Rumor has it that Justin Amash will be announcing his candidacy for President of the United States on the Libertarian Party ticket this week. He won’t win the election and probably won’t change the outcome. There’s a good chance we won’t make it onto the debate stage. The national media will likely ignore his campaign. It might even destroy his political career. I’m going to support him anyway.
Since then-candidate Trump won in November 2016, republican politics has become sharply more populist, authoritarian, and personality-based. The goal of his campaign needs to be understood in this context. “Winning” isn’t about winning the White House. Amash doesn’t need to be running to win the Presidency or change the outcome. It doesn’t need to be about building the Libertarian Party for future elections. The singular goal needs to be “resetting” Republican politics as Regan did in 1976. Then, Regan won even though he lost the nomination because he set up the party for the start of the “Reagan Revolution” in the 1980 campaign where he was able to wrestle the party back into embracing conservative values. Amash has the potential to do the same thing today but it requires getting on the debate stage and becoming part of the national conversation. How does he get there? I have no idea. I hope he’s hired some smart staffers and gets that Koch money.
I will support Justin Amash in 2020 not because I think he’d win– he won’t. But because the Republican party needs to be shocked back into being the party of conservative values. Liberty and free markets need to become important again.