Justin Amash Not Running for President After All

We won't have whatshisname to kick around any more.

WaPo‘s Dave Weigel (“Rep. Justin Amash says he won’t run for president“):

Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan has ended his bid for the Libertarian Party’s presidential nomination, just weeks after the former Republican announced it.

“After much reflection, I’ve concluded that circumstances don’t lend themselves to my success as a candidate for president this year, and therefore I will not be a candidate,” Amash wrote in a Saturday afternoon tweet.

Amash, who left the GOP in 2019 to become an independent, had been courted by Libertarians for years. On April 28, when he launched his presidential campaign — also on Twitter — Amash became the favorite to win at the party’s Memorial Day weekend convention, over some little-known activists and the party’s 2012 nominee for vice president, Jim Gray.

But Amash had told The Washington Post and other outlets he would only run for president if he saw a path to victory.

In his Saturday tweets, Amash said the path to victory was narrower than he thought, citing hurdles like a media “dominated by voices strongly averse to the political risks posed by a viable third candidate” and a public “understandably more interested in what life will look like tomorrow than they are in broader policy debates.”

The congressman’s announcement and interviews attracted wide coverage, but had not yet made much headway with voters. A CNN/SSRS poll released this week found that 69 percent of registered voters had not heard of Amash, while just 8 percent viewed him favorably and 13 percent viewed him unfavorably.

Other polls, which tested him in a matchup with President Trump and Joe Biden, found him with potential support in the single digits — less than the party’s 2012 and 2016 nominee, former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson, at similar points in the race between Trump and Hillary Clinton. Johnson also had to work to win over the party’s delegates, who have frequently nominated former Republicans for president, gotten past some minor disagreements with them, then been disappointed by their vote totals.

That Amash ever thought that a lightweight Representative running on the Libertarian ticket had a “path to victory” demonstrates that he’s not qualified to be President. That he thinks the reason is that “the media” wouldn’t give him a fair shot is childish.

Reason’s Matt Welch notes this is a less-than-ideal development for the Libertarian Party.

The congressman’s exit now leaves the Libertarian race bereft of names with strong national recognition or easy access to high-profile media. Future of Freedom Foundation founder Jacob Hornberger has won by far the most of the party’s nonbinding primaries and caucuses. Educator Jo Jorgensen, the party’s 1996 vice presidential nominee, won the Nebraska primary this week, and she eventually edged Hornberger out for second place in an instant-runoff voting exercise (which Amash won) among around one-quarter of Libertarian Party delegates.

The last third party to emerge to significance was the Republican Party, which first fielded a presidential candidate in 1856 and won the White House in 1860. All it took was the demise of the Whigs, the splitting of the Democratic Party into two factions, and an impending civil war.

While one might think the Party of Trump is ripe for replacement, its institutional advantages are enormous. It’s certainly not going to be supplanted by an ideological party whose strategy for fielding candidates is to look for the most prominent Republican willing to run under their banner.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2020, US Politics
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Kathy says:

    In his Saturday tweets, Amash said the path to victory was narrower than he thought,

    I would compete in the Indy 500 on a racing bike, but the path to victory is too narrow, the media are biased for all those teams using racing cars, and the fans don’t seem to care a bike can wave in and out of lanes in traffic.

    21
  2. Kylopod says:

    It’s hard to think of a time when the LP platform has seemed less relevant to the country’s problems–which is saying something. “The free market will save us” is not exactly an inspiring message during this pandemic.

    18
  3. MarkedMan says:

    The Libertarian Party is a joke, for many reasons, but perhaps the most telling is they don’t actually run Libertarians for president but rather pull someone too weird, obnoxious or old to sit with the cool kids at the Republican Party Lunch table

    10
  4. CSK says:

    Cult45 is celebrating this. I’m not sure why, since a number of pundits speculated that Amash would take more votes from Biden than Trump. But Cult45 is not too bright.

    11
  5. Sleeping Dog says:

    While one might think the Party of Trump is ripe for replacement…

    While the argument has been made that center-right repugs and center-left Dems could divorce themselves from their extremes to form a new party, that would represent America’s broad political center. That line of reasoning doesn’t make sense, as the center-left of the Dems is in control of the party. A more likely 3rd party scenario is the far left leaving the party and the center-right repugs becoming Dems. The most likely scenario is some center-rightist joining the Dems and others becoming independents and making voting decisions by the candidate, rather than the party.

