Justin Amash

How Justin Amash's Presidential Campaign Changes the 2020 Election

The Michigan congressman's run for the White House will change the Libertarian Party and national politics.


Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan has announced his campaign for the Libertarian Party's presidential nomination, which will be decided at the L.P.'s convention in May. Originally elected as a Republican in 2010, Amash left the GOP last July and became an independent. By dint of his new party affiliation, he has also become the first Libertarian member of Congress.

On today's podcast, Nick Gillespie talks with his Reason colleagues Matt Welch, who interviewed Amash just hours after his announcement, and Brian Doherty, who talked with his L.P. rivals shortly after the news of Amash's campaign became public. They discuss Amash's platform, his likely reception among L.P. activists, and what sort of impact the congressman's presence is likely to have on the 2020 presidential race. They also each suggest a possible campaign song for the 40-year-old Grand Rapids native.

Audio production by Ian Keyser.

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  1. I’m going to go with, not at all.

    1. I heard the same thing about Gary Johnson and uh, Gary Johnson, and of course Bob Barr, who was also a prior Republican Congressman, just like Justin Amash, whose combined campaigns totaled 5% [if you round up]

      This is the LP’s big problem. Every time is always the magic moment and every guy is the perfect guy to finally launch the 50 year old political party. Just put a new date on the old article and fill in the new name. If you only wish upon a star, every dream comes true.

      1. Precisely.

        The big problem is that, for the most part, your average voter has no idea what policies the Libertarian Party stands for other than allowing people to smoke weed and that dudes fucking each other in the ass is okay, as long as they do it in their bedroom.

        The LP has a massive problem with messaging because their candidates always come like they are high during interviews and actively considering fucking some dude in the ass just to prove their political bona fides.

        I don’t think the LP can ever gain any serious traction because taking the most diametrically opposed positions from Team Blue and Team Red and smashing them into one body isn’t bringing anybody on board.

        “Infinite immigrants, no welfare state” alone probably loses 90% of the electorate on the spot.

        1. Uhh, it’s a lot more basic than that.

          Put together a party of radically different viewpoints on radical individualism. You know, then collectivize them.

          The phrase ‘herding cats’ springs immediately to mind.

          1. This.

            The libertarian party attracts its fair share of freakazoids. And they can’t hide them like the Republicans and can’t mainstream them like the Democrats.

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    2. What? It makes it way sadder.

    3. Literally came here after reading the headline to make this comment.

      Glad to see you did not disappoint with first post.

  2. In theory. That’s how. In actual fact, it doesn’t.

  3. Lol..

    Joe Walsh

    Any vote for @justinamash is a vote for Donald Trump. Justin knows that. If he runs, he knows he’d be helping Trump. Justin knows Trump is a unique threat to America. If Justin runs, he’s putting his own interest before the country’s interests. If he runs, shame on him.

    George Conway, Noble Committee Chair
    I admired how @justinamash stood up for the rule of law in Trump’s impeachment. And needless to say, my views align more closely with Amash’s than Biden’s.

    But the only real effect Amash could have in this campaign is to enhance Trump’s chances.

    This is a terrible idea.


    Amash cant even win over never trumpers.

    1. “Amash cant even win over never trumpers.”

      So what? He was acting on pure principle, without regard to the political…[giggle], sorry, couldn’t keep a straight face.

      1. You have to be really fucking stupid to think he was acting on pure principle.

        Supporting civil violations because you hate the president is a pure principle?

        Sadly the Amash fan club here actually does believe it.

        And almost got me to post before reading the full comment so kudos.

        1. I know he’s doing politician ego games, but in a world where you can rank your preferences at the ballot box, I might vote for him. That is, LP candidate first choice, Trump #2. Just so long as I have the chance to help defeat the Dems.

          1. (All bets are off if they nominate the whale-fucker)

            1. “(All bets are off if they nominate the whale-fucker)”

              Oh come on. Haven’t we all done that once or twice?

              1. How about you speak for yourself?

              2. Split your lungs with blood and thunder When you see the white whale…

  4. These tweets are fucking hilarious.

  5. Hope he is chosen by the Libertarian Party, and look forward to voting for him.

    Hope he gets included in the debates, so we can see an articulate, young somewhat libertarian against two dinosaur-old, inarticulate representatives of the status quo.

    1. Also, really hoping Amash doesn’t have some #metoo skeleton in his closet, too.

      1. Whether he actually does or not, he soon will.

        1. Well, on the bright side, when he is accused, the press have now switched over to not automatically assuming the accusations are true. At least their hypocrisy is on the correct setting now.

