Is Justin Amash Running for President in 2020 as a Libertarian?

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Justin Amash speaking at Grand Rapids town hall
Photo credit: @Steffi_Cole, Twitter

Justin Amash, Independent congressman from Michigan, has been making waves in the press for months. This has prompted speculation that he is considering a 2020 run for president. Amash has repeatedly told the media that running for president is “not on his radar right now”. However, when asked directly by CNN State of the Union host Jake Tapper if he would seek the Libertarian Party’s nomination for president, he said, “I still wouldn’t rule anything like that out.”

Amash gained media attention in May when he came out as the only Republican to publicly say President Donald Trump has committed impeachable acts. His scrutiny of the president and call for impeachment has garnered him the wrath of Trump-loyal Republicans. He explained his conclusions in a May 2019 Twitter thread, tweeting, “Contrary to Barr’s portrayal, Mueller’s report reveals that President Trump engaged in specific actions and a pattern of behavior that meet the threshold for impeachment.”

On July 4, he shocked the GOP even more when he declared his independence from the party. In a Washington Post op-ed, Amash announced his reasons for leaving the Republican party. The editorial did not focus on Donald Trump, but more so critiqued the problems with our two-party system. He expressed his fears about hyperpartanship, describing our two-party system as an “existential threat to American principles and institutions.” This concern resonates with Libertarians and independent voters.

Prior to his July 4th departure from the Republican party, the openly libertarian Amash discussed libertarianism and his thoughts on the party in an interview with Vox. He said, “One of the reasons I’ve always described myself as libertarian and use that word repeatedly is so that people will connect the word to the work I’m doing.” From his comments, it appears he is trying to make the word “libertarian” more relatable to the public, but for what purpose? As of now, he has not declared himself as a Libertarian candidate, but has been a vocal opponent of the two-party system.

Is Amash Seeking the Libertarian Party Nomination?

While there are no official discussions about Amash running, Libertarian Party national chair, Nick Sarwark tells Amash 4 President, ”Amash’s assessment that the two-party system is dysfunctional is absolutely right and I hope he will come home to a political party that is fighting the two-party system and more closely reflects his beliefs.“

LIbertarian National Convention
photo credit: libertarianconvention.org

Still, Amash did hint at the idea back in January when he was asked by Reason magazine editor to describe his ideal third-party candidate. His response, “He wears Air Jordans,” has left many Libertarians to wonder. Amash, who was wearing Air Jordans when he said this, elaborated “I think the ideal candidate has to be very libertarian, because if you’re running in the Libertarian Party, you better be a libertarian,” He also discussed the issues with running a “squishy” Republican. Was Amash alluding to a future Libertarian bid for president?

How long does Amash have to decide?

The big question in Libertarian circles is how long can he wait to decide? The Libertarian National Convention is May 22-25, in Austin, Texas. This is when the party will select their presidential candidate. Winning the Libertarian nomination may not be all that difficult. Nick Sarwark, the party’s chair, discussed the convention bylaws with Reason, noting the differences between the Libertarian party and the major parties. He wrote in an email to Reason, “national bylaws explicitly prohibit binding delegates prior to the convention or any kind of rule/block voting….All delegates must be able to vote their conscience. That’s one of the things that makes our convention interesting in comparison to the two old parties.”

Filing deadlines in Michigan

  • Since Amash is no longer a Republican, and has switched his party status to Independent, he does not have to file as a candidate for Congress until July 16, 2020. See MCL 168.590c(2).. (A candidate without political party affiliation seeking the office of U.S.Representative in Congress must file an Affidavit of Identity and a qualifying petition no later than 4:00 p.m. on July 16, 2020.)
  • Had Amash stayed in the Republican party, he would have to file before the Republican primary. The filing deadline for major parties is no later than April 21, 2020. See MCL 168.532

This allows Amash plenty of time to decide if he wants to run for Congress or seek the Libertarian presidential nomination. If you would like to support Justin Amash 4 President, please join our Facebook group here to get involved!

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