Michigan Live: Isolated in GOP, Congressman Justin Amash considers third-party presidential run

Malachi Barrett at mlive.com:

Justin Amash is reconsidering his place in a party he is at odds with, isolated from Republicans that have largely bent to the will of the president.

The Michigan Republican is gaining a national following as a Congressman who isn’t afraid to buck the Republican line, often going to toe to toe with the party’s biggest star, President Donald Trump. Amash is a frequent critic of the president, often slamming Trump on Twitter, accusing him of violating the constitution and attacking Trump’s character.

And now Amash is leading the charge for a third-party presidential option – even going so far as saying he “can’t rule out” running for president as a Libertarian.

“I think my message does resonate with a lot of people,” said Amash, now in his fifth Congressional term. “There are people who are tired of the way it works and are coming to understand that the problem is this two-party duopoly and the partisan fighting that is nonstop. If people came to Washington with strong ideologies but less partisanship this would be a lot better.”

While Trump faces a growing crowd of Democratic presidential hopefuls, no Republican have yet to present a serious primary challenge to the president.

Amash is hesitant to throw his hat in the ring, but said “someone” needs to run for president to fix what he considers to be a broken system that values party loyalty over integrity. Amash, who hails from West Michigan’s Cascade Township, has flirted with the idea of a presidential run at libertarian events and an interview CNN’s Jake Tapper, but told MLive he hasn’t “thought through” plans to run for president, re-election or U.S. Senate.

Despite describing himself as “the only libertarian in Congress” Amash remains in the Republican Party. At times, Amash feels politically “lonely” within the GOP, and wonders whether there are other ways “to be useful and effective as an elected official besides the approach I’m currently taking.”

……..

Amash has recently become more vocal about the need level the playing field for third-party candidates.

He introduced a bill requiring states to impose the same ballot access requirements on all candidates, regardless of party nomination status or affiliation. It would also prohibit straight-ticket voting for congressional elections.

Libertarians hold no seats in Congress. The two independent U.S. Senators, Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont, and Angus King, I-Maine, caucus with Democrats.

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36 thoughts on “Michigan Live: Isolated in GOP, Congressman Justin Amash considers third-party presidential run

  1. George Whitfield

    I hope he decides to seek the Libertarian Party Presidential nomination.

  2. dL

    I hope he decides to seek the Libertarian Party Presidential nomination.

    um, no more republicans…a pro-compulsory parenthood extremist, to boot.

  3. Tony From Long Island

    I said after 2016 that i would probably never vote for another LP candidate for POTUS again, but I would actually consider Amash, as long as he isn’t a gun nut – so I guess I probably won’t.

  4. William T. Forrest

    Commented at BAN in reply to

    “If he does end up running and winning the Libertarian nomination, the Libertarian Party would have an excellent shot at getting 5% of the vote. ”

    Not really. Results for Ron Paul 1988, Bob Barr and Cynthia McKinney 2008 and Virgil Goode in 2012 indicate US House member is just not high up enough to improve third party presidential results significantly. Without looking it up, how many members of the US House from other states who are not in congressional leadership can you name? How many can your neighbors name?

    Also, 2020 is going to be a very polarizing presidential election – whether they are for him or against him, people have very strong feelings on whether Trump should stay in office or not, more so even than past Democrats and Republicans. As such, the pressure on anyone mulling a non-duopoly vote will be even stronger than usual. Sadly, Amash as the LP nominee would get the party back under 1%, and it’s unlikely that any other nominee would get them above it next year…but if anyone will, it won’t be a US House crossover, at least not unless he or she taps a megawealthy and megagenerous VP candidate.

  5. paulie Post author

    True, 2020 will be very polarizing, with “wasted vote/spoiler/handing the election to…” hype pumped up to 11. And besides, 5% was not and is not the magic pill Johnson et al hyped it up to be. It does mean several million dollars in federal election welfare to whoever gets that party’s presidential nomination 4 years later, which is why Ron N and company salivated over the prospect. However, it’s a multitier gradual amount, with full funding parity with the D/Roids not kicking in til iirc 25%. And even then, that would be chicken feed compared with what the big two draw from nominally private sources these days.