    4
  6. Kylopod says:

    @MarkedMan:

    they don’t actually run Libertarians for president but rather pull someone too weird, obnoxious or old to sit with the cool kids at the Republican Party Lunch table.

    That was true in the last three cycles: Bob Barr in 2008 and Gary Johnson in 2012 and 2016. However, before that they did typically choose lunatic activists whose views were somewhat better aligned with the LP platform. They seem to be returning to that tradition in this cycle, since with Amash’s departure there are no former elected officials running at the moment.

    8
  7. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    A question to ponder is whether, post Tiny, will the Trumps maintain control of the party? I suspect they will try, but will not be successful. It is difficult to imagine that the white, racist cohort that is Tiny’s base would except Ivanka or Kushner and Don Jr, try as he might, only gets approval from them because he is promoting dad.

    3
  8. CSK says:

    @Sleeping Dog:
    The Stormfront sector of Trump’s cheering squad is very unhappy with Jared’s prominence, with Ivanka for having permanently sullied herself by marrying a Jew, and with Donald for permitting Ivanka to marry a Jew. The anti-Semitism is rabid.

    4
  9. @CSK:

    will the Trumps maintain control of the party?

    Once Trump is out of office, the scramble will be on by various factions within the party to reassert control. Trump’s power in the party derives from his ability to influence electoral outcomes, especially in primaries. Once he is out of office, that diminishes greatly.

    The kids will have very little real power, save for endorsements, and I have a hard time seeing that mattering all that much over time, although I would not be shocked to see one of them try and run for the nomination.

    6
  10. CSK says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:
    It was Sleeping Dog who posed this question, but I find your answer reassuring.

    1
  11. @CSK: Oops. I see that I hit the wrong “Reply.”

    1
  12. Kylopod says:

    @CSK:

    The Stormfront sector of Trump’s cheering squad is very unhappy with Jared’s prominence, with Ivanka for having permanently sullied herself by marrying a Jew, and with Donald for permitting Ivanka to marry a Jew.

    There was a great Politico piece in 2016 about the evolution of white nationalists’ relationship with Trump. (It’s long but well worth the read.) The upshot was that for most of the duration of Trump’s career as a public figure he was not well-liked by that crowd, who not only hated when Ivanka converted and married Jared, but often saw Donald as secretly Jewish himself–or at any rate too enmeshed with the New York business world (which itself they tended to view as “Jewish”) to trust. Even as Trump began to position himself as the candidate of racists–first with his birther blitz in 2011–they were slow to warm to him. According to the article, the turning point was not even his initial entry into the 2016 race, or his subsequent attacks on Mexicans and other groups. It was the incident where he refused to disavow David Duke. That convinced almost the entire WN world that he was wink-winking at them, and that any statements of his to the contrary were simply done as political cover.

    But yes, they’ve continued to hate Jared; in fact he frequently becomes a scapegoat for anything the Trump Administration does that they don’t approve of. (It reminds me a little of how Southerners in the 1930s, whenever FDR did something they didn’t like, they blamed Eleanor.) On the other hand, David Duke has heaped effusive praise on Stephen Miller. I guess he’s the honorary Aryan of the administration. Not that they would hesitate for a second to toss him in the gas chamber along with the rest, of course….

    8
  13. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Once Trump is out of office, the scramble will be on by various factions within the party to reassert control.

    I suppose it depends on how you define ‘faction’. The Republican Party remade itself into a cult of personality. So, I suspect the fight will not be between ideological factions, but rather a fight to be the next cult leader. Rather like any number of South American or African countries.

    The Republican Party no longer has an ideology of any internal consistency, it’s nothing but a rubber stamp for the caudillo. So they’ll go looking for another strong man. What’s their alternative? Fiscal prudence? Ideological collapse led to Trump, and once they found their strong man, there was no way back. They’ll just look for a more effective strong man and their ideology will be whatever he says it is.

    6
  14. CSK says:

    @Kylopod:
    Thanks for the link. I look forward to reading that piece.

