Justin Amash Tilts the Presidential Windmill

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Andrew Donaldson

Born and raised in West Virginia, Andrew has since lived and traveled around the world several times over. Though frequently writing about politics out of a sense of duty and love of country, most of the time he would prefer discussions on history, culture, occasionally nerding on aviation, and his amateur foodie tendencies. He can usually be found misspelling/misusing words on Twitter @four4thefire and his writing website Yonderandhome.com

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67 Responses

  1. Avatar Damon says:

    Campaign contributions…..? Can’t those be spent for other things after he losses?Report

  2. Avatar Douglas Hayden says:

    “Amash may pull some voters that were otherwise going to sit out the election, but if your claim is he is going to help or hurt Joe Biden or Donald Trump you are going to have to show your work.”

    Yup. Thank you for being a voice of sanity on this.

    My initial feeling is that Amash is hoping he can get enough NeverTrump votes to cover the margin between Biden and Trump so he can go “See, you need us.” The problem being that most of those NT voters have already done their strategic thinking and have hopped on the No Malarkey Express. But, as you said, he’s probably not long for the House, so this is the route forward to keep his name in the headlines and to make a good looking chyron for his new job at Fox or CNN.Report

  3. Avatar Jaybird says:

    From the only political mind worth following on Twitter:

    That said, I kinda like Amash. I could see voting for him, if Vermin ain’t on the ballot.Report

  4. Avatar North says:

    I don’t think it does the LP any good to function as the sidecar for the GOP also-rans. Amash isn’t’ even very libertarian. This just cements the view of the LP being for conservatives who like pot. I hope Amash doesn’t get their nod even though I respect the fellow.Report

    • Avatar Andrew Donaldson in reply to North says:

      Correct me if I’m wrong but wouldn’t Amash be like the fourth or fifth straight LP nominee that was a “former” Republican?Report

      • Avatar North in reply to Andrew Donaldson says:

        You are correct, which means that if they want to be seen as anything but a feeble sidecar to the GOP they’re gonna need to start breaking that pattern sometime.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Andrew Donaldson says:

        Yep. The problem for libertarians is that they generally seem to hate the idea of a welfare state a lot. So much so that they can’t fathom compromising with Democrats on stuff like “You vote for our criminal justice bill and we vote to expand the consumer protection laws and for tighter financial regulation.”Report

        • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Saul Degraw says:

          Libertarians generally believe in limited/small/non-existent government. Democrats, as a party, believe that every problem has a national-level policy solution dictated by government. (That’s one reason why lotsa folks hate the D party: the “problems” they tend to see are ones with governmental policy solutions.) Republicans believe in some mix of the two.

          It’s not that libertarians only, or even primarily, hate the welfare state. The list is long.Report

          • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Stillwater says:

            There are absolutely delicious threads on the twitter discussing how freaking awful it is that states like New York and California are paying money into the treasury and states like Kentucky are taking it out.

            And Kentucky is being treated so well and New York and California are being treated so poorly!Report

  5. Avatar Chip Daniels says:

    I used to wonder why the fringe parties like Socialists or Libertarians or Greens didn’t start at the base and build coalitions to win municipal elections, or offices like College trustees or water boards or something.

    But then I realized that their fringe ideas aren’t conducive to actual governance. Fixing potholes, listening to neighbors gripe about petty neighborhood issues aren’t the sort of thing that Revolutions! are made of.Report

    • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to Chip Daniels says:

      I used to wonder why the fringe parties like Socialists or Libertarians or Greens didn’t start at the base and build coalitions to win municipal elections, or offices like College trustees or water boards or something.

      They do.Report

      • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to Brandon Berg says:

        Note all the city auditors. That’s a great position for a libertarian, because any waste or fraud they can uncover is a PR win for the brand, instead of a shameful secret to be buried.Report

      • Most of those appear to be positions that are elected on a non-partisan basis in most of the country. Few of them seem to be positions that lend themselves to libertarian or socialist policies. Eg, the libertarian policy for a fire protection district is presumably “We’ll be selling memberships instead of using taxes; no membership, no fire protection.” I really doubt that a Libertarian won that office running on that platform.Report

    • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Chip Daniels says:

      Iconoclasm, political aesthetics, and purity are easy. Governing is hard and requires learning to compromise in and outside of a political party and also dealing with stuff that ideologues find insignificant and tedious like potholes or Sunday hours at the library or double booked baseball fields.