    The only practical result of getting 5% would be to bring the same clown car into the LP 4 years after whenever that happens, scrambling for that federal election welfare, that came into the Reform Party in 2000, leaving it a wreck afterwards. We would be in practice better off by turning down that money on principle, even if it was only cynically feigned principle.

  6. William T. Forrest

    Conversation with Chris Powell continues at BAN:

    Powell: Amash would be running as a sitting Congressman, not a former Congressman and certainly not one like McKinney or Goode who had been defeated for re-election. A closer parallel would be John Anderson in 1980. Anderson received 6.6%.

    William T. Forrest on April 2, 2019 at 6:34 am said:

    Anderson made waves in the Republican primary first before running as an independent. He had the benefit of primary debates with leading candidates for the Republican nomination and general election debates with the major party nominees. Presidential campaign spending in those days was a couple of orders of magnitude less than it is now. Since that time, the COPD (Commission on Presidential Debates) has been set up to enforce discriminatory polling criteria with the goal of keeping non-duopoly voices out of main stage general election presidential debates.

    Then, starting in 2012, states and courts began to ignore Anderson’s legal precedents and enforce sore loser laws against candidates who appear in primaries and later run outside the duopoly. Ballot access deadlines have been moving earlier as well.

    Amash wouldn’t get to debate Trump in the primary, nor would he get to debate Trump or the Democratic nominee in the general election. If he runs in the primary against Trump, states will keep him off the general election ballot if he then switches to the Libertarians. If he runs as a Libertarian from the get go, he won’t get the exposure that he might hope would come with running in the primary.

    Thus, the other members of congress mentioned earlier are a closer parallel than Anderson in the ways that actually matter. Sure, Amash is still in congress, but to 99% of voters he is an obscure back bencher from a state they don’t live in. He may as well be one of the long time minor party activists currently announced for the third party nominations as far as any but the political geek voter knows or cares about him.

    When was the last time anyone went straight from US House to President? Off hand I think it was the 19th century, but maybe I’m forgetting someone in the early 20th.

  7. William T. Forrest

    That conversation at Ballot Access News continues further from there with others commenting, so you’ll have to go there if you want to read and perhaps join it.

  8. NewFederalist

    I would really prefer he remain in Congress. If he is gerrymandered out of his district he could still run in a new one although his prospects might not be very promising. Four GOP nominees in a row is too many IMHO. I would hope he could continue to serve as a counter weight to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in the House for as long as possible. His chances at a seat in the Senate from Michigan are not very promising, either. Tough call for him but if he does seek the LP nomination I sure hope he puts a hardline philosophical libertarian on the ticket with him who has longevity with the LP.

  9. George Phillies

    In 2020 in most states, one duopoly idiot or the other is sure to win, meaning all votes count equally. And your vote counts twice, once for your candidate and once for his aprty.

  10. Seebeck

    That Tamny Forbes article is so wrong it’s laughable.

    Amash gets what Tamny does not, that the debt is a national security issue, and that because of the excessive (understatement) intermeshing of the federal government into the economy, that a default or continued running up of deficits and debt has very negative effects on the economy. Tammy doesn’t seem to understand where the money comes from, which at the end of it all is from the people and their labor being exchanged for money being exchanged for products and services produced by labor being exchanged for … in a never-ending property exchange cycle of production, purchase, consumption, and labor.

    Part of “strict libertarian” principles is taking responsibility for your actions. In Congress’s case, just as it is with individuals, that means paying off debts accrued.

    And THAT’s why defaulting on the debt is neither in the LP Platform nor even a libertarian principle.

  11. Carol Moore/Secession.net

    Forcing citizens to pay off debts they never agreed to accrue, most of which $pending benefit special interests which grow wealthy, is called slavery.

    It’s not even a “slavery contract” since no on except maybe some govt employees sign or agree to such contracts.

