Libertarian candidate Justin Amash, who marketed himself as a more palatable alternative to Donald Trump, will not run for president. Amash’s withdrawal from the race leaves voters with no third-party candidate at present.
Amash, a former Republican Congressman from Michigan, announced last month that he was explore a run for the presidency on the Libertarian ticket. Promising to bring “humility and trust of the people” to the White House, Amash garnered mild interest from anti-Trump media pundits, and scorn from Democrats who insisted he’d siphon votes away from Joe Biden.
Less than a month later, Amash withdrew from contention on Saturday. “After much reflection,” he tweeted, “I’ve concluded that circumstances don’t lend themselves to my success as a candidate for president this year.”
After much reflection, I’ve concluded that circumstances don’t lend themselves to my success as a candidate for president this year, and therefore I will not be a candidate.
— Justin Amash (@justinamash) May 16, 2020
Had he seen it through, Amash’s short-lived run for office would have been unlikely to do anything except put a dent into the Trump or Biden campaigns. Polls taken after he announced his intent to run placed him at around two percent. By contrast, 2016 Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson was polling around ten percent in March of that year.
The Libertarians meet next week to choose their candidate. Should they opt not to, or to run a completely unknown figure, this year’s election will truly be a two-horse race. At present, prankster and Gandalf lookalike Vermin Supreme is the most recognizable face angling for the Libertarian ticket. Before Amash announced his bid, Supreme won the party’s New Hampshire and Massachusetts primaries.
“F*ck,” he tweeted after Amash’s pullout. “I might just win.”
The Green Party, meanwhile, is expected to choose a candidate in July.
Whoever, if anyone, is nominated by the Libertarians, they can expect a rough ride. Third-party candidates are often blamed for the failure of mainstream campaigns. Businessman and Reform Party candidate Ross Perot was accused of drawing away votes from both Bill Clinton and George HW Bush in 1992; Ralph Nader was accused of denying Al Gore the win in 2000, and the Green Party’s Jill Stein was likewise accused of pulling votes from Hillary Clinton in 2016. Clinton herself remains bitter at Stein, and infamously referred to her as a “Russian asset” last year.
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