Weld May Run As A Republican

Reason reports that Bill Weld may ditch the Libertarian Party and run as a Republican for President in 2020.

WCVB, citing “sources,” reported that Weld “could make an announcement about a possible presidential run as soon as Thursday,” that “he has taken a leave of absence from his law firm,” and that “any possible run would be made as a Republican.”

https://reason.com/blog/2019/01/31/bill-weld-may-run-for-president-as-a-rep

107 thoughts on “Weld May Run As A Republican

  1. George Phillies

    THe Boston Globe contacted Weld, who denies the story on WCVB . He was still at work, he is not announcing anything, and he did not say he was running as a Republican.

    He will be addressing Politics and Eggs at St Anselm College, New Hampshire ont eh 15th, and may make a statement then and there.

  2. robert capozzi

    I certainly can understand the desire to challenge DJT. WW is NOT the guy to do it…as an R. He’s pro-choice, which is a non-starter with Rs. He might make a tiny bit of noise as an R, but mostly he’d be ignored.

    I still feel his highest and best use at this time is as Amash’s running mate. Given the rest of the “field,” if it’s not Amash, Weld seems the best option at the top of the ticket.

  3. Tony From Long Island

    I’m waiting for the apoplectic posts from LP members. Maybe he realizes that the LP will never escape the clutches of the extreme nutbags in the party. It’s unfortunate. There are many many fair-minded and pragmatic libertarians in the party but they are overwhelmed by the screams of the “more libertarian than thou” zealots.

  4. paulie

    pro-choice, which is a non-starter with Rs. He might make a tiny bit of noise as an R, but mostly he’d be ignored.

    Agreed.

    Given the rest of the “field,” if it’s not Amash, Weld seems the best option at the top of the ticket.

    Disagreed.

    I’m waiting for the apoplectic posts from LP members.

    I wish he would run as a Republican. It would make it harder for him to come back and try to run as a Libertarian yet again.

    Maybe he realizes that the LP will never escape the clutches of the extreme nutbags in the party. It’s unfortunate. There are many many fair-minded and pragmatic libertarians in the party but they are overwhelmed by the screams of the “more libertarian than thou” zealots.

    LOL. Doesn’t sound like the LP I know at all.

  5. paulie

    It may still happen but maybe not yet. We shall see. I’m not putting it past him, but I’m also not putting it past reporters to misquote people – I’ve been misquoted a number of times myself. Allegedly, their sources who are supposedly close to Weld said that if he runs at all it would only be as a Republican and that they were working with him on exploring that. Could have been BS from the sources or the reporters or Weld could be lying so the announcement makes more splash or he could be weasel wording (“I never said that” – well, no one claims he personally said that).

  6. Anthony Dlugos

    “I certainly can understand the desire to challenge DJT. WW is NOT the guy to do it…”

    As I mentioned in the January open thread, RC, it MIGHT be a deliberate ploy to try and make a play for disaffected Republicans/Republican donors without running as a Republican.

    As difficult a mountain to climb running for prez as a Libertarian is, it makes even less sense to run against Trump. The GOP hasn’t gotten better the last two years, its gotten worse.

  7. dL

    [Bill Weld’s True North is that he has No Truth North]
    https://www.bostonglobe.com/opinion/2019/01/31/weld-true-north-that-has-true-north/FeuMAVjbcQStyFoukwv9hJ/story.html

    Not a particularly glowing review of Weld’s two-faced politics from the Boston Globe. And the journalist here is “libertarian friendly.”

    I VOTED FOR Bill Weld in the 1990s, when he ran as a Republican for governor of Massachusetts. I voted for him in 2016, when he was the Libertarian nominee for vice president on a ticket with another former governor, Gary Johnson of New Mexico. If Weld runs for president in 2020, should I vote for him again? Should anyone?

  8. Anastasia Beaverhausen

    If it’s extreme to want my party’s candidate for President to actually *be* Libertarian, then tie me up in a bag and call me Mr Peanut.

  9. Tony From Long Island

    Fernando Mercado: Maybe this is why Darryl Perry hated him

    Then I guess he was doing something right.

  10. Anthony Dlugos

    We should nominate this guy! A “REAL” libertarian!!!