    And since most libertarians are against SLAVE CONTRACTS, especially if they are incurred unjustly, I think you are talking conservatism, not libertarianism. https://mises.org/library/property-rights-and-theory-contracts

    As for national security, and the debt itself, both issues are basically moot point now. The hypersonic nuclear cruise missiles – or the first strikes to get the power and military structures first – are coming in a couple years. And it probably will be computers not people making the decision to strike.

  12. dL

    Amash gets what Tamny does not, that the debt is a national security issue,

    Taxation is national security! Put that on your bumper sticker and see who honks…

  13. dL

    Forcing citizens to pay off debts they never agreed to accrue, most of which $pending benefit special interests which grow wealthy, is called slavery.

    Not my debt. If Seebeck wants to claim it, and if he is going to take his “personal responsibility” claim seriously, he can get back to us about paying higher taxes after he has served his sentence handed down by the Hague for his willing cooperation in the war crimes committed by this government.

  14. Andy Craig

    “2020 will be polarizing and therefore we won’t do well no matter what” is getting to be a bit overhyped, I think. 2016 was *also* an extremely polarizing, divisive election and third-party results spiked. 2012 was the blandest possible milquetoast matchup between the major parties and third-party results were unexceptional / low. With Trump running again there will still be a decent (for our purposes) number of anti-Trump Rs, and there’s a high chance the Democrats wind up with some far-left crank or unpopular plurality candidate like Sanders or Warren as their nominee. Or if they have Biden, that’s basically Hillary redux. I think 2020 will probably be more like 2016 than 2012 or 2008 in terms of the environment for third-party results.

    I agree 5% isn’t a terribly important goal nor one we’re likely to hit. But Amash taking 2-3% (which I think is plausible) beats running some rando paper candidate and slipping back down to less than half a percent. And he has some not-likely but non-zero chance of hitting a breakout moment, going kind of viral, and doing numbers closer to Anderson 1980.

    Amash would a) sail through the nomination process and is widely liked by almost everybody in both the party and broader movement, sparing us all that typical nastiness, and b) would probably get a result in the same ballpark as Johnson 2016, maybe even a bit better, though most likely a bit lower. I’ve not seen anybody else express interest or being talked about that I think could likely clear 1%, except *maybe* Byrne if he’s willing to burn an obscene amount of money on it.

    Anybody else we’re looking at a pre-2012 <0.5% result, and that'll be a bigger blow to morale coming after Johnson's two better results then it was back when that's what we always got.

  15. paulie Post author

    “2020 will be polarizing and therefore we won’t do well no matter what” is getting to be a bit overhyped, I think. 2016 was *also* an extremely polarizing, divisive election and third-party results spiked.

    2016 was different. Democrats were just not excited. Many stayed home, assuming Clinton would win or that she sucked just as much as Trump. Many moderate Republicans thought, or at least hoped, that Trump would grow into the job if elected. Some Democrats jumped to Trump because they did not like what party leadership and the Clinton campaign colluded to do to Sanders in the primary.

    Since then, Trump has proven that his campaign bluster was more than just campaign bluster. Opposition to his actual presidency, rather than the mere possibility, has galvanized Democrats. Turnout went from historic lows in 2014 to low among Democrats in 2016 to record high for a midterm in 2018. That dynamic will continue and intensify into 2020, and with any luck the Democrats will do a less terrible job with their nomination process this time and pick a candidate who won’t alienate their base but will turn them out. In any case Trump will do a “tremendous” job (as he would say) in turning them out in opposition and his supporters in response. As such the pressure will be extra high on those leaning towards not voting or towards for a non-duopoly choice. This is why 2018 top of ticket results were down for non-duopolists. It’s those results which most likely convinced Weld to flee what he saw as a sinking ship and probably played an outsized role in some major donors bowing out of the LP.

  16. paulie Post author

    With Trump running again there will still be a decent (for our purposes) number of anti-Trump Rs,

    Those exist mostly on Democratic-leaning media, and in the beltway/commentariat/cocktail circuit. Polling shows that among actual Republican and Republican-leaning voters the cheeto Benito polls in the 90s with high levels of enthusiasm, historically high even for a Republican president. He’s as good (from their perspective) or better than Reagan as far as the vast majority of them are concerned. The few remaining IRL NeverTrumpers tend to be foreign policy hawks, national security apparatus flunkies and fans, and movement conservatives – a poor group for the LP to woo. That’s why they recruited Evan “Egg McMuffin” McMullin even though it was too late to qualify him for the ballot in many states rather than support Johnson/Weld.

