting averages are still more or less where they were 150 years ago.

            In American history, Democrats and Republicans have tried all sorts of different strategies, coalitions, issues, etc. to increase their support at the expense of their opponents. Duverger’s Law shows us that the outcome of elections will revert to the mean of being either Democrat or Republican over time–for the same reason a player batting .500 at the All-Star Break means his batting average will almost certainly be worse in the second half of the season than it was in the first.

            Duverger’s Law shows us that It is highly unlikely that any third party will ever displace the two dominant parties in a district so long as we have single member districts. However, that doesn’t need to matter–so long as outsiders can come in and dominate one of the two major parties. And there is no reason why smart outsiders can’t come to dominate one of the two major parties. If there is a good reason why the Republican party can’t become the party of Hayek and Rothbard, it’s probably because foolish politicians like Justin Amash refuse to work within the party system.

            Once you understand how we can win the game, there isn’t anything principled about refusing to play. In fact, there may not be anything more fundamentally unprincipled than playing the game and refusing to win. If they’re not going to “unfreeze” whatever, then I’m just going to keep striking out at every bat on purpose. Maybe if my team piles up enough losses, they’ll change the game to the way I like it instead? That isn’t principled. That’s childish and stupid–especially when the game is perfectly winnable as is and the only reason you didn’t win your seat is because you chose to commit political suicide.

            1. FFS. This has nothing to do reversion to the mean.

              Duverger’s Law shows us that It is highly unlikely that any third party will ever displace the two dominant parties in a district so long as we have single member districts.

              No that is not what Duverger’s Law shows AT ALL. This is just yet more technogeegawstupidity that is pervasive in the US. Oooh – we need proprep. Oooh – we need a really complicated voting system. Oohooh we need this other thing that won’t happen until pigs fly. Ooh ooh – we’re being repressed by the laws of nature/math.

              Horseshit. Half of our problem disappears once we expand the size of the legislature and become something slightly less corruptible than the least representative legislature on Earth. The other half disappears once we take to heart the basic classical liberal political notions that we were founded on – abandoned for ourselves – pressed on the rest of the world – and now find ourselves the retarded arrogant corrupt hypocrite who lectures everyone else on what we ourselves no longer do.

              Neither of those can be done ‘inside the tents’. They are the fucking problem not the road to the solution. Both however can be accomplished without the need to get rid of the DeRp tents first – by applying pressure from OUTSIDE the tent inwards. Your desire to ‘play the game’ is NOTHING more than the desire to play games and ignore the problem. You have become a useful idiot for the R’s.

              1. “No that is not what Duverger’s Law shows AT ALL. This is just yet more technogeegawstupidity that is pervasive in the US. Oooh – we need proprep. Oooh – we need a really complicated voting system. Oohooh we need this other thing that won’t happen until pigs fly. Ooh ooh – we’re being repressed by the laws of nature/math.”

                Do you have any data to support your position at all?

                1. Do you have any data to support your position at all?

                  Yes. Every other country on Earth that’s bigger than a tiny island. That is empirical data. Indeed, it is the entire universe of known empirical data. The US is the ONLY significant ‘democracy’ – and by significant I mean bigger than a tiny fucking island (Malta and Jamaica are the two examples I know) – that restricts effective political participation to two parties.

                  1. “The US is the ONLY significant ‘democracy’ – and by significant I mean bigger than a tiny fucking island (Malta and Jamaica are the two examples I know) – that restricts effective political participation to two parties.”

                    This is Flat-Earth Society level denialism.

                    1. Name ONE then

                    2. Here’s another example of proportional representation:

                      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Australian_Senate

                      There are 76 senators spread among 10 different parties.

                      The governing coalition is made up of four different parties.

                      The opposition is made up of one party–Labor.

                      And then there are five parties that are neither in the governing coalition nor caucusing with the opposition, and those five parties can make up the difference between the governing coalition and Labor.

                    3. An excellent example of single member districts is what we see in the House of Commons in the UK.

                      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/House_of_Commons_of_the_United_Kingdom

                      Not only is the government dominated by two parties, each district is generally only competitive with two parties–even if the second party is a different party than it is elsewhere in the UK.