    John McAfee
    ?
    @officialmcafee
    People say I would be tough on the Russians. Nonsense. I long to have a drinking contest with Putin, and I have already registered with the 2020 Vladivostok public dick measuring contest, where, due to an extremely rare genetic deformity, I will, unquestionably win

  11. robert capozzi

    AB,

    Your construction doesn’t work for me. The point is NOT that a candidate should be “Libertarian,” because of course s/he should be. The question is: What IS “L”? IF it’s that a candidate must be a NAPist, because only NAPists are L, THAT is extreme. NAPism is extreme.

  12. Anthony Dlugos

    “IF it’s that a candidate must be a NAPist, because only NAPists are L, THAT is extreme. NAPism is extreme.”

    Hell, if we were faced with ONLY true-blue, philosophically consistent, genuine NAPists, I’d be a (relatively) happy camper.

    The bigger problem is the sorts of unscrupulous D-list- “politicians,” lowlifes and assorted a-holes that dogmatism tends to attract (e.g., Vohra).

    Look at it this way: Darryl Perry may be an inherently contradictory (since he has run for office) angry anarchist, but he’s consistent, I’ll give him that.

    How long has he been a Libertarian and done thankless party building work? Probably many, many years.

    Yet he got soundly trounced at the 2016 Convention by a bro-publican who showed up yesterday and left again back to the GOP, and who used the NAP to reinforce right wing prejudices against the LGBT community, women, and illicit drug users.

    The real problem with the NAP (IMHO) is not its inapplicability in the real world. Its that it draws in right wingers, paleos, and the alt-reich.

  13. dL

    The real problem with the NAP (IMHO) is not its inapplicability in the real world. Its that it draws in right wingers, paleos, and the alt-reich.

    Nope. The LP, which has a Non-Aggression pledge, has the most open borders position of any of the political parties. It’s position on abortion, while no longer unanimous, is still the solid majority. That claim is empirically refuted. Stop making it.

    The real problem is why an article on William Weld quickly deteriorates into Whaboutism, as in “What about Darryl Perry” or “What about Arvin Vohra.” Well, it ain’t about Darryl Perry or Arvin Vohra. It’s about William Weld. And here’s the thing. Weld’s two-faced politics(i.e, say different things to audiences), the kind of politics you pimp on this forum, got a serious reprimand from the Boston Globe, likely costing Weld and the LP a vote from the one sympathetic staffer on the Globe.

  14. Anthony Dlugos

    “The LP, which has a Non-Aggression pledge, has the most open borders position of any of the political parties. It’s position on abortion, while no longer unanimous, is still the solid majority. That claim is empirically refuted. Stop making it.”

    Refuted? You must be mad.

    We have an alt-reich problem which the pledge and platform were powerless to stop, a platform that supports “any initiative to reduce or abolish any tax, and oppose any increase on any taxes for any reason,” and an avowedly pro-life bro-publcan who beat the pants off the most NAP-compliant candidate at the 2016 Convention.

    Stop living in your fantasyland where a pledge is gonna stop anyone, and join the real world where the non-aggression pledge’s refusal to make any real world priorities between the severity of various aggressions and thus will inevitably draw in the only the most aggrieved right-wingers.

    Take your non-aggression pledge to 100 conservatives and 100 liberals and see which group you get a higher percentage of positive responses from.

    At least Weld got a reprimand from the Globe writer, and not the guffaws a NAP-compliant candidate would get.

  15. Chuck Moulton

    You assume too much when you conclude that the Peterson vs. Perry nomination vote totals reflect ideology. There were plenty of other reasons not to vote for Perry.

    For example, I supported Peterson over Perry because (among other things) 1) Perry was unwiling to file with the FEC or fundraise within the legal structure like a serious candidate, 2) Perry threw his hat into the ring for LNC chair at the last minute in 2010 and used his nomination speech time to encourage everyone to join the Boston Tea Party (showing no LP party loyalty).

    An ideological anarcho-capitalist / voluntarist without that baggage may have done far better than Perry against Peterson.

  16. dL

    Refuted? You must be mad.

    Only a bit impatient with your changing arguments. I didn’t say the Non-aggression pledge was sufficient to prevent right-wing entryism. I stated an empirical fact against your claim that the Non-Aggression pledge was sufficient to draw them in. Logically, those are entirely two different statements.

    And if you think any initiative to reduce or abolish any tax, and oppose any increase on any taxes for any reason is fascist, then the Libertarian Party is simply not for you.