    It also seems rather unlikely the LP will get two ex-governors on the ticket again. Imagine Amash, much less Hornberger or Ruff or Supreme or Kokesh (etc) appealing to the Max Boots, Podhoretzes, and Bill Kristols of the world? Can you see Steve Schmidt working on one of their campaigns? I sure can’t.

  17. paulie Post author

    there’s a high chance the Democrats wind up with some far-left crank or unpopular plurality candidate like Sanders or Warren as their nominee. Or if they have Biden, that’s basically Hillary redux.

    I think any of those three will do a better job of connecting with disgruntled Midwestern (and other) working class, economically insecure Democrats than Hillary Clinton did. Any one of them will probably do a better job of boosting turnout among black Democrats than HRC did. Most likely, if any of them is the nominee they will be smart enough to have a black or Latino VP candidate (and the party will probably insist on it). Their turnout woes would be history with Kamala Harris as the presidential nominee, and at least somewhat relieved with her as the VP nominee. O’Rourke, in either spot, could conceivably flip Texas, or at least make it appear like he might maybe could as a spur towards turnout and making the race appear close as it comes into the finish.

    Florida may be eminently flippable just from the felon voting rights restoration alone, if Democrats manage to capitalize on that enough. A lot of Puerto Ricans who were already US citizens but whose votes did not count for president on the island have moved to Florida; most of them are not happy with Trump, but it will be up to the Dem field operation to register them and turn them out. The demographic shift in the southern tier which Clinton prematurely tried to capitalize on in 2016, at the expense of failing to defend her midwestern-midatlantic flank, may be enough to flip some southeast and southwest states by 2020.

    What this means for us is that 2020 may look more neck and neck as we come in for the finish. The intensity will be high on the pro and anti Trump sides as it was not on the D side in 2016 and was on both in 2018. LP is unlikely to have two governors again, or to get the level of attention/respect it got from major media before panicking Democrats zeroed in on Johnson gaffes to bring it back down to earth.

  18. Andy Craig

    I wasn’t talking about pundit and Beltway #NeverTrumpers so much as voters at large. If Trump has GOP approval ratings in the 70s or 80s or even low 90s, which is where he’s been, that still leaves plenty to bleed off into a Libertarian protest vote such that we get 1 or 2%. And I think Amash could appeal to them better than any of the others you mentioned (in part because he’s anti-abortion and tends to lean a little more to the right than Johnson did). Rs who are still anti-Trump at this point aren’t likely to warm up to him. On the Democratic side they could be more fired up and motivated to beat Trump, and probably will be. But they could also very easily get their own unpopular, divisive candidate after another bruising drawn-out primary, that will be bleeding some support either to the left or the center as the case may be. So I suspect the total third-party vote will be below 2016 but still higher than, say, 2008 or 2004.

    I don’t think 2020 will be as good as 2016 for some of the reasons you mentioned. Republicans have warmed up to Trump and Dems are unlikely to nominate a candidate quite so flawed as Hillary. But I don’t think it’s like we’re locked in for less than 1% no matter who we nominate, either. Low end is ~0.3% and total disaster, high end is probably around 2%, maybe a bit more if the stars really align right. If we get closer to the high end than the low end of that window, it makes a substantial difference for the morale and trends for the party (and also some ballot access). Particularly since we really need to avoid a “stung once and then died” narrative; and show that the growth in 2012 and 2016 hasn’t completely vanished and can be sustained post-Johnson. Amash likely does that… others, probably not so much.

    I’m reminded of how I was asked in Orlando by Reason.tv what my benchmark for success was. I was lower than anybody else they asked when I said “if we don’t make the debates, I’d be happy with 3%.” But that was, of course, exactly where we ended up.