          1. You underestimate the media’s complete lack of shame and dishonesty.

            1. I think you should clarify – (lack of shame) AND (dishonesty),
              not lack of ((shame) and (dishonesty))

              1. No I think everyone understood.

                1. To be fair, it was one part being silly, and another part being picky for the sake of being picky.

            2. Well, OK, at least they lost any credibility on the subject.

          2. That is only for people with Ds after their name. If you think they ca not hold that level of cognitive dissonance to disregard Biden’s accuser and try to destroy anyone to the Right faced with a similar accusation, then you have not been paying attention

            1. The (D) works like magical anti-rape-accusation insurance.
              Every politician should wear one.

              The (R) on the other hand tells people you’re Literally Hitler, and the (L) renders you invisible.

        2. And the LP has a little problem of timing – every time they get a credible candidate, its during an ‘all-or-nothing’ election where you have to vote for one major candidate because he’s not the massive turd the other candidate is.

          I’d vote for Amash – even though I thought his anti-Trump stance was stupid – but I really don’t want Biden’s Vice President in office more.

          1. I know. Imagine Kristin Fucking Gillanbrand (shudder) or Hogatha Abrams (XXL shudder). Trump should win MT easily so I’ll probably keep my never vote for a D or R (since the peanut farmer) and go Amash. Though I will vote for the R over the Guvnah that lusts for the White House Bullock.

  6. I bet he pulls more votes than Johnson/Weld. #justsayin

    1. Huh-huh, you said pulls Johnson, huh-huh, huh.

  7. I’m willing to vote for him or Hornberger. But goddamn if the media and dem shills in every blog and comment section aren’t trying to get me to vote for Trump instead.

    1. At one time I would’ve voted for him just to spite the two party system. But now one party has gone far left batshit insane with collectivist tendencies and a whole host of the worst prog nonsense you can think up. I seriously don’t want to repeat the 20th century again. It was a horrifying mess of totalitarianism. You may not like Trump or republicans, but they are less crazy than their opposition.

  8. The Libertarian Party nomination run is where a non authoritarian GOP political career goes when gives up on living.

    1. Or an authoritarian one, in the case of Gary “Nazi Cakes” Johnson.

      1. What is morei important? Free speech or being an alphabet ally?

  9. >>what sort of impact the congressman’s presence is likely to have on the 2020 presidential race

    you guys are gonna be even worse about your crush?

    1. Johnson/Weld but 10 times more sycophancy.

      1. sometimes it’s Tiger Beat around here lol

  10. I maintain that Amash’s campaign is likely to hurt Joe Biden more than Donald Trump.

    The people who vote for Amash are mostly people who would have voted for the Libertarian candidate anyway, people who wouldn’t have voted at all if Amash weren’t on the ballot, and anti-Trump people.

    That latter group, the anti-Trump people, are a crucial demographic for Biden. If Amash draws anti-Trump people away from Biden, that helps reelect Trump. That why I say that the more successful Amash is as the Libertarian candidate, the more likely Trump is to be reelected.

    1. That’s how I see it. Typically the LP draws a slice of people who would vote Republican but for an issue or two. It makes them a spoiler in the lesser of two evils and gives that benefit to the greater evil. In this instance that might flip because anti-Trump is the cornerstone of Amash’s campaign. He wouldn’t have switched parties if not for his unhinged break from the party (not to say there aren’t other valid reasons to do so.) He’ll get a slice of the neverTrump vote, Libertarians, and some Democrats who see how shitty Biden is and the party has been. Not looking good for Biden

    2. I voted for Johnson, but I’m voting for Trump in 2020. IMHO Trump is the most libertarian candidate in the last 60 years, even more so than Reagan, though his willingness to let Congress spend all they want works against that thought, unless you believe Trump sees cutting spending as a battle he can’t win with big spenders dominating in Congress and even in the GOP. Trump has deregulated via EO more than any administration in our lifetime, with Congress working against him. But he has that power because Congressmen believed giving the president the ability to write the laws via administrative bureaucracies would lead to the more bureaucracy that they want, and for which they could then blame on the executive branch.

      IMHO, Amish (whom I like) sought attention by siding with the MSM against Trump, and as a result, he’ll mostly be pulling votes from Biden who is incoherent and seems to be want the deep state wants: someone they believe they can control, and use to stop the Durham investigations and likely prosecutions of deep state conspirators. They’ll have him doing things they’d impeach Trump for, calling it obstruction of justice. And can you convict someone of doing something they don’t realize they’re doing because they’ve lost their mind?

