In recent months, Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI) has publicly flirted with the idea of ditching the Republican Party for a Libertarian Party (LP) presidential bid due in large part to his disenchantment with President Donald Trump.
Amash’s long-time friend and fellow liberty warrior Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) thinks this move would be seriously ill-advised.
“My dad was a Libertarian candidate in 1988, and I supported him, but it has been difficult, because through the years there hasn’t been enough momentum gained to show electoral progress,” Paul said while appearing on Stand UP! with Pete Dominick.
Paul explained that the LP’s candidates are usually not up to snuff, and the Republican candidate is often more philosophically libertarian than whoever the LP puts up.
“I’ve actually tried to discourage the Libertarian, because I think they draw enough votes from the Republican, who often is a libertarian. We had a race in Virginia not too long ago where I thought the Republican was more libertarian than the Libertarian, who wanted…[to] raise the gas tax and put GPSs on everybody’s car to monitor their driving, which didn’t sound very libertarian,” Paul said.
Paul urges Amash to continue working in the Republican Party, as it is the only vessel that has ever successfully promoted the cause of liberty in the United States.
“I like Justin Amash a lot. I think he and Thomas Massie are the leading lights of the U.S. Congress as far as the libertarian perspective. You just have to decide to what is your end, because the electoral prospects don’t look that good,” Paul said.
“As far as trying to end war or do some of the things that we want to do as libertarians,” Paul added, “we have a better chance with, I think, a Trump than any of the ones on the Democrat side.”
Paul offered an anecdote showing President Trump’s libertarian, anti-interventionist instincts when it comes to foreign policy.
“I was in the Oval Office with the president and five or six hawkish senators. They had gotten a meeting to try to persuade him that they needed to stay in Syria, that the new mission in Syria needed to be to stay until the Russians leave, until the Iranians leave. Totally unrealistic sort of mission, and really nothing related to the original mission, which was the defeat of ISIS. And so they’re hectoring him to stay. He’s pushing back. But me being in the room helped him to have an ally, because he had no allies, and that’s a real problem. The five senators that had gotten the meeting with the president didn’t invite me. I got invited by somebody else, or I had a meeting with the president before them, so it worked out perfectly that I was in the room. But I’m the only one defending the president, as well as the president defending himself.
But I think that’s the hard part is, is that while the president’s instincts are good on ending these wars, the capital is swarming with this bipartisan 70-year consensus for war and for intervention, and that we should always be involved everywhere around the planet. And it’s just overwhelming.”
Amash would be wise to stay in the Republican Party, provide Paul with additional support, and work to grow the liberty movement that way. But after alienating his voter base with his constant agitation against Trump, joining the embarrassing joke that is the LP may be his only chance to stay in the limelight a little longer.