Big news? For Libertarians, sure, a party which has nominated former governor Gary Johnson twice and scored some of their best results ever with him as their banner carrier. It’s also big news for Republicans, at least in Michigan, where Rep. Justin Amash’ decision not to run for re-election as an independent probably means they will retain the MI-03 House seat, where Donald Trump won by ten points in 2016.

But is this a game changer in the presidential election? Maybe, although probably not in the way Amash and Donald Trump’s other opponents might hope:

Justin Amash, a Republican-turned independent congressman from Michigan, announced Tuesday night that he is launching an exploratory committee for long-shot presidential bid as a Libertarian.

Amash launched a website announcing he has formed an exploratory committee for a presidential campaign.

“Americans are ready for practical approaches based in humility and trust of the people,” he said in his announcement. “We’re ready for a presidency that will restore respect for our Constitution and bring people together. I’m excited and honored to be taking these first steps toward serving Americans of every background as president.”

Johnson managed to get 3.3% of the popular vote in 2016 and get some attention from the national media, albeit more as a curiosity. That was no easy feat while stuck between Trump and Hillary Clinton. Johnson performed well enough that Libertarians might have thought to allow him a third try, but Johnson hasn’t indicated any interest thus far.

That makes Amash more valuable to Libertarians, especially in contrast to their current contenders. (The most national of these figures might be Vermin Supreme, although that could just be a bout of nostalgia on my part.) Amash has a much wider media reach, plus some sympathetic reporting springing from his opposition to Trump. The real question will be whether Amash can continue to deliver that to Libertarians in the fall, or whether the media might resent Amash’ potential for pulling anti-Trump voters away from Joe Biden as their only alternative.

That’s precisely what has other Never Trumpers concerned, Newsweek notes this morning. One of them even invoked the N-word … Nader:

Joe Walsh, a former congressman who recently ran unsuccessfully against Trump in the Republican Party’s 2020 primaries, said a vote for Amash in the next election “is a vote for Donald Trump.”

“Justin knows that. If he runs, he knows he’d be helping Trump. Justin knows Trump is a unique threat to America. If Justin runs, he’s putting his own interest before the country’s interests. If he runs, shame on him,” Walsh wrote on Twitter.

Tom Nichols, a professor of national security affairs at the U.S. Naval War College and a conservative who opposes Trump, also took aim at Amash.

“There is zero chance – zero – that Justin Amash will win the presidency,” Nichols wrote on Twitter. “There is plenty of chance that Amash’s votes will not come from Trump’s cult, but at Biden’s expense. There is a large chance this will reelect Trump. Thanks for being the new Ralph Nader.”

Nichols added: “If Amash can take MI and enough votes in two or three other states, Trump is back in. A lot of people have been hoping for an option where they can say they voted *against* Trump, but not *for* a Dem, and still get Trump anyway while claiming their hands are clean.”

There’s certainly that risk, but that was true with Johnson as well. To be fair to the Libertarians, it’s far from clear that Johnson took away votes from Clinton or Trump, although both like to claim that. It’s also unclear — even though it has become Received Wisdom among embittered Democrats — that the five thousand people who voted for Nader in Florida would ever have cast ballots for Al Gore in 2000 absent Nader being on the ballot as a Green Party nominee. Those are assumptions based on little to no evidence at all. However, to the extent that it might be true, Amash presents Democrats with a problem in a state they desperately need to win in November, and potentially in places like Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, too.

It still seems overblown as a major issue, especially in comparison to the shortcomings of Democrats’ current nominee. Biden’s got 99 problems, and Amash ain’t one of the top ten, at least so far.

Amash might not be the only independent draw in November either. Speaking of the Green Party, guess who might be coming back into politics? As a Minnesotan, let me apologize in advance:

“IF I were going to run for president, the GREEN party would be my first choice. I’ve endorsed the party and I’m testing the waters,” Ventura tweeted Monday morning.

Ventura said in the fall that he would consider running in 2020 and told MPR then that he wouldn’t make up his mind until later, possibly in June. The Green Party is slated to select its nominee in July.

“To be clear: I haven’t filed anything,” Ventura wrote Monday. “I authorized a letter of interest that was sent on my behalf to the Greens and I’m testing the waters for Green Party nomination. I’m an independent. I’m not a Democrat or a Republican because I know they’re not the solution.”

The Greens might want to stick with Jill Stein. Ventura’s about twenty years past his sale date, so it’s tough to see him having any impact on the vote in November even if he does manage to convince the Greens to nominate him. Amash is much more current, and coherent.