      But there seem to be endless avenues for rewarding and encouraging aesthetic performative politics in the United States. Biden’s actual platform is to the left of Clinton’s which was to the left of Obama’s which was to the left of Kerry’s. But they don’t talk about “revolution”. So they are boring.Report

  6. Eh. I can see him pulling enough votes in Michigan to tip the state to Biden. He gives conservatives someone to vote for who’s not Trump. I don’t know how big that margin is but if the election is 2016-close, it could be enough.Report

  7. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    I wonder how much he is doing this because he realized he was dead in the water for actually winning reelection in his district as an anti-Trump but still right-wing “independent.” The GOP is Trump’s party now almost completely.

    I disagree with Amash about nearly everything. Same with David French but they seem like decent and honorable oppositions. There is a chance that he can siphon off enough votes from Trump to make Michigan go for Biden. But the polling also seems to indicate that Biden would do well in Michigan anyway.

    https://www.thestreet.com/mishtalk/politics/extremely-difficult-setup-for-trump-to-win-in-novemberReport

  8. Avatar Marchmaine says:

    What if Amash is to the Libertarians what Fremont was to the Republicans?

    Heh, ok, no one thinks that. And yet, will someone ever be the Fremont of the Libertarian party? Their own John the Baptist leading the way to a realigned future? Theoretically?

    My own answer to the rhetorical question is, no. No, there isn’t a Libertarian moment or future. Nonetheless, Libertarians should absolutely vote for the Libertarian party.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Marchmaine says:

      The Libertarians are dead. Trump killed them.

      Clinton might not have… imagine a world in which the Libertarians and Republicans had common cause in limiting gummint!

      But Trump laid the truth bare. Libertarianism was a way to not be a Democrat but still get invited to cocktail parties.Report

      • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to Jaybird says:

        Yeah. I’m not sure Trump “killed” them so much as exposed how little electoral support they had, despite owning an entire policy leg of the proverbial stool.

        That’s why I’m tongue-in-cheek about Libertarians … there’s quite literally no constituency for them so joining a libertarian party is IMO, worse than inventing a brand new one.

        Now, to their “credit” there’s a lot of residual Libertarianism floating around both parties… but it just not the stuff of which Political Movements and Parties are made.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Marchmaine says:

          Of course, of course. “That is not dead which can eternal lie” and all that.

          Perhaps a better comparison would be to what Bill Clinton did to Workplace Harassment issues.

          It’s not that there aren’t some real issues that need discussing!

          It’s just that… well, you have to understand…Report

          • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to Jaybird says:

            On the one hand, I can grok what you’re saying… if we’re saying that Libertarians add a certain economic statistical thinking into economic problems to prevent the Right from drifting into some other notions… maybe from drifting into an incoherent populist form of greed or concupiscence (what I might tease as Populist Libertarianism).

            On the other hand, I can’t help but think that the right would be much better off for having developed some other economic notions rather than outsourcing all of that to Libertarians for 40 years.

            So in my way of thinking, the Libertarians are the ones who covered up the real issues that needed discussing. Unfortunately, along came Trump and now we have neither Libertarians nor discussions of the real issues… or if we’re feeling cheeky, we have Populist Libertarianism – all of the appetites, none of the math.Report

      • Avatar Pinky in reply to Jaybird says:

        No one invites libertarians to cocktail parties. They’re the worst. Your average D or R can get through a party without picking a fight.Report

    • Fremont ran against Buchanan, who was until quite recently the worst American president, so they have that in common.Report

  9. Avatar Pinky says:

    A Libertarian would have zero chance against two physically, mentally, and politically healthy opponents. How sure are we that it’s going to play out that way? Are Trump and Biden both incapable of slip-ups? They’re both over 70, can’t form sentences, and are not entirely free of accusations of corruption or #metoo. Say Amash somehow makes it onto the debate stage. He’s going to look like Pericles.

    If one candidate falters, Amash will have to work like mad, but could be an alternative. 45% of the population will vote against Trump no matter what. 45% would willingly vote for a pro-life libertarian if the Republican choice weren’t available for whatever reason. No one’s heard of the guy, but he’s already everyone’s second-favorite choice.

