Amash is right that millions of Americans are unhappy with the choices the two major parties give them. But he is wrong in his implicit assumption that they yearn for a more consistently principled libertarianism.
Political analyst Lee Drutman showed this conclusively in a 2017 paper. Using data from a massive national poll sponsored by the Voter Study Group, he broke the U.S. electorate into four groups. The libertarians — socially liberal and economically conservative — were the smallest group, comprising only 4 percent of the electorate. Most of these people, moreover, were only slightly libertarian, meaning they are likelier to be suburban moderates than true Goldwaterites.
Conservatives are much more numerous — about 23 percent of all voters — but it is clear they don’t have the same priorities as Amash and Flake. Conservatives are the most partisan of Republicans and share Trump’s views on immigration and free trade. They may trace their lineage to Goldwater, but their views are decidedly less doctrinaire.
Amash is a man without a party because a party that embraced his ideas cannot win.