  15. @Michael Reynolds:

    The Republican Party remade itself into a cult of personality. So, I suspect the fight will not be between ideological factions, but rather a fight to be the next cult leader.

    The bottom line remains that most people are Trump voters because he is a Republican and the next Republican nominee will have the ability to shape the party. It may, or may not be, someone like Trump. I think you overstate the “cult of personality” more than a bit, as I have noted before because you overly focus on the vocal supporter such as the rally-attenders (who are, ultimately, only a small sliver of the voters needed to elect a president).

    In general, you overdo the “cult” part because, again, most voters are locked into D or R no matter who the candidate is, a problem that our very system of election perpetuates.

    The Republican Party no longer has an ideology of any internal consistency,

    I would argue that the GOP is currently a coalition of a segment of very wealthy corporate types who want deregulation and low taxes (especially on investments and corporations), Evangelicals who want the courts to block abortion and gay/trans rights, and whites who fear loss of cultural and political power. There is also a key element of skepticism about government in general (which has been fostered by the corporate types).

    The next nominee could be another populist who acts like Trump, or it could be a more corporate type (i.e., a regression back to a more “normal” candidate). I very much fear a smarter version of Trump in the future, so I am not downplaying that possibility. But I really think you overstate the degree to which it follows automatically that this is now the fate of the party henceforth. And 2024 is a long way away.

    What I really fear, and maybe this is what you are trying to say, that the party will go further down the white nationalism pathway, fortified by a specific brand of Evangelical Christianity.

    11
  16. Mister Bluster says:

    …Amash said the path to victory was narrower than he thought,..

    Does this mean he can’t have any more kids?

    2
  17. MarkedMan says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: I think you have defined “cult of personality” out of existence. To my ear you are saying that since the rabid and determined supporters exhibit are a minority of party supporters, then the Republican Party is not a personality cult. But by that definition even Hitler or Mussolini would not qualify.

    4
  18. Kit says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    The bottom line remains that most people are Trump voters because he is a Republican and the next Republican nominee will have the ability to shape the party.

    That sounds like evergreen commentary that could be offered after any president whatsoever.

    The next nominee could be another populist who acts like Trump, or it could be a more corporate type (i.e., a regression back to a more “normal” candidate).

    So we might advance, we might regress. Might get better, might get worse. When hasn’t that been the case? You’ve studied other democracies. This is where I would like to hear how others have fallen victim to cults of personality and how they evolved.

    1
  19. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    It’s Sunday and you’re absolved.

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    The religious right, business, soft white supremacist three legged stool has been quite stable for Rep since Nixon, but the advent of nationalist conservatism, politicians like Josh Hawley and increasingly Rubio threaten to split the business wing at the same time the parts of the business wing are uncomfortable with the casual racism that is now common.

    There will be a scramble, but we maybe surprised by the factions.

    3
  20. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:
    I don’t believe this is about party loyalty, I think it’s about racial and religious solidarity. Those things go deep, ‘Republican’ is just a label.

    The GOP was supposed to be the conservative party and there is nothing conservative about it now, it is simply white supremacy, primitive religion and greed. The party was never anything but a mask useful for distracting the hoi polloi with prattle about morality, and now Trump has torn the mask away. I mean, is there anyone under the age of 40 who is ever going to listen to Republicans lecture on morality? Republican voters don’t vote for billionaires, or for an economic agenda, they vote for Jesus and white folks and guns, and against city folk and libruls and all them not-real Americans.

    It’s not shocking that Republicans avoid contact with reality, reality has turned on them. They can no longer be Republicans and participate in reality because the reality is that there is no God, small ‘l’ libertarianism is absurd, trickle down is a joke, and pretty much no one is up for a new cold war with China or another war in the Middle East. So what exactly is the GOP selling? What’s their plan? What’s their brand? Paint me a picture of a Republican future that doesn’t have giant wall murals of some Dear Leader or another. Fuhrerprinzip is all they have left.

    3
  21. gVOR08 says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    I suppose it depends on how you define ‘faction’. The Republican Party remade itself into a cult of personality. So, I suspect the fight will not be between ideological factions, but rather a fight to be the next cult leader.

