It’s been a busy year for Freedom Caucus co-founder Justin Amash.
After a tweetstorm a few months ago in which he split from the GOP in making the claim that there was enough in the Mueller Report to justify the impeachment of Donald Trump, he has left the Freedom Caucus, he’s left the Republican Party, and he’s now insinuating that he may launch a bid for the presidency in 2020.
Amash is clearly no threat at all to win the White House next November, but his presence as a conservative alternative to President Trump could leech enough votes from Republican voters to give Democrats a clear path to Electoral College victory.
In an interview with CNN this weekend, Amash was asked directly if he’s thought about making an independent bid in 2020.
“I still wouldn’t rule anything like that out,” the Michigan congressman said. “I have to use my skills, my public influence, where it serves the country best.”
Amash told Jake Tapper that right now his focus was on winning re-election in the House next year; he said that he was “very confident” in his ability to retain the seat and that running for president is “not something on my radar right now.”
Still, the fact that he won’t rule out a campaign is surely enough to send a little thrill through the last remaining NeverTrumpers in the country.
On the other hand, the Bill Kristols of the world might want to be careful what they wish for. In an insightful column for National Review, John Fund spoke to an adviser to President Trump who said that a Libertarian candidate could hurt the Democrats as much as the president.
“The Trump adviser told me that while in many states a Libertarian would probably draw more votes from Trump than from a Democrat, that might not always be the case,” Fund wrote. “He points to a new poll in Amash’s home state of Michigan that shows Joe Biden’s lead among independent voters dropping from 13 percentage points to a tie when Amash is offered as an option. Biden’s lead in Michigan overall fell from 12 points in a head-to-head against Trump to only 6 points with Amash on the ballot.”
With a president as off-the-traditional-map as Trump, it’s almost impossible to tell how the cards will fall. We still don’t know who the Democratic nominee will be, and we’re still not certain whether or not Starbucks bigwig Howard Schultz will mount a third-party bid for the presidency. Meanwhile, Trump’s approval numbers are hitting record highs all over the place.
Hell, it could all come down to Marianne Williamson vs. Bill Weld.
Okay, probably not.