                      In Scotland, for instance, the Scottish National Party dominates–rather than Labour. Doesn’t really matter, because Labour doesn’t generally contest Scottish National Party MPs in Scotland, and the Scottish National Party caucuses with Labour in Parliament anyway. The Democratic Unionist Party (representing unionists in Northern Ireland), caucuses with Labour. The only third party that doesn’t caucus with the opposition is Siin Fein–the political arm of the IRA–which doesn’t want to be part of the UK at all.

                      Pushing most everyone to join one side or the other, that’s the force of single member districts at work. To whatever extent new issues develop outside the two biggest parties, they’re eventually absorbed into one of the two major parties–which is what happened with Brexit.

                      For the most part, even with more than two parties, those third parties are one of the two dominant parties in their local district. The Scottish Nationalists stand in for Labour in the districts of Scotland, the Unionists stand in for Labour in the Protestant districts of Northern Ireland, and the Welsh independence party stands in for Labour in the districts of Wales. Coming in second in those districts doesn’t mean anything, and a third party coming third means even less. It’s a two party system.

              2. “Horseshit. Half of our problem disappears once we expand the size of the legislature and become something slightly less corruptible than the least representative legislature on Earth.”

                I see no reason to believe that Duverger’s law wouldn’t dominate single districts if only the districts were smaller and there were more of them.

                Meanwhile, parties have been changing on the issues along with public opinion–despite Duverger’s law–for as long as there have been single member districts.

                This is senseless flailing.

              3. Shorter jfree: “Temper tantrums are awesome because other people are poopyheads!”

            2. Oh c’mon.

              “I hate this job and don’t believe in what we are doing here. I am leaving and starting my own company. It will probably fail but that is what I am doing.”

              “ No you should stay and reform the company from within”

              “ goodbye”

              Baseball is just hitting, running, catching, and throwing a 5oz ball with agreed upon rules. There are no ethical or moral principles involved. There is no ambiguity. Don’t overthink it.

              Yogi Berra said this “ When you come to a fork in the road, take it.”

              1. Were you attempting to say something here?

              2. “I hate this job and don’t believe in what we are doing here. I am leaving and starting my own company. It will probably fail but that is what I am doing.”

                In this context, that would involve leaving the country. Justin Amash isn’t leaving the country. He’s just hamstringing libertarian influence in the Republican party, and the rest of us have to live under the less libertarian government he’s leaving behind.

                P.S. Now I’m not supposed to complain about the choices of politicians?

                “Baseball is just hitting, running, catching, and throwing a 5oz ball with agreed upon rules. There are no ethical or moral principles involved. There is no ambiguity. Don’t overthink it.”

                Reverting towards the mean is the same–and doesn’t depend on ethical principles in either case. Justin Amash has about as much of a chance of holding his seat for more than a few election cycles in a single member district system as an MLB player has of batting .500–and for the same reasons. The mean in profession baseball is batting about .265. The mean in single member districts is either Democrat or Republic an–regardless of any moral components involved, you only get one winner per district. Understanding that fact isn’t overthinking it. Ignoring reality is way under thinking it–and leads to losses like the one Justin Amash is suffering. You know why he’s still running to keep his seat as an independent? Because it’s the best he can do.

                He fucked up the best thing he had going because he fucked up. Using knowledge to avoid fuck ups isn’t overthinking.

              3. No one’s about to bat .500 over the course of an entire season. Most of those who hit over .400 did so in the 19th century. The last person to do it did so in 1941.

                https://www.baseball-reference.com/leaders/batting_avg_season.shtml

                Pointing out that it should be theoretically possible to bat 1.000 over the course of a season is absurd, and anyone who thinks someone with an astronomical batting average like that at the All-Star Break won’t revert to the mean is irrational.

                . . . and pointing out that baseball is an emotional game doesn’t change anything about that fact.

                Duverger’s Law is all about reverting to mean–and why that mean is different in systems with single member districts than it is in proportional systems. Libertarians should be as familiar with these facts as they are with concepts like comparative advantage, creative destruction, and the tragedy of the commons. We’re always mystified when we see progressives who are surprised when ObamaCare of Venezuela turns out exactly as libertarian capitalists said it would. How could they be so poorly educated.

                Duverger’s Law is like that. Justin Amash not realizing that his political career was effectively over without the Republican party and why is like a progressives at the New York Times being surprised when Chavez nationalizing food distribution and instituting price controls ends up starving the people of Venezuela.