    As Grover Norquist said, they only need a president to be able to sign his name. Reagan, W, and now Trump have provided what they need, someone with a “common touch” appeal who’s feckless enough to parrot their party line. W never quite made it, but Reagan was as much a cult of personality as Trump. What are the signature achievements of the Trump administration? A tax cut targeted on corporations and the wealthy and the appointment of “conservative”, i.e. pro-corporate, judges. And behind the scenes a myriad of regulatory cuts.

    Republicans are, and will continue to be, the party of plutocrats. They will continue to run on their faux populism. Koch, Adelson, the Mercers, and on, and on, aren’t funding all of this out of some principled objection to abortion. It may be someday the populist inmates take over the asylum. It may be that someday there’s a schism in the plutocrats. But I don’t see signs of either soon.

    5
  22. Michael Reynolds says:

    Five years ago no one had even heard of UBI. Now it’s very much on the table. Ten years ago no one was talking about college loan forgiveness, or seriously going carbon neutral. Twenty years ago you couldn’t find a serious critic of capitalism outside of lefty academia, now you can’t find a defender of capitalism under the age of 30. When at age 16 I declared myself an atheist I was in a very empty room all by myself, now, hell, you can’t turn on TV without finding an unapologetic atheist. When I was a kid, like most of the males here, I’d have had to fight – literally, with fists – if I so much as expressed sympathy for a gay person. I happened to stumble on a live Lynyrd Skynyrd performance of Freebird (so overused, but still, yeah,) on a stage with a massive Confederate battle flag behind them. Try that now.

    We have won the war of ideas. The rising generations care about economic inequality, global warming and the rights of minorities, what the hell is the GOP going to offer them? That’s why a panicky GOP has turned to a cult of personality to save them, because they know in their hearts they’ve lost the war.

    In my more optimistic moments I suspect that five years from now it will be as hard to find an admitted Trumpie as it was to find Nazis in the rubble of Berlin. I just don’t think millennials and whatever we’re calling the post-millennial generation, are going to put up with those people any more. It’ll be like trying to sell Buicks in Berkeley.

    4
  23. @Kit:

    That sounds like evergreen commentary that could be offered after any president whatsoever.

    Thatr’s the point. Most voters have not gotten on the Trump bandwagon because they are devotees of the Cult of Trump, most voters have gotten on the Trump bandwagon because he is the leader of the Republican Party at the moment.

    This may seem a facile observation, but it actually kind of important if the goal is understanding behaviors and outcomes.

    So we might advance, we might regress. Might get better, might get worse. When hasn’t that been the case?

    Also, that’s the point: I am arguing against the notion that we are automatically now in a spiral in which the GOP is always a trumpist party. I am not saying it is impossible–again, I am very concerned he party continues down the white nationalist path, but folks are getting simplistic about the future because of disgust with the present.

    You’ve studied other democracies. This is where I would like to hear how others have fallen victim to cults of personality and how they evolved.

    It depends on what you mean both by “fallen victim” and “cult of personality.”

    We seem to be forgetting that ever politician, to one degree or the other, has some level of a following based that could be described as cult of personality. People used to hang FDR’s picture in their houses. Think “Camelot” and JFK. Think Reagan. You don’t think that Republicans saw all the gushing about Obama on Twitter last night and wouldn’t see that as a “cult of personality”?

    I agree, as I have stated numerous times, that the MAGA hatted rally-attenders are a particular subset of Trump voter, and I have no problem seeing them as being in a cult of personality. But pretending like the whole of all GOP voters fits that description is simply incorrect. It ignores what we know about mass voting behavior and the power of partisan identity in a two party system.

    So, to your question: in established democracies, it can happen that a populist can be elected and do a lot of damage, but subsequent elections and administrations can work to fix the damage, although with varying degrees of success.

    If by falling victim you mean the collapse of democracy, that is a highly unlikely outcome in an established system, even one with our rickety institutions.

    4
  24. @Michael Reynolds:

    I don’t believe this is about party loyalty, I think it’s about racial and religious solidarity. Those things go deep, ‘Republican’ is just a label.

    But, of course, the point I am trying to make is that two overlapping factions that make up the GOP are whites who fear losing power and Evangelicals, who are also afraid of losing power.

    And of course a party is a label. The label is the essential element of any party. It is a shorthand around which the like-minded can coalesce to pursue political power via elections.

