Justin Amash

Should Justin Amash Run for President?

The Reason Roundtable podcast delivers a mixed verdict.


Since Rep. Justin Amash (I–Mich.) announced Wednesday that he has been "carefully consider[ing] a presidential run," presumably with the Libertarian Party, there have been three bits of interesting news:

1) An April 14-16 Morning Consult national poll of 1,992 registered voters, the first of its kind in seven months, had the libertarian congressman at just 1 percent, compared to Joe Biden's 46 and President Donald Trump's 42 (5 percent said "someone else" and 6 percent said they would not vote). Removing Amash's name from the options did not change the point-spread between the two leading candidates.

2) First-quarter fundraising numbers came in from Amash's 3rd Congressional District in Michigan, and—unsurprisingly, given his announcement that he stopped campaigning actively in mid-February while pondering his presidential future—the independent incumbent finished in fourth place for January-March numbers, with $97,000, after having led the field the previous quarter. Republican supermarket magnate Peter Meijer, who this week won the endorsement of the influential former Amash backers in the DeVos family, raised $353,000, including a $150,000 loan to himself; state Rep. Lynn Afendoulis (R–Grand Rapids) raised $190,000, and Democrat Hillary Scholten raised $152,000. Amash still has a slight lead in cash on hand, with $645,000, compared to $634,000 for Meijer, $259,000 for Scholten, and $248,000 for Afendoulis.

3) As mentioned in this morning's Reason Roundup, the coronavirus is hammering crucial signature-gathering exercises for third parties, potentially preventing the Libertarian Party from reaching its previously expected goal of being on the ballot in all 50 states.

So at this late date, one month out from the party's scheduled (if physically uncertain) nominating convention, should Amash throw his hat into the ring? The reaction is mixed on the new Reason Roundtable podcast, featuring Nick Gillespie, Katherine Mangu-Ward, Peter Suderman and Matt Welch. The quartet also, as you would imagine, discusses the coronavirus response, particularly the reopening debate, protests thereof, and the never-ending bailout/stimulus/printer-go-BRRRRing.

Audio production by Ian Keyser and Regan Taylor.

Music Credit: 'Late Night Drive' by Nat Keefe & BeatMower.

Relevant links from the show:

"Justin Amash Has Been Actively Pondering a Libertarian Presidential Run for 2 Months, and Will Decide Soon," by Matt Welch

"Judge Jim Gray Thinks the Libertarian Party Needs Pragmatism, 'Stature' for 2020 Presidential Run," by Brian Doherty

"Justin Amash Outraises Democratic and Republican Opponents in Fourth Quarter," by Matt Welch

"Key Election Forecaster Switches Justin Amash's House Seat to 'Lean Republican' in 2020," by Matt Welch

"Candidates Vie to Represent the Libertarian Wing of the Libertarian Party," by Matt Welch

"Will Justin Amash Run for President as a Libertarian in 2020?" By Matt Welch

"Pushy Politicians Make Stay-at-Home Protests Necessary," by J.D. Tuccille

"Don't Get Fooled by Fake Photos of Coronavirus Lockdown Protests," by Elizabeth Nolan Brown

"Celebrities and the Media Shouldn't Sneer at Coronavirus Lockdown Protesters," by Robby Soave

"It Took Less Than 24 Hours for Trump To Undermine His New Plan for Reopening State Economies," by Eric Boehm

"Trump's Plan To Reopen the Economy Admits Governors Are in Charge, but We're Probably Months Away From Anything Resembling Normalcy," by Eric Boehm