- Gage Skidmore, Flickr Creative Commons
- U.S. Rep. and 2020 Libertarian Party candidate Justin Amash.
For weeks, outlets have reported almost as a given that should he clinch the Libertarian Party nomination for president, U.S. Rep. Justin Amash, an independent from Grand Rapids, would harm Democrat Joe Biden's campaign, and not Republican Donald Trump's.
The notion defies common sense — Amash was a Republican until he left the party
last year, and has the voting record to prove it — but the logic goes something like this: If the 2020 election is a referendum on Trump, then "adding more anti-Trump candidates dilutes the anti-Trump vote, which hurts Democrats," John Sellek, CEO of the consulting firm Harbor Strategic Public Affairs, told The Detroit News
. Joe Walsh, who ran an unsuccessful Republican primary challenge against Trump, wrote in The Washington Post
that "the only candidate who can beat Trump is the Democratic Party nominee ... any vote that's not for the Democratic nominee is effectively a vote for Trump."
With Biden closer to the center politically than Trump, we suppose we could imagine him potentially picking off some #NeverTrump Republicans who might have otherwise voted for Amash. And a 2019 poll featuring a hypothetical matchup
between Biden, Trump, and Amash found Amash would drop Biden's 12-point lead by six points.
A new poll, however, released by Monmouth University on Wednesday, found Amash was unlikely to tilt the scale either way
. The poll was conducted between April 30 and May 4, and has a margin of error of 3.6 percentage points.
According to the poll, Biden has support from 47% of registered voters, while Trump has 40% and Amash has 5%. Without Amash in the mix, Biden had 50% support and Trump had 41%, with 3% saying they plan to back an independent candidate and 5% undecided.
In 2016, Trump won Michigan by just 10,700 votes. Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson won 172,000 votes.
Should Amash get the Libertarian nomination, we can all rest assured that whatever happens in November, both Republicans and Democrats will absolutely blame Amash if they lose.
Stay on top of Detroit news and views. Sign up for our weekly issue newsletter delivered each Wednesday.