Voices & Choices

Potential Amash Run Illustrates Need for Ranked Choice Voting - UPDATE

Potential Amash Run Illustrates Need for Ranked Choice Voting - UPDATE

This post is an update to our previously published piece here.

Michigan Congressman Justin Amash, a former member of the conservative Freedom Caucus, is reportedly considering a 2020 presidential run as a libertarian. 
In May 2019, the Freedom Caucus condemned Amash after he came out in support of President Trump’s impeachment. Bereft of party support, last July Amash announced, in a Washington Post op-ed, that he was leaving the Republican Party and registering as an independent.
Facing Republican and Democratic challengers for his House seat, Amash stopped actively campaigning in February. Instead, Amash may decide to set his sights on the presidency.
But what would an Amash presidential run mean?
His former staffer Kurt Couchman wrote, in a July 2019 CNN op-ed, that he believes Amash could draw votes from both parties:

“As a constitutionalist, consistent proponent of liberty, devoted family man, and faithful Christian, the now-former Republican could easily attract votes from otherwise reluctant Trump voters,” Couchman said. “Also, he would draw votes from Democrats. He opposes corporate welfare and other forms of corruption, he vocally backs civil liberties against both parties' leadership, he stands against global militarism, and he frequently engages bipartisan coalitions to advance reforms.”


To prevent a scenario in which an Amash run means whomever is eventually elected president does not have majority support, Couchman backs an increasingly popular reform: ranked choice voting (RCV). 

FairVote advocates for RCV as a reform that gives voters more choice and voice in their election. RCV would prevent vote-splitting and guarantee any eventual president has majority support. It would reveal more popular support for 3rd parties, improving candidate outreach to independents and, thus, improving representation for everyone. As Couchman notes,

“To ensure that the ultimate victor has a mandate…Congress and the States should enact ranked-choice voting without delay…The stakes for 2020 are incredibly high, and the American people need clear outcomes.”

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