Last night U.S. Rep. Justin Amash announced he’s launched a presidential exploratory committee. If he secures the Libertarian Party’s nomination, there is little chance that he will win the presidential race. (Let’s not say zero chance. It’s best not to become too hung-up on probabilities when it comes to presidential politics. Otherwise, why do so many people vote with a 1 in 60 million chance of affecting the outcome of the general election?)
Still, since he announced Tuesday, the sliver of hope I had that this fall’s election might feature some meaningful discussion about principles that really matter has notably expanded. Yes, it’s still politics, soundbites stick, and the media matter. But Amash has deep principles and obvious intelligence to draw on during his campaign. His candidacy probably won’t result in a win for the liberty movement in the Electoral College, but the values and rationale Amash and his supporters are able to express during the time of his campaign could plant seeds that make a difference over the long haul.
Rather than restating what he’s already made abundantly clear himself, let me offer some tweets, mostly from Amash , that illustrate ten things I hope we’ll hear much more about as the 2020 presidential election approaches.
1. Respect for the Constitution. It certainly received pride of place among his announcement graphics (see above).
2. The importance of the Rule of Law. Note the key quote from F. A. Hayek in his Twitter bio.
3. A liberty-based argument for life. David French highlighted Amash’s record on this count today.
4. Economic literacy. For one, he’s an elected official that knows “the economy” is not a thing.
5. A Christian voice within the liberty movement. There are many, but as candidate for leader of the free world, Amash would be in a position to make a strong case for liberty to Christians and provide an authentic Christian perspective palatable to liberty lovers.
6. Push-back against the pall of partisanship.
7. Immigrant success stories.
8. Actual family values.
9. Admirable character. It’s exciting to think a candidate might rise above the lesser- of-two-evils criterion and simply not be evil. It’s sad that we, women especially, are otherwise being pressured to choose which candidate is “least rapey.”
10. The limits of executive power.
And, bonus, did I mention, he’s a fan of Hayek? It seems unlikely to be a coincidence that Amash recommended this seminal article during a pandemic where making order, not chaos, requires effective use of decentralized knowledge.