    And party ID can go very, very deep.

    And while you can dismiss why people coalesce around a label, or whether you think they should behave as they do is irrelevant to understanding the group dynamics in place here.

    I don’t need to accept the rationale of party members to understand how parties function.

    4
  25. @MarkedMan:

    I think you have defined “cult of personality” out of existence. To my ear you are saying that since the rabid and determined supporters exhibit are a minority of party supporters, then the Republican Party is not a personality cult.

    Why would the whole group be defined by a segment of that group?

    Plus, in these conversations folks often want to ignore causality. Most GOP voters came to Trump because Trump became the GOP nominee. It was not that most Trump supporter came to the GOP because Trump was the nominee.

    The most important variable for most people who voted for Trump was that he was the GOP nominee. If Trump had run as an independent, he would have lost (and badly). It is not the force of Trump’s personality that is the main variable. This is quite clear if you step back and look at the situation dispassionately for a moment.

    3
  26. @Michael Reynolds:

    The GOP was supposed to be the conservative party and there is nothing conservative about it now

    I have repeatedly noted that I think that the contemporary GOP is mostly reactionary.

    4
  27. Kylopod says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    We seem to be forgetting that ever politician, to one degree or the other, has some level of a following based that could be described as cult of personality. People used to hang FDR’s picture in their houses.

    There’s no question FDR was a cult of personality. I was even alluding to that fact when I mentioned how Southerners used Eleanor as a scapegoat so they could let their god-hero FDR off the hook. “Cult of personality” isn’t synonymous with “dangerous demagogue.” He’s still one of the greatest presidents. It’s not a contradiction. But it does explain a lot, including the fact that Truman was so underappreciated during his years as president; he was always seen as being in the shadow of his much greater predecessor, and could not maintain the broad coalition that practically worshiped FDR.

    Here’s an excerpt I quoted a few weeks ago from a book on the Depression by Robert McElvaine:

    As with most political figures, it is very difficult to find the real Roosevelt under his public mask, which almost always wore a smile. To most of those who knew him or met him, FDR’s dominant characteristic was reducible to the word “charm.” He was able to charm even those who opposed his policies or were not satisfied with the accomplishments of his programs. Millions of Americans credited Roosevelt for everything they liked, but blamed others for what upset them. This was especially noticeable among southerners, many of whom in the later thirties became uncomfortable with the New Deal but wanted to remain loyal to their party and President. “Now I understand how it was possible for my family to worship FDR despite all the things he had done during his administration that enraged them,” southern journalist Florence King has written. “…It was very simple: Credit Franklin, better known as He, for all the things you like, and blame Eleanor, better known as She or ‘that woman,’ for all the things you don’t like. This way, He was cleared, She was castigated, and We were happy.”

    Such reasoning was not confined to the South or to conservatives. Many working-class people who were discontented with the failure of the New Deal to go far enough wrote to complain…and at the same time to praise the President. “You send the stuff to Poor but we dont get It,” protested a 1936 letter. The writer went on to say: “What wonderful man you have been I will always vote for you.” After informing him that her family’s children were suffering from undernourishment, a Californian told FDR in 1935: “You are the best president we ever had.”

    Whatever a Roosevelt supporter disliked was someone else’s fault. For conservatives, the guilty party was likely to be Eleanor Roosevelt, Harry Hopkins, or Secretary of Agriculture Henry A. Wallace. For those on the left, blame was more frequently placed on relief administrators, Republicans, “Wall Street,” “the Interests,” or simply “them.” In any case, the fault was not the President’s. “I am sure the President,” a Seattle man wrote, “if he only knew, would order that something be done, God bless him.” …. Even people on the verge of starvation believed this. A mother of seven hungry children wrote to the President early in 1934: “You have tried every way to help the people.” Another Californian complained of “slave wages,” but wrote to FDR: “You are wonderful. But surely this treatment is unknown to you.” A Chicago man was another of those who were sure the President could not “know whats going around here.” The treatment of relief clients, he said, was very unfair, but “we know that it is not your falt but is the foult of those who are working in the relief stations.”

