By Jim EllisJune 13, 2019 — The Michigan Information & Research Service (MIRS) released an independent poll just a couple days ago from the Practical Political Consultants organization (June 5-9; 335 likely MI-3 Republican primary voters) that finds western Michigan Rep. Justin Amash (R-Cascade Township/Grand Rapids) trailing his announced 3rd Congressional District Republican primary opponent, state Rep. James Lower (R-Greenville), by a lopsided 49-33 percent count.
After Rep. Amash became the only Republican to side with the Democrats’ informal impeachment caucus over whether to bring proceedings against President Trump, speculation became more rampant that the five-term Michigan congressman would seek the Libertarian nomination for president. The new poll and his action earlier in the week of resigning from the Freedom Caucus and its leadership fuels more speculation that he will jump into the presidential contest.
Many are arguing that Amash would have an effect upon the national election to the point of potentially costing President Trump victory, or at the very least, the state of Michigan, but such an outcome is far from determined.
The Libertarian presidential nomination has some value in that the party can qualify for the ballot in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. It is the only political entity aside from the Republican and Democratic parties that has such an ability. Jill Stein, the 2016 and 2012 Green Party presidential nominee, appeared on the ballot in 45 and 38 states, respectively.
However, just how much of a factor are the individuals who represent the minor parties on the presidential ballot? Former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson was the Libertarian nominee in both 2016 and 2012. He has already said he will not be a candidate in 2020. In 2012, his national vote total was 1.27 million. Four years later, his aggregate vote number soared to just under 4.5 million. But, was that due to Johnson himself, or is the Libertarian ballot position, regardless of the candidate’s name associated with it, simply the best place for disaffected voters to cast a ballot?