Justin Amash Flirts with Opposing Trump in 2020: ‘There’s No Shortage of Possibilities’
Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI) continues to flirt with the idea of running as a third-party presidential challenger against Donald Trump in 2020, refusing to quash rumors about his possible defection and betrayal of the pro-Trump constituents in his Congressional district.
Amash received another gushing mainstream media profile in the Detroit News for joining with the Democrats to doggedly oppose the President on his ‘America First’ agenda.
“There’s no shortage of possibilities, and I just don’t want to rule things out. I think about them and make decisions according to what I think will make a difference,” Amash told reporters.
“And, you know, you also only run for things if you feel like there’s a good possibility of winning,” Amash added. “So you have to weigh all these factors.”
Once the co-founder of the House Freedom Caucus, Amash has become disenchanted by the patriotic group of Republican lawmakers. He now regularly skips their meetings because they support President Trump’s agenda while Amash does not.
If you think my job is to support the president one hundred percent, then you don’t understand what it means to be a representative in Congress. My job is to support the Constitution one hundred percent and to represent all the people of my district by protecting their rights.
— Justin Amash (@justinamash) February 28, 2019
With an unprecedented national emergency at the border, most Republican legislators have been focused on fixing the crisis. However, the open borders Palestinian American Congressman from Michigan has ignored the issue and focused more on grandstanding.
“There’s obviously a real sense in which I am the most independent Republican in Congress,” Amash said.
Amash was the only Republican to vote down a resolution opposing illegal immigrants being able to vote in US elections last month claiming that “non-citizens have voted locally since our founding.”
He previously voted against Kate’s Law, opposed the No Sanctuary for Criminals Act, and was the only Republican in Congress to co-sponsor a Pelosi initiative to stop the President from invoking emergency measures at the US southern border.
Examining Amash’s rhetoric shows that he harbors a tremendous amount of disdain for his own political party and doesn’t see the current war with the Democrats for the soul of America as something that is even worth fighting.
“That kind of perception of third-party candidates and independent candidates is a problem,” Amash said of the idea that third-party candidates cannot compete in elections.
“One of the reasons it’s persisted as a problem is we haven’t had strong candidates typically running third-party campaigns or independent campaigns. I really think if you have a strong candidate, that person can far exceed expectations,” he said.
Libertarian Party (LP) Chairman Nicholas Sarwark is willing to accept Amash with open arms.
“It’s definitely a path that seems like it’s open to him,” said Sarwark, who leads the Libertarian National Committee.
“There is excitement. There is an organized effort by people within the party to draft him, to encourage him to jump over and get into the race. I haven’t really seen that kind of heavy draft effort since probably people tried to get Ron Paul to run as a Libertarian again in ’08,” Sarwark added.
But considering the history of failed GOP wash-outs running as LP presidential contenders, including Bob Barr in 2008 and then Gary Johnson in 2012 and 2016, certain party members are getting sick of their political organization being used as a second-rate flop house for Republican refuse.
“I know from experience when you have someone who has been a Republican or Democratic elected official switch parties and try to seek our nomination, it’s no slam dunk,” said Bill Hall, who chairs the Libertarian Party of Michigan.
“They are going to have to convince those delegates at the national convention who are very independent-minded that they truly support libertarian principles,” Hall added.
Long-time LP member Bill Gelineau, who was the LP of Michigan’s gubernatorial candidate in 2018 and has challenged Amash in the past, feels that Amash’s bluster is little more than a gambit for attention.
“Justin has a pretty good sense of putting his finger in the air. He can talk about it, but I don’t think he’d do it, and he’d lose if he did. And that would destroy his brand,” Gelineau said. “I think it’s a big bluff.”
Not only would a third-party run destroy Amash’s brand, but it would also hurt the liberty remnant that remains fighting within the Republican Party. Amash’s colleagues who support Trump like Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) and Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) would be put between a rock and a hard place if he actually goes through with the self-serving move to oppose Trump in 2020.
“If you can get people to think about libertarianism as the philosophy of America — that it is just an appreciation for American principles of individualism and liberty and freedom — I think it’s very accessible to a lot of people,” Amash said.
If anyone is leading a libertarian renaissance in America, it is President Donald Trump by lowering taxes, reducing regulations, sealing the border, engaging with hostile countries, fixing trade imbalances, and improving the economy.
By interfering with this progress and playing spoiler against Trump in 2020, Amash may deliver the final death blow to a liberty movement that former Texas Congressman Ron Paul worked for decades to create.