On the Fourth of July, Representative Justin Amash announced that he was leaving the GOP. After holding office as a Republican for over a decade, Amash’s finely honed sense of propriety told him he just had to leave an irredeemably corrupt institution after spending its cash and conning its voters.
Today on Jake Tapper’s State of the Union, Amash announced that he was considering running for president as an independent.
Rep. Justin Amash (Mich.), a conservative critic of President Trump who recently left the Republican Party, would not rule out a 2020 presidential bid on Sunday, potentially complicating Trump’s path to reelection.
The prospect of an Amash insurgency, which would face significant hurdles, has unnerved some GOP strategists because it could pull libertarian and conservative support away from Trump, who won the 2016 election with razor-thin margins in six states, including Michigan.
“I still wouldn’t rule anything like that out,” Amash said in an interview with CNN’s “State of the Union,” when asked whether he would seek the White House as an independent or a third-party candidate. “I have to use my skills, my public influence, where it serves the country best.”
For the moment, Amash said he plans to run for reelection to the House next year as an independent. He said is he “very confident” that he will win his Grand Rapids-area seat again.
A presidential run is “something people talk about all the time,” Amash told CNN’s Jake Tapper, but it’s “not something on my radar right now.” He added that he does not have a timeline for a decision.
Amash insisted there is room for a fierce Trump critic like himself to rise nationally, despite the president’s perceived tight grip over conservatives. He said some Republican officials and friends have been “sending me text messages, calling me” to offer encouragement after his decision last week to leave the party, and did the same when he said in May that Trump had “engaged in impeachable conduct.”
It’s pretty hard to take this seriously, much less the Washinton Post headline that screeches that an Amash candidacy might affect the outcome in Michigan. The era of the “favorite son” candidate is long in the past, if it ever actually existed. And Amash, who is down by over 15 points in recent polls, is definitely not the guy conservatives in Michigan are going to rally to. To mount an actual presidential campaign, Amash faces the huge hurdle of finding anyone who wants him to run and a much greater hurdle of finding anyone who would contribute the amount of money to his campaign that it would take to enter the race for the presidency.
The best you can say of this is that Amash has read too many of his press clippings from his leaving of the GOP and thinks he’s popular. The most likely explanation is that the same preening narcissism that allowed him to see himself as the sole man of principle in the GOP is simply growing out of control now that he’s got the attention of the national media.