In a Twitter thread earlier this afternoon, Rep. Justin Amash (MI-03) announced that he would not be a candidate for President this year. This comes less than a month after he announced an exploratory committee to gage the feasibility of such a run as a candidate in the Libertarian Party.
In a string of Tweets, he said, “After much reflection, I’ve concluded that circumstances don’t lend themselves to my success as a candidate for President this year, and therefore I will not be a candidate.”
He gave several reasons for this decision. These include: an all time high in the level of national polarization that would limit his audience, social distancing guidelines that would make lesser known candidates more dependent on a traditional media which is hostile to third party candidacies, the political environment of Covid-19 creates an situation that does not lend itself to the type of debate he would like to have, and fundraising challenges in these difficult economic times.
Additionally, he expressed uncertainty about online voting, post-convention Libertarian unity, and 50 state ballot access because of legal challenges.
He concluded his Twitter thread with a few words of encouragement for people to join him in building a Libertarian Party capable of challenging the Democrats and Republicans in the future.
Justin Amash entered the Washington political scene when he first ran in 2010 as part of the that year’s red wave response to Obamacare. Ever the maverick, at that time he was planning to run a primary challenge to the long-serving MI-03 Republican congressman Vernon Ehlers. However, Ehlers retired several months before voting and Amash instead ended up beating out a crowded primary field to replace him.
As a member of Congress, he has been a consistent critic of big government policies, foreign wars, high taxes, and reckless spending. Additionally, he has been an unrelenting champion of the Constitution.
For the past year, he has been making waves in Washington. In May of 2019, he made headlines by being the first (and only) Republican member of the House of Representatives to call for President Trump’s impeachment. Later that year (on the fourth of July) he announced his separation from the Republican Party altogether. And, of course, when impeachment did finally hit the floor of the House, he voted in favor of it.
While his supporters (and he has more than a few of them) will obviously be disappointed by his decision not to run, they can take comfort in the fact that they probably haven’t seen the last of him. At 40 years old, and with more than enough charisma to spare, he will have many more opportunities to run in the future. At the time of this writing, it appears as though he still plans to run for re-election in Michigan’s third congressional district. Additionally, it has been frequently speculated that he would run for the Senate as well.
While Amash may not appear at the top of our ballots this year, he will be a voice to be reckoned with in the American political scene for years to come. Not only that, but he also looks to build a movement that will re-shape the American political scene by adding a viable third party. With a Democratic Party that is becoming more hostile to freedom with each election, and with a Republican party that seems willing to abandon the principles of liberty whenever it’s convenient, Amash and other Libertarian voices will be much needed.