What percentage of Americans are libertarians?

Justin Amash in the US presidential campaign : The third man who can poach at Trump and Biden at the same time

The news set the alarm bells ringing in the two major campaign centers, both for Democrats and Republicans: the non-party Congressman Justin Amash from Michigan is entering the presidential campaign. The 40-year-old wants to stand for the Libertarian Party.

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Is that to be taken seriously? Absolutely. Not because Amash has a prospect of becoming president. In that sense he has no chance.

But his candidacy can decide the fight for the White House - depending on which of the two main applicants Amash's application costs more votes, incumbent Donald Trump or challenger Joe Biden. There are numerous supporters in both camps who could make their cross at Amash in November because they are dissatisfied with their party's staffing offer. This is especially true for "independents", the voters who are not affiliated to a party.

Twice in the last three decades, such a third candidate has stumbled the favorite. In the 1992 election year, the Republican camp around incumbent George H. W. Bush was ahead of Democrat Bill Clinton. But then billionaire Ross Perot went into business as an independent. His main demand: put an end to debt and return to balanced budgets. He got 18.9 percent of the vote and cost Bush's father re-election. Bill Clinton became president; he received 43 percent of the vote, Bush 37.4 percent.

In 2000, consumer advocate Ralph Nader played a key role in the race for the White House, albeit with a lower share of the vote. Nader competed for the Green Party. He won 2.74 percent of the vote, Democrat Al Gore 48.4 percent, Republican George W. Bush 47.9 percent.

Ideological intersections with left and right

The outcome of the election after electoral votes was decided in Florida. The state was awarded to Bush after several lawsuits, with a 537 vote lead. Nader had won 97,421 votes in Florida. From then on, Nader was seen as the "spoiler" who cost Gore the victory and helped Bush to the presidency.

And now, 2020, so Justin Amash. He was a Republican and had won his congressional mandate in 2010 as a supporter of the "Tea Party" movement. On July 4th, 2019, "Independence Day", he left the Republican Party. Now he wants to increase his influence on US politics with the help of the Libertarian Party. His parents are Palestinian Christians who immigrated to the United States in 1956. Justin Amash studied law at the University of Michigan.

Germans and other Europeans sometimes find it difficult to understand what libertarians are and what about their worldview attracts many voters, because the movement does not fit into the local ideas of right and left. For example, they want to keep the state and the military small and are opposed to the large number of American missions abroad.

That sounds like left anti-imperialism. Unlike social conservatives, they do not wage religious wars against homosexuals or abortion, because sexual orientation is none of the government's business. In general, the state should not intervene so often. That sounds liberal. Like many conservatives, however, they also reject the expansion of the welfare state and rely on citizens to take responsibility for themselves.

The libertarian movement has ideological overlaps with left and right, with democrats and republicans. Its most prominent representatives in the US over the past two decades have been the Texas doctor, Congressman and presidential candidate Ron Paul and his son Rand Paul, currently Senator for the State of Kentucky.

The libertarians are particularly attractive to young Americans. Ron Paul, who ran for the White House in 1988, 2008, and 2012, attracted up to a third of first-time voters in the best of times and had tens of thousands of campaign volunteers, mostly teens and 20s.

Many voters are doubly dissatisfied: with Trump and with Biden

Under these conditions, it is not clear from which camp a presidential candidate Justin Amash will withdraw more votes. So whether he is more of a danger to Donald Trump because Amash comes from the Republican Party and was one of the determined Trump critics there until he left? He voted for Trump's impeachment. Or whether it tends to reduce Biden's chances by offering an alternative to voters who reject Trump but also don't like Biden?

The question of where Amash poaches more, with conservatives or progressives, of course misses the motivation of the libertarians. Your goal is to give as many US citizens as possible the opportunity to express their double dissatisfaction. Your dissatisfaction with Trump as well as your dissatisfaction with Biden.

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