This article originally appeared on the blog of Heretic, the magazine of We Are Libertarians.
Denying Amash the LP Nomination Over “Purity” Concerns Would be Insane
Yesterday, Michigan Congressman Justin Amash announced that he was seeking the Libertarian Party’s 2020 Presidential nomination (it was also confirmed that he had officially joined the Libertarian Party, making him the first Libertarian congressperson in history).
One would think – given Amash’s excellent track record as a political independent, libertarian bonafides, Federal experience, and personal likability – that libertarians would be thrilled, overjoyed, absolutely moving heaven and earth to welcome Amash into both the Presidential race and party. But no, that’s not the case.
There are those who seem to think that Political parties are primarily for pontificating ideas, for making converts to an ideology, or for expressing purity. I say that’s absolute hogwash, and if that mentality bars Amash from getting the Libertarian Party’s nomination, then the whole apparatus deserves to be shattered, burnt to a crisp, and forgotten about as anything but a stupid, silly joke.
Political parties are for winning electoral and political victories. Spreading ideas and making converts is the role of organizations like We Are Libertarians, the Reason Foundation, the Cato Institute, etc. Personally, I think that spreading ideology is the more important function of the two, but that doesn’t mean that each organ of the libertarian movement should be primary dedicated to that.
If you want to be pure and spread ideology, find an outlet to do that (there are many). But please, leave the Libertarian Party alone to do what it needs to do – win electoral and political victories. And given the current sorry state of the Libertarian Party’s presidential candidate lineup, Amash is the best shot at doing that.