Michigan Rep. Justin Amash‘s announcement that he is seeking the Libertarian nomination for president has both Democratic and Republican voters worried about the volatility he could bring to the race. While it’s impossible to know for certain what his entry will mean, author and teacher Rachel Bitecofer argues in The Guardian that Amash will likely siphon votes from Donald Trump and help Joe Biden.
Bitecofer points to the 2016 election, when Gary Johnson, the Libertarian Party’s nominee, pulled votes from both Democrats and Republicans. She also claims that his admission of pot use endeared him to younger voters.
“But Amash holds policy positions that these voters may find unacceptable,” she wrote. “His flirtation with climate denialism and stringent anti-abortion positions will probably diminish his attractiveness among the small – but still significant – portion of former Obama voters that voted for Johnson in 2016.”
While Bitecofer claims Amash’s voting pattern has generally aligned with Democrats since he left the Republican Party, she notes that his voting record is more conservative than 84 percent of House Republicans in the current Congress.
Bitecofer also highlights that Amash’s Libertarian run would block Jesse Ventura — who may run as a Green Party candidate — from running on the Libertarian ticket.
“This means the Libertarian party’s appeal in 2020 will largely hail from voters on the right side of the ideological spectrum. That party leaders have not-so-quietly pushed Amash into running suggests the party’s core membership wants to return to more traditional Libertarian orthodoxies.”
Ultimately, Bitecofer says, Amash may siphon votes from the Republican Party and offset what she believes is a likely defection of some progressive Bernie Sanders supporters to Donald Trump — an option the GOP has been encouraging.
Interestingly, Amash has shown himself to be to the left of even Biden on some issues, including his support for universal basic payments to Americans amid the coronavirus pandemic.
WATCH: Rep. Justin Amash (I-Mich.) describes how he would structure economic relief. #MTPDaily@justinamash: "What I would have done is offered direct cash payments to the people … give a universal cash payment to the people during the course of this pandemic." pic.twitter.com/36y8U5lCgA
— Meet the Press (@MeetThePress) April 29, 2020
As The Inquisitr reported, Amash pushed back against the criticism of his late campaign and suggested it goes against American principles. The Michigan congressman also underscored the importance of providing Americans with more choice than are currently offered in the two-party system, which he has spent his political career railing against.
Despite debate around Amash’s purported spoiler run, he believes he can win in November. During an interview with MLive.com, he acknowledged the history of third-party and independent campaigns, but he also pointed to the “significant platform” he has to promote his message, which he believes is the key to winning. According to Amash, he will bring an “honesty and practicality” that he thinks both Biden and Trump lack.