    (ETA: Yes, that was an intellectual exercise. I’m not predicting Amashmania.)Report

    • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to Pinky says:

      Doesn’t really matter how bad Trump and Biden perform in debates. 80% of voters will vote for a week-old jack-o-lantern, as long as it has the right letter next to its name. You can’t win without getting a nomination from one of the two major parties.Report

      • Avatar Pinky in reply to Brandon Berg says:

        I’ll give you this much: people hate to vote for a candidate they don’t think is going to win. I’ve never understood that, but it’s true. I get the thrill of being an early supporter of a candidate and seeing him emerge to victory. But to get excited because you figured out who is likely to win and threw your support to him? That’s the moral equivalent of being a Patriots fan. [spits]Report

  10. Avatar superdestroyer says:

    How can a pro-lifer be a libertarian? It makes no sense.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to superdestroyer says:

      You’d think that pro-choicers would support ending the War on Drugs but, believe it or not, there are prominent politicians who are both pro-choice *AND* do not support ending the War on Drugs.Report

      • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird says:

        I mentioned before how all political philosophies wrestle with the tension between order and freedom.They resolve it by creating logic tests and heuristics for why choice is good here but not there.

        Libertarians just have a harder time with it for some reason.
        Maybe its because they start, not with a wholistic view of a Right Ordering of humanity and society the way conservatives and liberals do, but with an abstracted view of Liberty as a maximized good.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels says:

          Is that how it works? “When I do it, it’s the tension between liberty and freedom. When Libertarians do it, it’s hypocritical when they’re not anarchists.”Report

          • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird says:

            Not at all.

            Its just that when you start out with these sort of generalized axioms like “All encounters should be voluntary” or “Its unjust for three people to decide that the fourth should pay for drinks” or any of the other pithy sayings one hears in libertarian circles, you might expect them to be followed with more structured logic of why actually some encounters SHOULD be coercive, and why sometimes its perfectly fine to make the fourth guy pay for everyone’s drinks and come to think of it, a regime of coercive taxation and regulated markets which provide a social safety net is perfectly acceptable.

            Also like I said once, this more complex and nuanced libertarianism is functionally indistinguishable from ordinary Republicanism. Which would actually be an improvement, IMO.Report

            • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels says:

              Eh, it’s the old abortion debate. Is the baby a human being who was invited (though, perhaps, wordlessly) or is the fetus effectively a skin tag with no moral worth beyond that?

              The generalized axioms are for the short conversations.

              The longer conversations are similar to that of discussing things with Marxists. Oh, you have to read this. Now you have to read this. Now you have to read this. Now you have to read this. Have you read any of this yet? Well, now you have to read that too. I also have some collected letters that are important. Here’s some youtubes to watch.

              Wait, where are you going?

              HEY! SUPPORT WOMENS’ RIGHT TO SELF-DEFENSE!

              Heh, got ‘im with that last one.Report

    • Avatar Pinky in reply to superdestroyer says:

      “life, liberty, and property”Report

      • Avatar superdestroyer in reply to Pinky says:

        How does a libertarian reconcile their support of liberty with the idea of having law enforcement track down women and asking them about their pregnancies?Report

        • Avatar Urusigh in reply to superdestroyer says:

          In order of priority:
          1. Life
          2. Liberty
          3. Property

          Premise 1: Right to Life is the superset that fully contains Right to Liberty (e.g. to be killed is to be completely deprived of autonomy, therefore a 100% infringement of Liberty, therefore the greater evil when compared against partial infringements on Liberty). In plain English, killing someone is worse than merely legally constraining them (or even physically constraining them if necessary).

          Premise 2: Abortion is literally the act of killing another human being with their own Right to Life and Liberty (e.g. a child is not merely property to be owned and disposed of at will).

          Conclusion: Abortion is murder; an unborn child deserves all the same legal protections and enforcement as a born child (equality under the law). Therefore to be Libertarian and NOT Pro-Life is a contradiction in terms.

          “Pro-Choice” is an oxymoronic misnomer, it explicitly denies any choice to the life most directly affected: the child (and for that matter, usually the Father as well). It is the modern version of Slaveholder’s Rights, the abominable claim that one human has ownership of another. Right to Life for the Unborn is the Civil Rights struggle of our times, the expanding circle of equality under the law and protection of the Rights of the ultimate voiceless, defenseless minority. It is profoundly anti-Liberal to be anti-Pro-Life.Report

  11. Avatar Jaybird says:

    There was this fun moment on the twitters where Amash got called the epitome of White Male Entitlement.