    Poor people were ready–even eager–to believe that local officials were destroying food and clothing to make the unemployed turn against FDR. “I’d give my heart to see the President,” a destitute North Carolina woman told FERA investigator Martha Gellhorn in 1934. “I know he means to do everything he can for us; but they make it hard for him; they won’t let him.” Here the “they” who were at fault were left unenumerated….

    Will Rogers captured the early attitude toward Roosevelt when he said: “The whole country is with him. Just so he does something. If he burned the Capitol, we would cheer and say, ‘Well, we at least got a fire started anyhow.’”

  28. JohnMcC says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: Is there research about the relationship between the highly committed minority and the more complacent majority. In my own mind I’ve thought of the RW media as a constant revival going on in the church of conservatism; Limbaugh and Hannity are just secular preachers of their gospel.

    You obviously look at the phenomenon and don’t see the majority being stirred. Just wondered about the research or historical study this sort of question. My opinion is pretty much shaped by the many stories one heard growing up in the cold war. The ‘Bolsheviks’ prevailed over the more numerous ‘Mensheviks’; the Nazis never won an election but had discipline and message. That sort of thing.

  29. JohnMcC says:

    Oh, and about Amash: That leaves Jesse Ventura, don’t it?

    Thank God for alternatives to the two identical major parties! Amirite?

  30. @JohnMcC:

    the Nazis never won an election but had discipline and message

    As I have noted before, the Nazis came to power in the context of a collapsing state and competing anti-regime parties (e.g., communists who wanted a revolution, monarchists who wanted to restore the crown, etc.) all in context of a severe economimc downturn.

    Narratives about message and discipline are way too simplistic.

    5
  31. MarkedMan says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Why would the whole group be defined by a segment of that group?

    Because it is entirely legitimate to define a group by the actions they take or don’t take, and it is usually only a motivated minority that pushes and pulls the group. The vast majority just go along. So you are correct in saying “the vast majority of Republicans aren’t in a Trump personality cult”, but that doesn’t preclude the Republican Party itself as serving as a personality cult.

    BTW, I’m not convinced that such is the case. I was merely arguing that you can’t use the majority to define a party. You have to use the motivated minority that is successfully pushing or pulling the party to act or not act.

    2
  32. gVOR08 says:

    @Michael Reynolds: @Steven L. Taylor: Corey Robin in The Reactionary Mind: Conservatism from Edmund Burke to Donald Trump makes a good case that “conservatism” has always really been reaction. Going back to Burke it’s been, as the current meme says, opposition to whatever liberals are for, updated daily.

    4
  33. gVOR08 says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    As I have noted before, the Nazis came to power in the context of a collapsing state and competing anti-regime parties

    J. K. Galbraith had a recurring line that there has never been a successful revolution that amounted to more than kicking in a rotted door.

    2
  34. @MarkedMan:

    You have to use the motivated minority that is successfully pushing or pulling the party to act or not act.

    That is different than extrapolating out that the whole of the GOP is a personality cult.

    And the fact that a vocal segment of the party is enthusiastically supporting its nominee is actually rather normal.

    Part of the point I keep trying to make in these conversations is that a lot of what we are seeinf is actually fairly typical behavior.

    2
  35. gVOR08 says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Part of the point I keep trying to make in these conversations is that a lot of what we are seeinf is actually fairly typical behavior.

    Seconding your comment, Ezra Klein, in Why We’re Polarized quotes the title of Hillary Clinton’s book What Happened.

    This was a question I posed in mid-2017 to Larry Bartels, a political scientist at Vanderbilt University. Over years of political reporting, I had come to value Bartels’s unsentimental analysis of American politics. Speaking to him has the harrowing quality of feeding questions into a computer that doesn’t care if you like the results. And as I poured out my theories of the election, he stared back with bemusement. After I had worn myself out, he replied in a way that has tormented me since: What if nothing unusual happened at all?

    Bartel’s own favorite fundamentals model gave Trump something like a 2 point edge in the popular vote. So if anything unusual happened, it favored Hillary.

    4
  36. Kylopod says:

    @gVOR08: I’ve mentioned it before, but Alan Abramowitz’s well-regarded election model showed Trump to be a favorite to win, but Abramowitz himself refused to believe it and stated publicly that he believed his model would fail that year. In a sense he was right: it was the first time since his model debuted in 1988 that it incorrectly predicted the popular-vote winner.

