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Thread: Justin Amash Could Derail Either Party

  1. #1

    Justin Amash Could Derail Either Party

    An opinion article about Justin Amash and ranked-choice voting.

    Justin Amash could derail the White House ambitions of either party. Here's how to handle that.

    "Kurt Couchman served in the Washington, DC, office of Representative Justin Amash from 2011 to 2015. He now conducts government affairs for a nonprofit advocacy organization. The opinions expressed in this commentary are his. Read more opinion articles on CNN."

    (CNN) President Donald Trump and other prominent politicians summarily dismissed Rep. Justin Amash's declaration of independence from the Republican Party. That's a mistake. Amash could upend the 2020 presidential contest and congressional elections as a third-party presidential candidate, and neither party is prepared for that eventuality.

    Those who don't know Amash usually misunderstand and underestimate him. But having served as a policy adviser in his congressional office for four years, I don't. If he gains third-party backing for a presidential race, he would likely have a massive impact.

    How could a much lesser-known candidate possibly compete with the Republican and Democratic electoral juggernauts? His chances of winning the presidency are vanishingly small. But he could attract votes that would have otherwise gone to the Republican and Democratic nominees, thus complicating the race enormously. That is, unless our system is reformed to let voters rank their preferences -- and avoid a spoiler situation.

    As a constitutionalist, consistent proponent of liberty, devoted family man, and faithful Christian, the now-former Republican could easily attract votes from otherwise reluctant Trump voters. And in competitive states like Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and, of course, Michigan, small margins make a big difference. Also, he would draw votes from Democrats. He opposes corporate welfare and other forms of corruption, he vocally backs civil liberties against both parties' leadership, he stands against global militarism, and he frequently engages bipartisan coalitions to advance reforms.
    How Justin Amash's one-man revolt vs. Trump could gain steam

    If Democrats nominate a far-left, socialist sympathizer, Amash's commitment to fiscal responsibility, coalition-building, and the public interest over special interests could easily draw support from disaffected Democratic voters.

    Of course, Amash certainly wouldn't have equal resources. Even so, backing from the Libertarian Party would provide a strong tailwind. In 2016, the party secured ballot access in all 50 States and DC for nominee Gov. Gary Johnson. Johnson never cleared the 15% threshold in five nationwide polls to participate in the presidential debates, but he still set a record for the party with 3.27% of the popular vote.

    Amash has his own significant strengths. He is among the most thoughtful and careful members of Congress, and his ability to resist political pressure is legendary. From the beginning of his time in Congress, he has applied a faithful understanding of the Constitution and rigorous policy analysis -- supported by my colleagues and me -- to every question that came before him. Now in his ninth year in the House, he has developed informed views on a wide range of federal issues. He would be formidable and articulate in debates, and he has the social media acumen to reach the people directly.
    Democrats are using wrong method to narrow their choices for 2020

    If he, like Johnson, tapped someone like former GOP Gov. Bill Weld, currently a Republican challenging Trump for the GOP nomination, as running-mate, the experience of a statewide chief executive would add depth and balance.

    Republicans and Democrats do, however, have an opportunity to keep Amash from blowing up the race and weakening the ultimate winner. That option is called "ranked-choice voting," "single-transferrable ballot," or "instant run-off voting." A voter would rank their top two or three choices for the office, and if the first (or second) vote isn't one of the two finalists, the vote transfers to the next choice.

    To be specific, a voter may want to back Amash, but she'd vote for Trump to avoid giving the Democrat an advantage. Her friend prefers Trump to the Democrat but dislikes Trump -- or likes Amash -- enough to vote for Amash anyway. Some would break each way. With ranked-choice voting, both could ultimately support Trump without "throwing their votes away." This dynamic applies equally for Democrats.

    In either case, if each voter lists a major party candidate, the victor would have the support of at least half of the American electorate. Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Trump's mandates were each weakened by initially winning with only pluralities. We can do better.

    Ranked-choice voting would, of course, also reveal more support for minor parties. Far from being a challenge to the viability of the dominant parties, it would help them improve their appeal to more independent voters, thus improving representation for everyone.

    Admittedly, only Maine has adopted ranked-choice voting statewide, but a dozen states have experience with it. Nonetheless, the stakes for 2020 are incredibly high, and the American people need clear outcomes.

    Enacting ranked-choice voting for selecting a president through the Electoral College is generally a State responsibility (Art. II, Sec. 1), however. For regulating congressional elections, on the other hand, the Constitution empowers States, but Congress is authorized to step in "at any time" (Art. I, Sec. 4). If Congress required this reform for its own elections, most States would likely conform the presidential process in short order, especially as more citizens recognize the benefits.

    Neither Republicans nor Democrats know how the 2020 presidential contest will develop. No matter what, if Amash enters the race, the dynamics will change dramatically. To ensure that the ultimate victor has a mandate, however, Congress and the States should enact ranked-choice voting without delay.
    Support Justin Amash for Congress
    Michigan Congressional District 3

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  3. #2
    If anyone has paid attention to historical 3rd party candidates impact, it usually consists of someone with a very high profile and powerful personality and someone with buku money. Justin has some personality but let's be's not on the level of Trump or Perot, or even better examples such as the charisma of a Eugene Debs or Teddy Roosevelt.
    Quote Originally Posted by Swordsmyth View Post
    They are coming home, all the naysayers said they would never leave Syria and then they said they were going to stay in Iraq forever.

    It won't take very long to get them home but it won't be overnight either but Iraq says they can't stay and they are coming home just like Trump said.

    Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect - Mark Twain

  4. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Todd View Post
    If anyone has paid attention to historical 3rd party candidates impact, it usually consists of someone with a very high profile and powerful personality and someone with buku money. Justin has some personality but let's be's not on the level of Trump or Perot, or even better examples such as the charisma of a Eugene Debs or Teddy Roosevelt.
    I agree. I hope he doesn't run for president in 2020, even though it'd be fun to see. He needs to prove he can be win as an independent first and that starts with his congressional re-election.
    Last edited by EBounding; 07-11-2019 at 08:53 AM.
    Support Justin Amash for Congress
    Michigan Congressional District 3

  5. #4
    I don't have strong feelings about whether he should or not. But the possibility is starting to seem more exciting.

    Obviously there's a limit to how many votes he could ever get on an LP ticket. But I think beating GJ's 2016 performance is very realistic for him. And getting into the debates would not be outside the realm of possibility.

  6. #5
    Or BOTH...

    why I should worship the state (who apparently is the only party that can possess guns without question).
    The state's only purpose is to kill and control. Why do you worship it? - Sola_Fide

    Baptiste said.
    At which point will Americans realize that creating an unaccountable institution that is able to pass its liability on to tax-payers is immoral and attracts sociopaths?

  7. #6
    Off topic, but women have been slobbering about his arms since his town hall

    Support Justin Amash for Congress
    Michigan Congressional District 3

  8. #7
    He's a spoiler - he cant possibly win - I like him, but nobody will vote for him - this is only a 2 party system - he doesn't have presidential hair - cnn said bla_bla_fking_bla...

    Sign me up!

    Gulag Chief:
    "Article 58-1a, twenty five years... What did you get it for?"
    Gulag Prisoner: "For nothing at all."
    Gulag Chief: "You're lying... The sentence for nothing at all is 10 years"

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