  19. paulie Post author

    And he has some not-likely but non-zero chance of hitting a breakout moment, going kind of viral, and doing numbers closer to Anderson 1980.

    Anderson’s results will be tough to match, regardless of D/R dynamic. He got into some debates both in the primaries and general election. Now, Amash or any LP candidate, crossover or not (unless we take a Democrat crossover, which I highly doubt, even if it’s say Gabbard) won’t be in any debates with any leading candidates. None of them will be in debates with Trump and the Democratic nominee in the fall, even if we took in Tulsi.

    The spending levels of the duopoly presidential tickets these days make competing with them prohibitive – if a David Koch or someone like that wanted to reprise what he did in 1980 as the VP candidate they would have to add at least a zero and perhaps two to the check Koch wrote the campaign in 1980 to be at the percentage of competitiveness he put the LP at then.

    One thing we’ll have in 2020 that we did not have in 1980 is the “viral” effect of social media. So, maybe celebrity, not wealth, is the ticket to national attention this time. How’s our celebrity outreach team?

  20. Jim

    paulie ” the Democrats will do a less terrible job with their nomination process this time and pick a candidate who won’t alienate their base but will turn them out.”

    You may be underestimating the divide between the ‘realist’ Hillary camp and the ‘idealist’ Sanders camp. That can be masked in non-presidential years, but trying to find one candidate to bring them together may be impossible. Last year I thought Warren might have been able to pull it off, but since then she’s gone all in on the Sanders side. Now, I don’t know who can. Maybe Beto O’Rourke, if he can keep waffling on universal healthcare, but a lot of Democrats won’t go for a white man, so he’d need a VP, preferably a non-white woman, that could appeal to that camp. I don’t think Kamala Harris will work once her time as a prosecutor becomes more well known. Which leaves who? No one now in the race. Maybe Stacey Abrams.

    O’Rourke/Abrams would be an interesting ticket. They’d try to put Texas and Georgia in play. I don’t think they could get Texas, but Georgia is a possibility.

    But there are a lot of Democratic presidential candidates who are incapable of uniting the party. If they go hard left, the Green Party is done, but the LP could pick up a lot. If they go for someone more centrist, the LP may have a down year, but the Greens could potentially do well enough that they cost the Dems the election.

  21. Jim

    Andy Craig “Anybody else we’re looking at a pre-2012 <0.5% result, and that'll be a bigger blow to morale coming after Johnson's two better results then it was back when that's what we always got."

    When Barr got his 520,000 votes and 0.40% in 2008, there were only 240,000 registered Libertarians. By 2020 we could be looking at 650,000 – 700,000. That only counts the states with voter registration. Projecting that out to the states that don't have it, there would be something over 1 million Libertarians that identify enough with the party that they would register with it, if they could. Our floor should, in theory, be roughly double the 523,000 votes Barr picked up. 1 million votes with a turnout of 143 million means the floor should be around 0.7%. The LP candidate would have to stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody to get less than that.

  22. NewFederalist

    If Amash is really serious about abandoning the GOP for the LP he should change parties NOW and give the LP its first Representative in Congress. If he can’t win re-election in 2020 anyway what does he have to lose? Perhaps a move like that would allow him to compete with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez for national media and even guest shots with late night TV.

  23. paulie Post author

    If Amash is really serious about abandoning the GOP for the LP he should change parties NOW and give the LP its first Representative in Congress.

    Agreed, but I’m not sure he has really made his decision yet. He may still be weighing it. I do think it would boost how much attention he would get if he did.

  24. paulie Post author

    When Barr got his 520,000 votes and 0.40% in 2008, there were only 240,000 registered Libertarians. By 2020 we could be looking at 650,000 – 700,000. That only counts the states with voter registration. Projecting that out to the states that don’t have it, there would be something over 1 million Libertarians that identify enough with the party that they would register with it, if they could. Our floor should, in theory, be roughly double the 523,000 votes Barr picked up. 1 million votes with a turnout of 143 million means the floor should be around 0.7%. The LP candidate would have to stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody to get less than that.

