OPINION: Justin Amash Should Run For President in 2024
Updated: Jul 10, 2020
During the impeachment investigation and subsequent trial of President Donald Trump, partisanship was 100 seconds to midnight. Red vs. Blue. Right versus Left. Tensions were high and true colors were revealed. For Rep. Justin Amash (I-MI), it was revealed that his is gold, the color of the Libertarian Party. Amash's stance on the impeachment drove him away from the Republican Party, and to become the House of Representative's only independent for roughly nine months, before officially joining the Libertarian Party this April.
Amash was welcomed with open arms, and quickly became one of the more prominent figures in the Libertarian Party. On May 16, many were disappointed to hear he would not seek the Libertarian presidential nomination for this year. Despite this, Amash received 1.67% of the primary votes on May 23, finishing 7th. Not bad for someone who isn't a declared candidate. Instead, Jo Jorgensen, a lecturer of psychology at Clemson University, was announced to be the nominee for the party later that day. The support for Amash is tangible and Amash has a bright future to represent the Libertarian Party and America as a whole.
Amash's support is likely to increase over the years. The benchmark from the previous election cycle is low: Gary Johnson and Bill Weld received 4,488,931 popular votes and zero electoral votes, per US Election Atlas. Former Illinois congressman Joe Walsh even predicted Amash's popularity could swing the votes from Biden and give Trump his reelection this year. Gary Johnson's numbers also increased nearly 400% from his 2012 total 1,275,971 popular votes, per 270toWin.
2016 had a record high in total voter turnout– 138 million people voted. Given the trend in population growth and current support, which only will increase, Amash could be the most successful third-party candidate since Ross Perot in 1992, where he won nearly 20,000,000 popular votes, with no electoral votes. Where Perot failed, Amash can succeed and secure electoral votes needed to be a threat during the 2024 election cycle.
Like all candidates, Amash isn't perfect. He was one of the four representatives to vote against HR 35: The Emmitt Till Antilynching Act. He claimed on Twitter the bill, "...has serious unintended consequences that puts everyone's rights at risk". He furthered this reasoning by claiming the bill is redundant and unnecessary as “[HR 35] criminalizes conspiracies to violate various federal criminal laws, including many that are unrelated to lynching. But it’s already illegal to conspire to commit any federal crime, so the acts this bill covers are already criminal".
However, given the current state of American politics, Rep. Amash represents a good middle ground for the moderate sides of both parties. Factions of the DNC are starting to promote a more socialist-inspired view of America, and the growing military spending and centrality of the military to the GOP is starting to alienate Republican non-interventionists. People will seek this middle ground which the Libertarian Party can provide for those who are moderate to liberal on domestic and social policies, and more conservative on fiscal policy.
This is where politicians like Amash come in. An already well-known figure in politics, who does not lean too far in either direction, could appear lucrative to some voters, especially if both the DNC and the GOP fails to produce moderate or appealing candidates.
Moreover, more people are abandoning the two party system and self-proclaimed independents are surging. From 2008 to 2018, the Libertarian Party reported a ninety-two percent increase in membership with the DNC and GOP losing eight and five percent of members, respectively. This trend will likely continue with the growing polarization and divide between the two major parties, and a growing Libertarian Party will prove incredibly helpful to Amash's campaign.
Ultimately, this next election cycle will carry the most weight on whether or not Amash has a tangible chance at receiving an electoral vote. Biden is currently polling ahead of Trump, and while Trump did come from behind in 2016, we all know how that ended. With Biden's multiple gaffes which rival Gary Johnson's "Aleppo" comment from 2016 in terms of their general stupidity, there is a well-placed anxiety on the qualifications of the two frontrunners in the 2020 Presidential election. This anxiety could dissuade voters from either party in 2024, and allow Amash to become a viable candidate in four years time.
Andrew Fielden is an Editor-At-Large for The National Times.