      1. IMHO Trump is the most libertarian candidate in the last 60 years, even more so than Reagan
        Then you’d be flat fucking wrong. Just because Trump occasionally does something right does not make him a goddamn libertarian.

        Amash is a good example of a person who is professionally, consistently libertarian. Ron Paul is another. Most pols are not even remotely libertarian. Just because one day your craven interests align with libertarian goals doesn’t give you a fucking shred of libertarian cred.

  11. The Michigan congressman’s run for the White House will change the Libertarian Party and national politics.</blockquote.


    Wait? You're serious?


    And Covid will change how we interact from now on

    And Trump will drain the swamp

    And autonomous cars means the death of car ownership

    1. No one who is voting for Trump is going to switch to Amash because MAGA.

      No one who is voting for Biden is going to switch to Amash because Orange Man Bad.

  12. I really expected to follow the link and see “IT DOESN’T!” in moon landing/Victory in Europe-size font. What a let down…

  13. So this is the type of crap Amash silent tly supported by agreeing with Mueller…

    “new internal FBI documents unsealed Wednesday show that top bureau officials discussed their motivations for interviewing then-national security adviser Michael Flynn in the White House in January 2017 — and openly indicated that their “goal” was “to get him to lie, so we can prosecute him or get him fired.””


    Literally quiet supporting the effort to use government power to harm people for political reasons.

    1. It was Amash’s dishonesty about the content of the Meuller report that lost me.

      1. Exactly. If he was being principled then I might disagree but still respect him. He actively lied to support deep state collusion just because he doesn’t like Trump. One of the biggest things that attracted me to libertarianism is the neutral application of logic. Amash, Reason, and the LP don’t seem to do so anymore because they are overcome by hatred of Republicans and Trump.

        1. Every political movement has to hone its base first then bring in converts…until the LP purges the left cosmo woke libertarian left it is going nowhere…the Reason/Sawark types are fifth columnists like the Troyksyites who infected the GOP. Purge baby purge…

  14. Oh fuck. I may have to register to vote. Didn’t bother last time I moved. Nah. I’ll just see another election where the outcome is the inverse of my ballot. No point. No point whatsoever. I’ll just read about it on Wednesday.

    1. Don’t bother. We don’t need you.

  15. Theme song: Welcome 2 the Party — Kid Rock

  16. My vote doesn’t count so most likely I’ll be voting for Amash if it means I’d be able to sleep at night.

    Amash for Liberation 2020!

  17. I was so disappointed with the mealy mouthed responses Gary Johnson made about being Libertarian last time — especially his failure to lambast Hillary Clinton — that I will have trouble voting Libertarian for a long, long, long time. Besides, the left came totally unhinged when Trump was elected, and I want to watch them do more of their insane stuff (impeachment, colluding with the Russian/Ukrainians, and coronavirus sequestering) … I’m voting for Trump.

    1. This is tempting, more comic relief in my dotage.

  18. Will it matter who you voted for when trumpski declares the New Fascist Republic?

    Probably not

    considering the amount of support trumpski has in so called libertarian circles, this joke of a candidate will mean nothing

    There are 3 Libertarians, the rest are a bunch of ‘my taxes are too high’ or ‘you can’t make me mow my lawn’ whiners

  19. Not sure he will siphen off 1 vote. When he voted for impeachment, he showed himself as a political oppurtunist. This guy’s 2020 will make the Gary Johnson campaign look like it had a significant effect on the 2016 election.

  20. I hope reason publishes stuff on Amash every day. It makes the Trumpkins seethe and this pleases me; it makes it easy to tell where those allegiances lie.

  21. To paraphrase Ron Swason…..”it doesn’t”

    Justin seems like a more principled person than 99% of the pols in Congress but there are too many folks who depend on either party for enrichment (govt unions, non profits, regulated industry hacks on the demand side, realtors , home builders, military industrial on the rep side). You might get 15% of the population to vote for someone who really wants to return to liberty and small govt…sorry but the people were bought off by big govt decades ago..give me my stuff MF’er..I want my SS check, free healthcare, obama iPhone, and so on…better off voting for the mensheviks (GOP) then the Bolsheviks (Dems)

    1. If the fix is already in, why not cast your worthless vote with someone who is actually principled.

      1. Pro-tip– principled people don’t shit in the faces of the people who elected them.

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