    You may be right, but I’m not sure you are. Some people registered L at one time, some purely by mistake – checked the wrong box or because they thought it means liberal (the words sound kinda similar, weed is cool, etc) or very conservative (all the right wingers who call themselves libertarian or get called that by media). Some were libertarian, no longer are, but have not bothered to change it. Many do vote LP downticket, yet still may vote for what they think is the lesser evil among the duopoly in the presidential race. Our turnout among registered Ls is probably lower than registered Ds and Rs – those parties spend a lot of time and money on GOTV while the LP has practically none. Some have habitually voted LP, including for president, but may make an exception, because Trump is too dangerous (or too great) or the Democrat is too dangerous or whatever.

    Obviously there is some overlap between L registration and L votes – I just don’t know how much, nor does anyone else because we lack the kind of data harvesting the Ds and Rs do about their voters.

  25. dL

    If Trump has GOP approval ratings in the 70s or 80s or even low 90s

    Trump has a GOP approval rating that would make the official approval ratings of the old Soviet Politburo jealous

    , which is where he’s been, that still leaves plenty to bleed off into a Libertarian protest vote such that we get 1 or 2%.

    All due respect, talk about losertarianism…hoping to shave off 1% from Trump’s 95% GOP approval rating. There is nothing sadder in this world than a broke whore.

  26. Thomas Knapp

    “When was the last time anyone went straight from US House to President? Off hand I think it was the 19th century, but maybe I’m forgetting someone in the early 20th.”

    1880 — and that guy was a well-known former general who promptly got shot and (not as promptly) died.

    There are all kinds of reasons why it’s very difficult to move directly from the House of Representatives to the White House. I’ve discussed some of those reasons with Tulsi Gabbard supporters.

    Governors and Senators have already have bigger donor networks and fundraising machines than US Representatives, and those networks/machines often already extend well beyond the states they’re from. A US Representative may have some out of district donors, but it’s still harder to scale up the fundraising.

    Ditto media. One of several representatives from one state is simply not going to get the ongoing national media coverage that a governor, or even one of two US Senators, gets. Which means less name recognition going into a presidential race unless they developed that name recognition prior to going to the House in the first place.

    When Ron Paul ran for the GOP nomination in 2008, he was handicapped by the fact that only three groups (people from his district, libertarians, and white nationalists) had any idea who the hell he was. On the other hand, he had built those two latter groups into an initial donor network, so he got further than most.

    I don’t dislike Amash. If the LP hadn’t pre-shit the bed for him by nominating Republican rejects three times in a row, it might be interesting. Nominating Amash would look like making the same mistake four times in a row, no matter how good he is as an individual. So it would just be a yawner and a waste of another four years unless he found a novel way to change it up (like perhaps, as someone suggested, changing parties NOW and being a Libertarian in Congress).

  27. Jared

    Andy: “Trump has GOP approval ratings in the 70s or 80s or even low 90s, which is where he’s been, that still leaves plenty to bleed off into a Libertarian protest vote such that we get 1 or 2%. And I think Amash could appeal to them better than any of the others you mentioned…”

    Unfortunately, the bulk of anti-Trump Republicans are establishment neocons who disapprove of his handling of North Korea, Iran, etc., his trade and border policies, and his vulgar salesmanship which lacks any coherently conservative ideological underpinnings. If they happened to be Ron Paul libertarians who simply stuck around in the GOP, that would be one thing, but most of them are nowhere close.

  28. paulie Post author

    paulie ” the Democrats will do a less terrible job with their nomination process this time and pick a candidate who won’t alienate their base but will turn them out.”

    You may be underestimating the divide between the ‘realist’ Hillary camp and the ‘idealist’ Sanders camp. That can be masked in non-presidential years, but trying to find one candidate to bring them together may be impossible.

    Keeping Trump from a second term is a strong incentive for them. We shall see whether strong enough.

  29. paulie Post author

    Rs who are still anti-Trump at this point aren’t likely to warm up to him.