    2. Whistling in the dark with fake math. Libertarian votes more than covered the gap between fascist and socialist votes in 2016. Republicans licked the blacking off of communist boots in 1913 and prohibitionist boots from 1868 till 1932. Yet those worthies hardly ever got over 2% of the vote. Yet men with guns shot thousands and caused a Great Depression to enforce the income tax and prohibition amendments.

      1. “Whistling in the dark with fake math. Libertarian votes more than covered the gap between fascist and socialist votes in 2016.”

        The only power libertarians have in Washington is because some Republicans have libertarian sympathies in the Senate, and the Republicans control the Senate. If libertarians gain any influence in the House after 2020, it will only be because some House members have libertarian sympathies and the Republicans take control of the House.

        These facts remain true regardless of whether we like them.

        Here’s another fact, the things you we say to other people are far more influential on public policy over the long term than the Freedom Caucus. If you’re talking about influencing policy now, however, you’re limited to libertarian influence on the Republican party–whether you like it or not. Even LP candidates polling more than the difference between the Democrat and the Republican candidate is only an observation meant to influence Republican candidates to adopt libertarian positions in order to beat the Democrats.

      2. “Fake math”?!

        LOL

        Do it yourself. The upper bounds of a politicians’ direct influence at the national level are limited by the numbers I calculated above. There isn’t anything fake about that.

  15. Good riddance, douchebag.

  16. Unfortunately, I think it’s more likely that Amash running as an Independent will split the Republican vote and allow a left-wing Democrat to take the seat. The last thing we need is more leftists in Congress.

    1. Wrong. The last thing we need is more Christian National Socialism. The only way superstitious looters learn is by defenestration. Whopping them upside the wallet with libertarian spoiler votes for 46 years is undoing the mischief done by whopping them upside the wallet with communist spoiler votes in 1892, 1896, 1900, 1904, 1908, 1912…

  17. Evolution in action is not always a pretty thing. But to the extent that girl-bullying mystics can cross-dress as fiscal grokkers of the Laffer curve and recite some Von Mises (but no Rand and little Friedman)–and still fool anyone–they work to the detriment of the Libertarian Party. They are tarbrushes-by-association the socialist adversariat is thrilled to point to the like and snicker “see? see?… libertarian” with a knowing eye-roll. Here’s hoping the Tea Party picks him up on the street corner.

  18. Wrong. The last thing we need is more Christian National Socialism. The only way superstitious looters learn is by defenestration. Whopping them upside the wallet with libertarian spoiler votes for 46 years is undoing the mischief done by whopping them upside the wallet with communist spoiler votes in 1892, 1896, 1900, 1904, 1908, 1912…

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  20. Since when is government a mandatory lifetime job. Really it was never intended that way.

    He is a betrayer leaving his responsibility to remain a Republican and work within a party he no longer believes in. No No No he must endure something he finds to be hypocritical for the good of all.

    I think he is flipping off the establishment. I like that.

    —————-

    Joanna: You know what, Stan, if you want me to wear 37 pieces of flair, like your pretty boy over there, Brian, why don’t you just make the minimum 37 pieces of flair?
    Stan, Chotchkie’s Manager : Well, I thought I remembered you saying that you wanted to express yourself.
    Joanna : Yeah. You know what, yeah, I do. I do want to express myself, okay. And I don’t need 37 pieces of flair to do it.
    [flips off Stan]

    Someone dares to go another path and leave the congregation. Shocking. Tar and feather the apostate.

    1. Hilarious you think Amash – the man who spent 10 years bitching and moaning about government spying while doing nothing to stop it – is quitting because he finds someone else hypocritical.
      He’s quitting because he a Global Socialist hack who has nothing to say other than “Orange Man bad!” and who now supports overruling the votes of his constituents through the use of State secret police and fellow Global Socialist apparatchiks.
      Get the fuck outta here with that shit

    2. “I think he is flipping off the establishment. I like that.”

      By wholly embracing their narrative.
      You embarrass yourself

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  22. He joined this garbage impeachment nonsense. Gave up his seat on his committee and relegated himself to be of no consequence. Not sure what principles he thinks he was standing upon unless political stupidity is one of them.

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