    2
  37. @gVOR08: There is something to that.

    @gVOR08: There is something to that as well.

  38. MarkedMan says:

    @gVOR08: I always marvel that when I became aware of politics in 70’s there were liberal Republicans and conservative Democrats. Heck, when Roe v. Wade was decided the editor of an influential Baptist magazine wrote an editorial praising the decision.

    2
  39. Teve says:

    It is worth remembering that Trump got a smaller share of the vote than Romney.

    4
  40. Kylopod says:

    @MarkedMan:

    Heck, when Roe v. Wade was decided the editor of an influential Baptist magazine wrote an editorial praising the decision.

    It wasn’t just one editor; the Southern Baptist Convention openly passed resolutions in support of Roe, and would continue to do so for several years until a right-wing takeover of the group in the late ’70s.

  41. gVOR08 says:

    @MarkedMan: Above @gVOR08: I quoted Ezra Klein, Why We’re Polarized. His first chapter is a survey of how little ideological difference there was between Ds and Rs for many years. This was because of the Dixiecrats, and changed with passage of the Civil Rights Act. Same story Dr. T has told here.

    And yes, there was no reason for a Baptist to be concerned about abortion. Protestants generally held that life began at birth. But the Falwell types saw how much money they could raise on the issue and rewrote their theology.

    1
  42. An Interested Party says:

    I would argue that the GOP is currently a coalition of a segment of very wealthy corporate types who want deregulation and low taxes (especially on investments and corporations), Evangelicals who want the courts to block abortion and gay/trans rights, and whites who fear loss of cultural and political power.

    What an incredibly toxic poisonous brew…

  43. mattbernius says:

    @Kylopod:

    It’s hard to think of a time when the LP platform has seemed less relevant to the country’s problems–which is saying something. “The free market will save us” is not exactly an inspiring message during this pandemic.

    Agreed. Though there was one bit of Amash’s interpretation that I really liked — he was a supporter of sending every American checks (multiple) without means-testing:

    https://reason.com/2020/03/24/the-most-libertarian-congressman-wants-to-send-people-checks-heres-why/

    As many of us said, it would have been a far fast, far more effective, and far more just (i.e. it would have reached a lot of needy people who were loopholed out of the current method).

    This sentiment, in no way, should be read as supporting Amash’s eventual voting against the relief packages we got.

    1
  44. Kylopod says:

    @mattbernius:

    This sentiment, in no way, should be read as supporting Amash’s eventual voting against the relief packages we got.

    That’s part of the Libertarian playbook. Even before this crisis, they often have at least made nods to some form of a safety net (remember, it was Milton Friedman who came up with the negative income tax), but it’s usually accompanied by a vast reduction in what’s already available. They essentially aim to slash the welfare state by making it much simpler, which helps explain why some libertarians have even backed UBI.

    2
  45. Northerner says:

    @MarkedMan:

    BTW, I’m not convinced that such is the case. I was merely arguing that you can’t use the majority to define a party. You have to use the motivated minority that is successfully pushing or pulling the party to act or not act.

  46. Northerner says:

    @MarkedMan:

    BTW, I’m not convinced that such is the case. I was merely arguing that you can’t use the majority to define a party. You have to use the motivated minority that is successfully pushing or pulling the party to act or not act.

    That’s a fair point, but why not simply go straight to looking at what bills the party actually passes (or tries to pass) in defining it, rather than defining it by the different directions different internal factions are pulling it.

  47. Northerner says:

    @Kylopod:

    They essentially aim to slash the welfare state by making it much simpler, which helps explain why some libertarians have even backed UBI.

    On the other hand, in Canada one of the groups backing UBI is the NDP (the left-most of the three main parties). Their rational is that the simplicity and universality of UBI would not only ensure that everyone got it (current systems with all their checks and balances allow many to fall through the cracks), but would reduce the stigma attached to getting welfare checks.

    Of course, already having public health helps a lot.

  48. mattbernius says:

    @Kylopod:
    That makes sense. My read was more along the classic libertarian lines of “if I don’t get what I want, I’ll vote for nothing.”

    I credit Amash for sticking to his principles. I question how well that strategy works out in a system that requires compromises.