Bill Weld, the former governor of Massachusetts and the 2016 Libertarian Party Vice-Presidential nominee who ran with Gary Johnson, has taken the first step toward challenging Donald Trump for the Republican Party’s nomination for president in 2020.
As the Hill reports, Weld announced on Friday that he is forming an exploratory committee to prepare the way for a possible presidential run, as a Republican, in 2020. Generally, an exploratory committee is a precursor toward an official announcement of a run for president, although it bears noting that Weld has not officially announced his candidacy and indeed may not do so if his exploratory committee finds that his candidacy isn’t viable.
Speaking in New Hampshire, Weld raised a complaint that has oft been leveled against Trump: that his mental state is simply not fit for the rigors of the job of president.
“[Our] President is simply too unstable to carry out the duties of the highest executive office — which include the specific duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed — in a competent and professional matter. He is simply in the wrong place.”
Who Is Bill Weld?
Weld, 73, is a businessman and politician who served as governor of Massachusetts, as a Republican, between 1991 and 1997.
— The Hill (@thehill) February 15, 2019
Unlike most rank-and-file Republicans, Weld, though strongly conservative on economic issues, was and is largely liberal on social issues. In fact, so libertarian-leaning is Weld that the libertarian think-tank the Cato Institute has given him top grades for his fiscal conservatism and social liberalism.
And indeed, his libertarian leanings also got him onto the Libertarian Party ticket in 2016, as Weld was tapped to be the running mate of former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson, who had also governed his own state as a Republican. The Johnson-Weld ticket got nearly 4.5 million votes nationally, eclipsing Johnson’s 2012 popular vote total and marking the Libertarians’ most successful presidential run to date, and the most successful third-party candidacy since Ross Perot in 1996.
Does He Stand A Chance?
Probably not, say Hill writers Max Greenwood and John Bowden, who note that the Republican Party has largely – indeed, almost unanimously – rallied behind Trump. They suggest that neither Weld nor anybody can unseat Trump for the Republican nomination in 2020.
Similarly, as reported by the Inquisitr, Weld’s “small-l libertarian[ism],” as he himself describes it, as well as his shifting party loyalties, are going to hurt him, says Massachusetts GOP state party Chairman Steve Stepanek.
“He ran as a Libertarian vice presidential candidate in 2016. As far as we’re concerned he’s a Libertarian and he can’t flip-flop back and forth for political expediency.”