  17. Jerry Kunz

    Ballot Access News says he changed his registration from Libertarian to Republican on Jan. 17.

  18. paulie

    Then I guess he was doing something right.

    I’m not a big fan of hate in general but Darryl was and is certainly right to distrust him, as his latest two faced tapdancing proves yet again (as if further proof was necessary).

  19. paulie

    long to have a drinking contest with Putin

    LOL. He wants to challenge a Russian to a drinking contest. OK.

    public dick measuring contest, where, due to an extremely rare genetic deformity, I will, unquestionably win

    Before or after eating his own dick?

  20. paulie

    [Bill Weld’s True North is that he has No Truth North]

    Bingo. I hope everyone who was swayed by his public promise to be LP for life to win the 2016 nomination for VP now understands their mistake in believing anything he says even after what he did to LPNY in 2006 among many others.

  21. Anthony Dlugos

    “I hope everyone who was swayed by his public promise to be LP for life to win the 2016 nomination for VP now understands their mistake in believing anything he says…”

    That would have been the dumbest, naivest possible reason for a fence sitter to switch to supporting him in 2016.

    Even asking him the question about whether or not he was staying was pointless and amateurish.

  22. paulie

    lnc-votes@hq.lp.org via googlegroups.com

    8:02 PM (1 hour ago)

    to LNC-Business, Justin
    LNC Colleagues,

    Boston media reported today that a town clerk had leaked information
    that Bill Weld has changed his voter registration from Libertarian to
    Republican. This is in advance of the Governor’s scheduled appearance at
    Politics and Eggs at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics on 02/15.
    This Breakfast at NHIOP has long been considered a must-attend event for
    presidential candidates, and many are encouraged to announce their runs
    at this event. Should Governor Weld intend to do so, I believe it would
    be prudent that our leadership and staff be well prepared for the
    inevitable media inquiries regarding the switch. I also believe a
    statement from the Chair, or the LNC as a whole would be beneficial
    given the tumultuous nature of our membership.

    At the very least, a Press release seems appropriate, although, in this
    case, a resolution from the LNC condemning the actions would have my
    full support as well.


    Yours in Liberty,

    Justin O’Donnell
    LNC Region 8 Representative
    Chair- LPNH Platform Committee
    http://www.justinodonnell.me

  23. dL

    That would have been the dumbest, naivest possible reason for a fence sitter to switch to supporting him in 2016.

    Even asking him the question about whether or not he was staying was pointless and amateurish.

    Well, it depends. If you’re only interest is advancing liberty regardless of party and thought William Weld was such an instrument of liberty advancement, then I suppose Weld’s party affiliation wouldn’t be much of an overriding concern. I don’t think it would be a very convincing argument, but at least it would qualify as an argument. However, if your position is that the LP is critical to advancing liberty or if your interest is growing the party–a sentiment you have espoused on many, many, many different occasions–then Weld’s party flip flops are complete show stopper and any argument for continued support for Weld is an absolute non starter. There is no argument.

    Dlugos, you have an irritating habit of talking out of both sides of your mouth. You deride principle, except for abortion, when suddenly you become a principled pro-choicer. You decry staunch principle as an alt-right invitation, except, once again, for abortion, where you decry mealy-mouthed accommodation as a wingnut gateway. You pimp Bill Weld in the name of growing the party, but when he stiffs the LP at the altar–and that ain’t the first time that has happened–you take offense even at the thought of asking the guy if he is still running as a libertarian.

  24. George Phillies

    Weld, by report on January 17, has according to the MA Secretary of State web page output re-registered as a Republican.

  25. paulie

    inherently contradictory (since he has run for office) angry anarchist,

    I’d argue otherwise but don’t feel like taking the time and effort.

    bro-publican who showed up yesterday and left again back to the GOP, and who used the NAP

    Austin campaigned explicitly against the NAP. He claimed that under his leadership we would get rid of the NAP once and for all. Your point does not hold.

    it draws in right wingers, paleos, and the alt-reich.

    I don’t think so. They are opportunists who latch onto anything and everything. Many are present in the decidedly non-NAP Republican Party. There are some in the Constitution Party, AFP and various far right and explicitly racist minor parties and they are not generally known for making NAP arguments. Some Klansmen campaigned for Obama, albeit for their own reasons (they thought a black president would cause whites to revolt). I’ve seen racists make entryist efforts in Green and socialist parties. They use any and every ideology and attempt to co-opt it. In the LP some abuse the NAP but others reject it and claim their bigotry is pragmatic.

