Justin Amash Takes Step Toward Libertarian Presidential Bid

Five-term congressman and critic of President Trump, US Rep Justin Amash said on Tuesday he’s launching an exploratory committee to seek the Libertarian Party’s nomination.

To run in the general election, Amash would have to win the Libertarian Party’s nomination during its convention, currently scheduled for May 21 in Austin, Texas.

Given concerns over the coronavirus, however, the timing of the convention could change. The Democratic Party, for instance, delayed its convention by a month, shifting it to an August start date, and hinted at changes in format.

Amash is the son of Arab immigrants and was elected to Congress in the 2010 Tea Party wave. An outspoken critic of Trump, Amash left the Republican party on Independence Day last year to become an Independent. In December, the only Independent in the House of Representatives voted for both articles of impeachment.

In an op-ed explaining his decision, Amash said he’d become disenchanted with the state of modern politics, which he described as being “trapped in a partisan death spiral.”

A third party bid for the presidency is a long shot, but Amash could affect the race by providing another conservative voice.

But former Illinois Rep. Joe Walsh, who tried unsuccessfully to oust Trump in the Republican primary, claimed in The Washington Post that Amash can “only help get Trump reelected,” arguing the most likely outcome of his effort is that he would siphon votes from presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden.

The Libertarian Party could have trouble getting enough signatures to be on every state’s presidential ballot, with concerns about the coronavirus.

See this story at NPR.