Representative Justin Amash, a former Republican, has stated that he may run for president as a Libertarian candidate. The five-term congressman has formed an exploratory committee to gauge whether he could become the Libertarian pick for presidential candidate.
“We’re ready for a presidency that will restore respect for our Constitution and bring people together,” Amash tweeted. “I’m excited and honored to be taking these first steps toward serving Americans of every background as president.”
Former Republican Explores Third-Party Options
Amash first joined the House of Representatives in 2010 as part of the Tea Party movement. He is the son of Arab immigrants, and spent the first years of his career as a republican. However, after Donald Trump won in 2016, he left the party.
Amash was the sole non-democrat to vote in favor of the articles of impeachment drafted against Trump. Currently, he is an independent representative. If he is to become the Libertarian Party nominee, he would need to be chosen by party leadership during their convention. That would make him the de facto leader of the Libertarian Party.
Amash is to the left of republicans, but he’s hardly a democrat. Thanks to politicians like Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, the Democratic Party has become significantly more progressive in the last five years. Popular policies like Medicare for All are now at the core of most democratic voters’ concerns. Politicians like Sanders want medical procedures from severe arthritis treatment to simple check-ups all covered by a single-payer program.
Third Party Could Act as Spoiler for Either Party
Some pundits, however, contend that Amash might be helping Donald Trump by running as a third-party candidate. In very close races, third parties are typically a “spoiler” for the incumbent. By drawing in votes from very split districts, Amash could hand Trump more Electoral College votes by mistake.
The reason for this is simple. Democrats who aren’t a fan of Biden might find Amash better as a candidate. However, most Republican voters probably won’t flip on Trump, as he enjoys strong support within his own party.
Some observers have rejected this premise, however. Amash could offer another option for conservative voters who don’t like Trump, but don’t want to vote for a democrat. By bleeding votes away from the republicans, however, Amash could hand a win to the democrats. In either case, Amash is less likely to win than he is to split the vote.