Just as Joe Biden was starting to gain traction as a presidential candidate, Justin Amash unofficially entered the race as a third-party Libertarian candidate against the former vice president and current president – Donald Trump.
At this stage of the game, it’s doubtful that Amash can win a single electoral vote – much less the White House. This has led to a great deal of speculation over which candidate he’ll drag down with him.
At first glance, Justin Amash might appear to be a sinister Democrat operative, inserted into the race to aid Joe Biden in his struggle to pull votes away from Donald Trump.
Amash is a former lawyer who has been serving as U.S. representative for Michigan’s 3rd congressional district for roughly a decade.
He was a member of the Republican party until July 2019 when he resigned from the party and became an independent .
Amash has consistently opposed Trump’s leadership, often stepping into the president’s firing line with calm, rational objections to his notorious Twitter rants.
Though he’d technically left the GOP by then, he was the only Republican-aligned House member to vote for Trump’s impeachment .
But the Democrats and Never Trump Republicans aren’t behaving as though Justin Amash is secretly on their side.
They worry that he offers another option to those who don’t necessarily agree with or like Joe Biden but don’t want to vote for Trump.
That’s true, of course.
Amash’s disconnection from traditional political parties would have enormous appeal— especially to the young voters that Joe Biden has struggled to engage.
Bernie Sanders supporters, in particular, have been a question mark for the Democrats. Many say they won’t vote for Biden, or that worse, they’ll vote for Trump.
The backlash Amash has received from Democrats only strengthens the case for his candidacy. Liberal complaints underscore the mistrust Americans have for establishment politics.
Even though he’s running on a different platform, Democrats don’t like Amash because he’s anti-establishment.
His politics stand in stark contrast to the party’s primary goals — gun control, immigration, and universal healthcare.
The only group he threatens to swing are those who don’t agree with their policies but hate Trump even more.
But for the Democratic base, Amash represents the opposition – not an alternative. This begs the question: Does the Democratic party believe its voters are stupid, or does the party simply not care about policies at all?
Amash advocates for a specific brand of government— one that doesn’t get involved where it’s not necessary. He champions the Constitution most of all.
His anti-establishment streak might sound like it would appeal to disaffected Bernie Bros, but his stance on key political issues is most detrimental to Trump – not Biden.
Polls in Florida show Biden narrowly defeating Trump , so the addition of another candidate is troubling. But 54% of Florida’s immigrant eligible voters are Latinos , a group whose priorities stand in stark opposition to Amash’s policies.
Key issues for that demographic are immigration and gun control . More than half of those polled by Pew Research say the current administration’s policies have hurt their community — 62% say they’re uncomfortable with the nation’s direction.
Although he’s more level headed, Amash offers Latinos more of the same. While he notably voted against funding Trump’s wall in 2018 , it was because of additional spending stuffed in the bill, not necessarily because of the wall itself.
And in Texas, where Trump has the edge on Biden , gun control is a massive issue among voters.
Polls show that eight out of ten Latino voters in Texas want stricter gun control . That’s not something Amash will deliver. He vows to protect the Second Amendment and eliminate the red tape involved in buying guns in the U.S.
Gun control is also crucial to female suburban voters in swing states like Pennsylvania who want to see stricter laws regarding firearms. According to Muhlenberg College professor Chris Borick, these suburban women can decide elections .
One is, there’s a high turnout rate among the group. And two, over the last few decades they have shown a willingness to switch party allegiance
For now, Amash is only exploring the potential of a presidential bid, but the Democrats’ response speaks volumes about their confidence in their candidate.