Editor’s note: We endeavor to bring you the top voices on current events representing a range of perspectives. Below is a column arguing that a Justin Amash presidential run could hurt Donald Trump’s reelection chances in November. You can find a counterpoint here, where Adam Goodman, a Republican media strategist and columnist, argues that Amash will ultimately take votes away from Joe Biden and help Donald Trump win reelection if he decides to run for president.
At a time when America is more polarized than ever before and the election stakes are at an all-time high, only a self-interested politician with an axe to grind would seek the presidency against a president as effective as President Donald Trump. That politician is none other than Justin Amash — the longtime Republican, then Independent, now Libertarian congressman from Michigan’s 3rd congressional district.
An Amash presidential run isn’t just a bad idea, it’s laughably futile. Unfortunately, exercises in futility are common side effects of Never Trumpism and, increasingly, the last resort for those fixated on opposing Trump.
Justin Amash’s vocal support of criminal justice reform, deregulation and pulling American troops out of the endless wars in the Middle East made him the natural successor to Congressman Ron Paul and an ally to Senator Rand Paul. However, while Senator Paul embraced the Trump administration’s championing of these policies, Amash isolated himself, choosing instead to attack the administration for non-substantive, stylistic differences, much the way Mitt Romney has done in the Senate.
President Trump’s arrival in Washington broke the deadlock on the issues Amash cared most about — doing more for criminal justice reform than any politician in American history and consistently rebuffing the national security establishment to bring our troops home and end the endless wars. As such, Amash should have been a staunch advocate for President Trump, rather than voting to impeach him and now contemplating a run against him.
Make no mistake, if Justin Amash does jump into the presidential race, the cast of Never Trump misfits, from all across the political spectrum, is likely to seek to exploit his candidacy to feed their insatiable need to undermine the president’s conservative agenda. Americans are sure to see the likes of Jeff Flake, Bill Kristol, David French and others praise, promote and amplify Amash’s candidacy if they feel the winds are shifting toward it negatively impacting the president’s reelection efforts. Thus far, they have been lukewarm to the idea. However, hatred for Trump is their primary motivator, so expect that as polling shifts so too will their allegiances.
Consider the Reuters Ipsos poll conducted May 4th through 5th of 1,215 American adults, including 1,015 who identified themselves as registered voters. The poll found that Biden leads amongst registered voters with 43% saying they will vote for him, compared to 41% that said they would vote to reelect President Trump. While this is within the poll’s margin of error, it becomes concerning when you account for the fact that 7% of registered voters said they will support “some other candidate.”
Admittedly, the 2016 election cycle taught us to take polling data with a grain of salt. However, the question remains as to whether the Never Trump crowd’s amplification of Amash’s candidacy could prove to hurt the president more than Joe Biden. With essentially zero paths to actual electoral success, it’s obvious that Amash’s sole motivation is to act as Trump’s spoiler. Can he succeed with his own version of the Jill Stein or Ross Perot effect? Given the stakes of the 2020 election, it’s not a concern that Republican activists and Trump supporters should dismiss out of hand.
Grassroots conservatives across the country should redouble their efforts to inform their fellow voters of the tremendous accomplishments President Trump has achieved while in office. They must focus on Trump’s record as the most pro-life, pro-family, pro-healthcare freedom, pro-economic prosperity, pro-opportunity, and pro-America leader ever to occupy the office.
If Republican Party activists can be successful at getting the president’s message out to voters, Justin Amash, and the Never Trumpers who will surely prop him up, will meet the same outcome as every other ill-fated attempt to hurt this president — total failure.
Americans know a winner when they see one. It is why they elected President Trump in the first place.
Justin Amash is not a winner, he’s a has-been congressman.
Jake Hoffman is a contributing columnist at Townhall, the President and CEO of Rally Forge, one of the nation’s top conservative digital communications and media strategy firms, and an elected official in Arizona. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter.