Justin Amash, Member of the U.S. House of Representatives for Michigan’s 3rd congressional district, has announced his intention to become the Libertarian Party’s nominee for the upcoming presidential election. Having left the Republican Party in July 2019, he served in the House of Representatives as an Independent before recently joining the Libertarian Party, becoming that party’s first ever member of Congress.
The 40-year-old congressman from Grand Rapids, Michigan, has previously featured as a guest speaker at flagship event, LibertyCon. He has been known for his promotion of pro-liberty ideas throughout his political career, and has long been a self-described libertarian.
A former attorney elected to the Michigan House of Representatives in 2008 and the U.S. House of Representatives in 2010, Amash is a prominent advocate for government restraint, frequently emphasizing the importance of upholding the Constitution. He states that his voting record is founded on his core values, which include a commitment to individual liberty, limited government, economic freedom, the Constitution, and the rule of law.
Born in Michigan to parents who emigrated from Palestine and Syria, Amash has often argued for the benefits of immigration. Having acknowledged Frédéric Bastiat and Friedrich Hayek as political influences, Amash has been a fierce critic of excessive government spending over the course of his career, and has long promoted a simplified tax code.
When Amash was a member of the Republican Party, he frequently disagreed with many of his party colleagues on a variety of issues. He argued for decreasing military spending, opposed President Trump’s immigration policies, and has consistently criticized mass surveillance as part of NSA anti-terrorism measures. He has also strongly advocated measures to tackle the issue of political gerrymandering, arguing for the delineation of districts to be carried out independently from partisan interference.
In May 2019, Amash was the first lawmaker in the Republican Party to call for President Trump to be impeached. After subsequently leaving the party, he became the only non-Democrat to vote for an impeachment inquiry, or indeed to vote for either of the two articles of impeachment in December 2019.
Over the coming months, it will be particularly interesting to see what Justin Amash can contribute to the political debate. In the context of the 2020 presidential election, many supporters of both Donald Trump and Joe Biden believe that Amash could potentially act as a spoiler and hurt their candidate’s chances by splitting the vote.
On this issue, Amash believes that it is impossible to accurately predict which of the two rivals may be worse affected by his presidential bid, as he has many attributes and ideas that may appeal to segments of both the Democratic and Republican electorate.
Justin Amash’s announcement will inevitably foster debate from all sides of the political spectrum around the role of government, individual liberty, and economic freedom.
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