Rep. Amash teases third-party bid against Trump in 2020

Jun 26, 2019 at 2:59 pm
Rep. Amash teases third-party bid against Trump in 2020
Courtesy photo

U.S. Rep. Justin Amash — the "lowercase ‘L’ libertarian" from Michigan who is the only Republican in Congress so far to call to impeach President Donald Trump — has teased that he could mount a third-party presidential campaign in 2020.

"I haven't ruled anything out," 39-year-old Amash told The Hill on Wednesday when asked about a possible third-party bid.

Such a move could siphon tens of thousands of votes from Trump in the Rust Belt, which Trump narrowly won in 2016 in a surprise upset. But Amash said he wouldn't be interested in merely "playing spoiler."

"When I run for something, I run to win,” he told The Hill.

Amash is one of the highest-profile Republicans to speak out against Trump. Last month, after he finished reading the 400-plus page Mueller report, Amash became the first Republican to call for Trump's impeachment, joining Michigan congressional Democrats like Rep. Rashida Tlaib, who vowed to "impeach the motherfucker" on her first day on the job, and Rep. Andy Levin, who changed his mind in support of impeachment earlier this month.

For the most part, the GOP has marched in lockstep with the president, despite the many gaffes, atrocities, and otherwise decidedly anti-Republican big government policies that come out of the White House.

Rep. Doug LaMalfa (R-Calif.) openly acknowledged the hyper-partisanship logic when speaking to The Hill.

"I respect Libertarians, I like them a lot. But it doesn’t take away from the Democrats. It will take away from the conservative viewpoint and that hurts our side," Rep. Doug LaMalfa (R-Calif.) told The Hill.

"I don't have anything against him, but when people do this stuff, all it does is tear down the ability of Republicans to unite," he said.

Amash, however, says it's not about loyalty to party, but rather loyalty to the Constitution.
"I didn't run for office to sell out my principles to the party or to any one person," he told The Hill. "I've promised the people of my district I would operate in a certain way, uphold the Constitution, uphold the rule of law, fight for limited government and liberty, and that’s what I'm doing."

Trump is reportedly in talks to back a candidate to challenge Amash's House re-election bid out of revenge. A recent poll found Amash lagging behind challenger Jim Lower by 16 points.

Amash seems unbothered by the fire, however.

"I've spent my whole time in office under fire from different people, so it doesn’t worry me," he told The Hill. "I've had multiple elections where people thought I was the underdog and won by large margins. I don’t really worry about any of that stuff. I have a lot of confidence in what I'm doing, in the American people, and especially the people in my district."

More than 50 House Democrats have called to launch an impeachment inquiry, though Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has so far refused to proceed.

In Michigan, the Libertarian Party saw a surge in 2016, with former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson earning 172,136 votes for his presidential bid.

Michigan's Libertarian Party held a primary in 2018, the first time a third party had qualified to do so in almost 50 years. Bill Gelineau emerged as the party's 2018 gubernatorial nomination, but earned just 56,606 votes, or 1.3 percent of the vote.

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