    No, but they still might be convinced that he is a lesser evil than the Democrat – depending on who the Democrat is. Or they may decide that the Democrat is the lesser evil vis a vis Trump, or that they should vote for Egg McMuffin 2.0, or stay home. Some of them may vote for the LP candidate, but I don’t think it will be huge numbers.

    On the Democratic side they could be more fired up and motivated to beat Trump, and probably will be. But they could also very easily get their own unpopular, divisive candidate after another bruising drawn-out primary, that will be bleeding some support either to the left or the center as the case may be. So I suspect the total third-party vote will be below 2016 but still higher than, say, 2008 or 2004.

    I don’t think 2020 will be as good as 2016 for some of the reasons you mentioned. Republicans have warmed up to Trump and Dems are unlikely to nominate a candidate quite so flawed as Hillary. But I don’t think it’s like we’re locked in for less than 1% no matter who we nominate, either. Low end is ~0.3% and total disaster, high end is probably around 2%, maybe a bit more if the stars really align right. If we get closer to the high end than the low end of that window, it makes a substantial difference for the morale and trends for the party (and also some ballot access). Particularly since we really need to avoid a “stung once and then died” narrative; and show that the growth in 2012 and 2016 hasn’t completely vanished and can be sustained post-Johnson.

    That makes sense, good analysis.

    I’m not sure whether we will have any better luck appealing to NeverTrump Republicans than disaffected Democrats and independents. Vermin may be able to reach the latter better than a Republican crossover.

  30. Jim

    paulie “Many do vote LP downticket, yet still may vote for what they think is the lesser evil among the duopoly in the presidential race. Our turnout among registered Ls is probably lower than registered Ds and Rs … Obviously there is some overlap between L registration and L votes – I just don’t know how much, nor does anyone else because we lack the kind of data harvesting the Ds and Rs do about their voters.”

    It is true that Libertarians are less likely to vote for the Presidential candidate than down ballot races. But we can look at the historical ratio of Presidential Votes to Registered Voters:

    9.92 1980
    8.96 2016
    7.55 1988
    3.86 2012
    3.13 1984
    2.99 1996
    2.90 1992
    2.16 2008
    1.74 2000
    1.53 2004

    The median is 3.06 x registered voters.

    In the last 3 2-year periods LP voter registration has increased by 66,000, 101,000, and 70,000. That’s an average of 79,000. As of Nov, 2018 it was 567,000. Add 79,000 to that and we’re at 646,000.

    Round it off to 650,000 and use the lowest historical registered voter to presidential vote multiplier of 1.53 and we’re at 995,000. Close enough to a million. Or we could assume the growth rate in 2020 no more than matches 2018 (66,000), but we could use a still well below norm multiplier of 2.0. That would give us about 1,367,000. Unless we start to see a pattern of declining voter registration numbers in the states that report monthly, I think that’s just where we are now – 1 million + at the Presidential level.

    I’ve seen some states publish turnout ratio by party, including Libertarians. Off the top of my head, I don’t recall which states do that, and I didn’t give it more than a passing glance. But if I’m remembering right, Libertarians had lower turnout in non-Presidential years and slightly above average turnout in Presidential years. I imagine it is very low in odd years.

  31. George Phillies

    I do not agree with Tom Knapp about a great deal,. but I agree that running yet another Republican does not encourage enthusiasm. The thought strikes me as leading to one question: Why are we bothering with Presidential ballot access? It’s not that we are using it to run Libertarians, at least not recently. There is also the record of how they spent their campaign funds, which is not encouraging. Readers should take careful note of prominent Libertarians who supported Barr-Root-Johnson-Weld, and give them a chance to do something useful, like organizing a block committee (street committee might be too much of a strain).

  32. Thomas Knapp

    “I do not agree with Tom Knapp about a great deal”

    I thought we agreed on quite a bit. Pretty much on all the things where you aren’t wrong! 😉

  33. paulie Post author

    Why are we bothering with Presidential ballot access?

    It helps get people involved with the LP in the first place, which in turn helps local candidates, some of whom can win, and others make enough impact on the election to cause policy change.

    do something useful, like organizing a block committee

    Great advice.

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