  26. paulie

    The real problem is why an article on William Weld quickly deteriorates into Whaboutism, as in “What about Darryl Perry” or “What about Arvin Vohra.”

    Because when you’re hammered everything starts looking like something to nail? Or something like that.

  27. paulie

    That would have been the dumbest, naivest possible reason for a fence sitter to switch to supporting him in 2016.

    And yet it happened for a number of people, including one who had been running for the same nomination as well as others in the audience.

    Even asking him the question about whether or not he was staying was pointless and amateurish.

    I agree that he should not have been trusted on his answer. But at least it put him on the record, which will increase his difficulty in making another raid on the LP.

  28. paulie

    Dlugos, you have an irritating habit of talking out of both sides of your mouth.

    Just trying to imitate Weld and others similar, I would guess.

  29. Anthony Dlugos

    “Well, it depends. If you’re only interest is advancing liberty regardless of party and thought William Weld was such an instrument of liberty advancement, then I suppose Weld’s party affiliation wouldn’t be much of an overriding concern.”

    Guilty as charged, for the most part. The only quibble being that I obviously believe the LP is the BEST party for advancing liberty. But certainly, a politician CAN advance liberty though the other parties, at least on a particular issue or two.

    “If your position is that the LP is critical to advancing liberty or if your interest is growing the party–a sentiment you have espoused on many, many, many different occasions–then Weld’s party flip flops are complete show stopper and any argument for continued support for Weld is an absolute non starter.”

    My position is that the LP is critical to advancing liberty and my interest is in seeing the party grow.

    I just don’t see how welcoming Governor Weld to the fight in 2016 without demanding proof of some religious conversion is necessary. In fact, demanding proof of such a conversion is counterproductive, if you asked me.

    Leave aside policy differences for the moment…wasn’t the Johnson-Weld ticket the most high-profile ticket the party has ever had? Legitimate appearances in the MSM, major newspaper endorsements, easily highest vote total in party history. Hasn’t the LP come out of that election the furthest ahead in terms of ballot access than we have ever been?

    He used us and we used him. What’s the problem here?

    “Dlugos, you have an irritating habit of talking out of both sides of your mouth. You deride principle, except for abortion, when suddenly you become a principled pro-choicer. You decry staunch principle as an alt-right invitation, except, once again, for abortion, where you decry mealy-mouthed accommodation as a wingnut gateway.”

    That’s because I’m an admitted pragmatic; I do something the purist doesn’t do: I view messaging/platform/policy positions with regard to its impact on electoral success. I see these as the rules of the game that the LP has assented to. From my experience, no radical/purist/NAPist I’ve debated even doubts this, any more than they shy away from taking the opposite position: principled across the board, without regard for electoral considerations.

    Don’t politicians always talk out of both sides of their mouth? It seems to me they do. Its the nature of the beast in electoral politics. Absolute adherence to principle across the board cannot win. If you can’t deal with that, I’m not saying you’re wrong, I’m just saying electoral politics is not for you.

    Being pro-choice is not just principled defense of reproductive rights for half the population, its also smart politics. Being so fastidious about adherence to principle to the extent that you will “support any initiative to reduce or abolish any tax, and oppose any increase on any tax for any reason,” is just dumb politics no matter how principled it is. I don’t know how anyone can look at that, consider politics as it exists in this country, and not see how that won’t be viewed by the general public as a stunning paean to the superrich, who have been the biggest beneficiaries of government action.

    And yes, I think absolutism on the NAP is…frequently unintentionally so..a vehicle for right-wing entryism. For one thing, as the culture changes, the fact that the a significant portion of the LP membership will, say, make the “Bake the Cake” a litmus test for a presidential candidate is bound to draw in the most virulently homophobic people, who see a party willing to elevate their pet peeve aggression to the level of every other aggression, no matter how large or small.

    “You pimp Bill Weld in the name of growing the party, but when he stiffs the LP at the altar–and that ain’t the first time that has happened…”

    I never viewed this as a marriage, or in any way personal. Its strictly business, which is I wouldn’t have bothered asking the guy if he intends to stay in the party. We have nothing to offer him at this time. We couldn’t even defend Ebke’s seat in a nonpartisan race.

