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Lincoln Chafee is running for president again, and opposes impeachment. Does anyone care?

Hot Daily News 24h - 2020-01-21

Lincoln Chafee is a former governor of Rhode Island, and before that was a U.S. senator from that state. He briefly ran for president in 2016 as a Democrat and is now running again, this time as a Libertarian. He told Salon last week that while he opposes most of President Trump's agenda, he also opposes impeaching the president. 'Too much energy,' he said, 'is being spent on whether these facts or so-called facts [of the Ukraine scandal] are accurate or not.' Chafee has had an unusual political odyssey. He was a Republican until 2007, one of the last of the old-line Northeastern moderates in that party to hold major office. Then he ran for governor as an independent in 2010 before becoming a Democrat in 2013. He switched to the Libertarian Party in March of 2019, saying he had always been 'fiscally conservative and socially liberal,' and announced on Jan. 8 that he would run for the Libertarian presidential nomination.Advertisement: That party has never quite become a serious player on the political stage, but it arguably showed signs of life in 2016. At one point during that campaign, the Libertarian nominee -- former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson -- polled at almost 13 percent, an unusually high number for a third-party candidate. Johnson ultimately got about 3 percent of the popular vote but didn't win any states or any electoral votes. (No third-party candidate has actually carried a state since George Wallace in 1968.) A survey taken last month suggested that between 11 and 15 percent of Americans were open to a third party candidacy. In addition to Chafee, it's conceivable that Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan, a former Republican, may run for the Libertarian nomination. Amash famously quit the GOP last July after becoming the lone Republican in Congress to support the impeachment process. because of his dissatisfaction with the GOP's willingness to back Trump despite the president's many scandals. Before speaking with Chafee, I reached out to Libertarian Party chairman Nicholas Sarwark for his reaction to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's decision not to include Amash among the House impeachment managers. Some observers had argued that naming him could add at least a token appearance of bipartisanship to the proceedings.Advertisement: 'There are two competing narratives about impeachment,' Sarwark said by email. 'One, that it is a purely partisan exercise by the Democratic Party that is mad that the President got elected. Two, that it is a constitutional legal process to remove a President who abuses his power and disrespects a coequal branch of government. 'By choosing only Democrats to be impeachment managers, Speaker Pelosi feeds into that first narrative, and in some ways feeds into the President's defenders,' Sarwark continued. Amash, he suggested, might have had 'the potential to persuade Republicans in the Senate who have an open mind about the evidence in a way that Democratic impeachment managers might not.' Pelosi, Sarwark argued,