    (The original tweeter has since apologized and rephrased to say that Amash is merely the epitome of *MALE* entitlement.)

    What makes this particular take (and the multitude of takes like this) so very fascinating to me is that this is a race that also has both Biden and Trump in it.Report

  1. May 4, 2020

    […] lack of national name recognition and the historic lack of success for third-party candidates. A writer at the conservative-leaning blog Ordinary Times said Amash’s 2020 campaign would be “something 10 years from now you will be mildly upset for […]Report

  2. May 4, 2020

    […] lack of national name recognition and the historic lack of success for third-party candidates. A writer at the conservative-leaning blog Ordinary Times said Amash’s 2020 campaign would be “something 10 years from now you will be mildly […]Report

  3. May 5, 2020

    […] lack of national name recognition and the historic lack of success for third-party candidates. A writer at the conservative-leaning blog Ordinary Times said Amash’s 2020 campaign would be “something 10 years from now you will be mildly upset for […]Report

  4. May 5, 2020

    […] conversation spurned from a bit of internet fun yesterday when a piece that appeared here on our little corner of the interwebs about Justin Amash was block quoted in a Vox piece by […]Report

  5. May 16, 2020

    […] lack of national name recognition and the historic lack of success for third-party candidates. A writer at the conservative-leaning blog Ordinary Times said Amash’s 2020 campaign would be “something 10 years from now you will be mildly upset for […]Report

  6. May 16, 2020

    […] lack of national name recognition and the historic lack of success for third-party candidates. A writer at the conservative-leaning blog Ordinary Times said Amash’s 2020 campaign would be “something 10 years from now you will be mildly upset for […]Report

  7. May 16, 2020

    […] lack of national name recognition and the historic lack of success for third-party candidates. A writer at the conservative-leaning blog Ordinary Times said Amash’s 2020 campaign would be “something 10 years from now you will be mildly upset for […]Report

  8. May 16, 2020

    […] Амаш milli tanınması adı və tarixi olmadığı üçün uğur üçüncü namizəd var. Bəs yazıçı mühafizəkar yönümlü blog adi vaxt Амаш bildirib ki, 2020-ci ilə qədər “kampaniyası olacaq ki, 10 ildən, sənə olacaq, […]Report

  9. May 16, 2020

    […] lack of national name recognition and the historic lack of success for third-party candidates. A writer at the conservative-leaning blog Ordinary Times said Amash’s 2020 campaign would be “something 10 years from now you will be mildly upset for […]Report

  10. May 16, 2020

    […] lack of national name recognition and the historic lack of success for third-party candidates. A writer at the conservative-leaning blog Ordinary Times said Amash’s 2020 campaign would be “something 10 years from now you will be mildly upset for […]Report

  11. May 16, 2020

    […] lack of national name recognition and the historic lack of success for third-party candidates. A writer at the conservative-leaning blog Ordinary Times said Amash’s 2020 campaign would be “something 10 years from now you will be mildly […]Report

  12. May 16, 2020

    […] lack of national name recognition and the historic lack of success for third-party candidates. A writer at the conservative-leaning blog Ordinary Times said Amash’s 2020 campaign would be “something 10 years from now you will be mildly […]Report

  13. May 17, 2020

    […] lack of national name recognition and the historic lack of success for third-party candidates. A writer at the conservative-leaning blog Ordinary Times said Amash’s 2020 campaign would be “something 10 years from now you will be mildly upset for […]Report

  14. May 17, 2020

    […] lack of national name recognition and the historic lack of success for third-party candidates. A writer at the conservative-leaning blog Ordinary Times said Amash’s 2020 campaign would be “something 10 years from now you will be mildly upset for […]Report

  15. May 17, 2020

    […] lack of national name recognition and the historic lack of success for third-party candidates. A writer at the conservative-leaning blog Ordinary Times said Amash’s 2020 campaign would be “something 10 years from now you will be mildly upset for […]Report

  16. May 18, 2020

    […] April 29th, 2020 right here in Ordinary Times: […]Report

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