  30. Anthony Dlugos

    “Just trying to imitate Weld and others similar, I would guess.”

    Weld and everyone else in electoral politics.

    The LP entered an arena where the use of force is assumed. We also entered an arena where the use of force has been used far more often to benefit the well off than it has to benefit the poor. If you’ve chosen electoral politics, its not the place to take a absolutist principled stand against aggression when certain groups have started a lap ahead of everyone else.

  31. Anthony Dlugos

    “And yet it happened for a number of people, including one who had been running for the same nomination as well as others in the audience.”

    I know. Which i found silly. If electoral success for the LP was important to you, he was the dog and we were the tail in that instance. That was the reality of the situation.

    We are a tiny, tiny, insignificant speck of an organization, with a budget smaller than my parents church in Northeast Ohio. Anyone with bona fides like a governorship should be welcomed with open arms and thanked for any help they can give, for however long they want to stay.

  32. Anthony Dlugos

    “Austin campaigned explicitly against the NAP. He claimed that under his leadership we would get rid of the NAP once and for all.”

    By “used” I mean he “used” it when it suited him (Bake The Cake), and discarded it when it didn’t. As 99% of the public invariably will.

    And by doing so, he dusted the most principled NAPist in the field in terms of delegate count. The fact that he campaigned explicitly against the NAP and managed to finish in second is precisely my point.

    Look at it this way, paulie: the NAP is going to get discarded. That’s inevitable, since its totally useless as a tool for practical politics. You can let it get discarded by the right and have them take control of the party and turn it into what you and I fear, or we can dispense with it first by presenting the LP as party for smaller government and greater individual liberty, but one that does not imply that its going to take control and leave behind the least powerful in a Libertarian future. And if that mean a certain amount of “aggression” stays, then so be it.

  33. dL

    My position is that the LP is critical to advancing liberty and my interest is in seeing the party grow.

    Anyone have a quick comparative summary of the figures of, say, the 90s vs today RE: party membership, budget, ballot access in the aftermath of nominating 3 straight republican politicos for POTUS? What’s the measurable, utilitarian gain of that vs the perception that a libertarian is just a republican who wants to be on the board of a pot company?

    I do something the purist doesn’t do:

    No, as far as I can tell, your sole contribution to electoral politics is berating “purists” on a wordpress blog. But “purists” berating other purists on a message board(or any other forum) is a time honored libertarian tradition.

    Don’t politicians always talk out of both sides of their mouth? It seems to me they do. Its the nature of the beast in electoral politics.

    Yes, but you have to be the first to actually want to put that on the bumper sticker.

    “Bake the Cake” a litmus test for a presidential candidate

    “Bake the cake” in the LP debate referred to jewish baker baking the cake for the nazi. You’re confusing the LP with the GOP.

    I’m just saying electoral politics is not for you.

    It ain’t for you, either…lol

    Being pro-choice is not just principled defense of reproductive rights for half the population, its also smart politics.

    It’s not smart politics in the south, the mountain west nor parts of the midwest.

    Being so fastidious about adherence to principle to the extent that you will “support any initiative to reduce or abolish any tax, and oppose any increase on any tax for any reason,” is just dumb politics no matter how principled it is.

    So, if you lived in, say, Alabama, you would be an “abortion is murder” pro-lifer?

  34. Anthony Dlugos

    “So, if you lived in, say, Alabama, you would be an “abortion is murder” pro-lifer?”

    No, I would not. HOWEVER, I am pragmatic enough to understand that its not possible to have a political party who’s membership is 100% pro-choice, with no exceptions. Hell, even the Democrats have anti-choice sitting office holders. I think reproductive freedom is a winning issue nationally, but I understand there’s gonna be deviation, and that goes for any issue. This rules out something dogmatic, like the NAP. or the SoP.

    I’ll remind you that I posted on this site that I would chose Amash over Weld, even given his strident anti-choice position. (In that instance, hopefully some sort of concession would be made by Amash).

    “Bake the cake” in the LP debate referred to jewish baker baking the cake for the nazi. You’re confusing the LP with the GOP.

    That’s not how the issue started. That’s what it devolved into with our party’s tendency to devolve into pointless coffee house debates. To wit:

    https://beinglibertarian.com/gary-johnsons-critics-can-eat-cake/

    “The strongest criticism of Gary Johnson comes from his comments regarding free association. During the April 8th Libertarian Party debate monitored by John Stossel, Johnson was criticized by Austin Petersen for his support of laws forbidding wedding cake bakers and other business from discriminating against homosexual customers.”

