July 23, 2019

Hoping for Amash

Guest Opinion
By Donna Gundle-Krieg | July 6, 2019

Many Libertarians and others are buzzing about the possibility of Michigan’s own U.S. Rep. Justin Amash, a Republican representing the state’s 3rddistrict, from running for president on the Libertarian ticket. While Amash has not announced his candidacy, he has indicated, and acted as if, it’s a real possibility.

Having Amash run for president as a Libertarian would be one of the best things that could happen to our country. Libertarians and all freedom-loving Americans should support and advocate for his presidency.

A Libertarian candidate like Amash would give Americans a real choice beyond the two dysfunctional parties. The young but seasoned and principled congressman, who has represented the Grand Rapids and Battle Creek areas since 2011, is widely regarded as the most financially conservative member of Congress.

Regardless of pressure from peers on both sides of the aisle, Amash consistently votes for freedom, liberty, and lower government spending. He is exactly the type of president that our country needs to combat the current divisiveness, bloated government, and ever-rising national debt.

According to a 2018 Gallup poll, 57% of Americans believe there is a need for a third major political party. Yet the system continues to be rigged against any party trying to compete. Therefore, many of us continue to feel that we are forced to choose between “the lesser of two evils.”

An experienced and qualified candidate such as Amash has the best chance of helping a third party gain traction.

The Libertarian party, the largest and most viable third party in the country, will select our presidential candidate next May in Austin, Texas, at the 2020 Libertarian convention. Many of us from the Northwest Michigan Libertarian Party (NWMLP) will have the opportunity to travel to Austin to help select this person.

As always, this Libertarian convention promises to be controversial. If Amash declares himself to be a candidate, there will be division over whether Libertarians should support someone who has defected from another party. There are also the “anarchists” in our party, who want to elect radical candidates in order to dismantle government.

Despite differences among our party delegates, Libertarians should come together and support Amash as the most experienced and viable presidential candidate. He has always been Libertarian and is one of the few politicians to openly refer to himself as such.

In fact, his staunchly Libertarian and sometimes contrarian views have resultedin Amash being mocked or criticized by his GOP peers when he votes for liberty and conservative spending. This is one of the reasons he recently broke away from the House Freedom Caucus he helped found. 

In May, Amash took a beating from fellow Republicans when he held a widely publicized townhall meeting In Grand Rapids regarding the Mueller report. During this meeting, he stated that Trump "has engaged in impeachable conduct" based on the obstruction of justice finding.

Shortly after these comments on impeachment, Amash received a standing ovation from the majority of the audience. Of course, there were Trump-supporting members in the audience who did not agree, and they attacked Amash personally. When the audience booed these people, Amash urged them to show respect and gave his opposers respectful answers despite their personal attacks.

Amash proved at the townhall meeting that he can more than handle himself in a contentious debate setting. Despite constant attempts to rattle him and bring him down, he is always respectful, which is a refreshing change.

Amash’s voting record is even more impressive than his respectful demeanor. As he told The New York Times, "When voting, I follow a set of principles. I follow the Constitution. And that's what I base my votes on. Limited government, economic freedom, and individual liberty.”  

For example, Amash supports decreasing U.S. military spending and believes there is significant waste in the U.S. Department of Defense. He was one of eight House Republicans to vote against a bill that included $5.7 billion in border-wall funding. "This massive, wasteful spending bill was stuffed with unrelated items … . It’s amazing how some wall funding causes my fellow Republicans to embrace big government,” he stated. 

Amash has fought against civil asset forfeiture, believing that the practice allows for "innocent people to have their property taken without sufficient due process.” In fact, he helped introduce a bill to block the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) from financing its Cannabis Eradication Program through civil asset forfeitures.

Amash also holds Libertarian views on social issuesand believes that the government should let people live their lives how they see fit. For example, he supported a repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act, saying that the "real threat" to traditional marriage and religious liberty is government, not gay couples. He has also been a frequent critic of the National Security Agency's anti-terrorism surveillance programs; he voted against the reauthorization of the Patriot Act. 

In summary, Amash would make a reasonable, ethical, principled president and should run for the Libertarian nomination; his beliefs line up with the Libertarian philosophy of personal freedom, small government, and lower taxes.

The Libertarian party is rising quickly and should embrace, support, and advocate for an Amash candidacy. He is a person who can help leadour party to the next level.  

Donna Gundle-Krieg, owner and broker of DEK Realty in Mancelona, is the District 1 Representative for the Libertarian Party of Michigan. She is the chairperson of the newly formed Northwest Michigan Libertarian Party (NWMLP). dokrieg@gmail.com

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