    “Yes, but you have to be the first to actually want to put that on the bumper sticker.”

    No need to put it on a bumper sticker. At least, there is no need to in successful political parties. Its just assumed, the coin of the realm. Obviously, I am being a bit tongue-in-cheek here, but since when did dogmatic inflexibility on messaging that is WAY outside the frame of reference of the average voter ever benefit a politician?

    “Anyone have a quick comparative summary of the figures of, say, the 90s vs today RE: party membership, budget, ballot access in the aftermath of nominating 3 straight republican politicos for POTUS?”

    Why limit the analysis to Libertarians only? We only lose. Shouldn’t we include parties that actually win elections? Besides, baby steps. Johnson-Weld was a step in the right direction away from conservatarianism. Which is why the bro-publicans/hard-right elements were so opposed to J-W (in addition to the radicals, in an example of not-so-strange bedfellows.)

    I’ll repeat myself that I implore the party to find a ex-democrat or current democrat willing to defect. I would be happy to support them. I would think, however, that “any tax for any reason” would be pretty much a non-starter for them.

  35. paulie

    the NAP is going to get discarded.

    I don’t view that as either inevitable or something to accept.

    The LP entered an arena where the use of force is assumed.

    Climbing Mt. Doom to cast the ring into the fire. Or using the process to let people know there is a better way. Take your pick.

  36. paulie

    presenting the LP as party for smaller government and greater individual liberty, but one that does not imply that its going to take control and leave behind the least powerful in a Libertarian future. And if that mean a certain amount of “aggression” stays, then so be it.

    Much better to present the truth, which is that aggression inevitably tilts the playing field towards the most powerful more and more over time and the best and ultimately only way to not leave the least powerful behind is to reduce and eventually eliminate aggression.

  37. Anthony Dlugos

    “Much better to present the truth, which is that aggression inevitably tilts the playing field towards the most powerful more and more over time and the best and ultimately only way to not leave the least powerful behind is to reduce and eventually eliminate aggression.”

    Kind of an odd position for an organization to take that is running people for political office, wouldn’t you say?

    “I don’t view that as either inevitable or something to accept.”

    Fair enough. I assumed you would disagree. I know you argument is that success is just a matter of rolling our sleeves up and building the party, grassroots up, but my argument is that there is something inherently faulty in the NAP as a tool for policymaking, guaranteeing stunted growth, and a tendency to draw from the right rather than across the board.

  38. paulie

    Kind of an odd position for an organization to take that is running people for political office, wouldn’t you say?

    I don’t know how else to engineer a soft landing but I’m open to suggestions. It’s one tool among many to use in concert.

    Fair enough. I assumed you would disagree. I know you argument is that success is just a matter of rolling our sleeves up and building the party, grassroots up, but my argument is that there is something inherently faulty in the NAP as a tool for policymaking, guaranteeing stunted growth, and a tendency to draw from the right rather than across the board.

    I understand your position, you understand mine and that we disagree. No need to belabor.

  39. Chuck Moulton

    Welp… that’s interesting.

    Now that Weld has effectively zero chance of getting the LP presidential nomination, that throws the race wide open. It will be fun to see who declares now.

  40. paulie

    Now that Weld has effectively zero chance of getting the LP presidential nomination,

    I don’t know about that. I’m more or less expecting him to come back after he gets nowhere with the Republicans and before he triggers any sore loser laws. It will be a more difficult path but he’ll have gained some active supporters in the meantime, presumably, to help him pack state conventions and win delegate slots. Unless Amash runs LP in which case he may not see a path to nomination. Or maybe he still would.

  41. wredlich Post author

    Tony wrote:
    “Maybe he realizes that the LP will never escape the clutches of the extreme nutbags in the party.”

    When was the last arguably extreme LP candidate for President?

    For that matter when was the last libertarian LP candidate for President?

  42. Anthony Dlugos

    “I’m more or less expecting him to come back after he gets nowhere with the Republicans and before he triggers any sore loser laws. It will be a more difficult path but he’ll have gained some active supporters in the meantime.”

    I can’t believe he thinks he has any chance whatsoever running against Trump in the GOP primaries, or that it would even do him any good. Not only did he defect to the LP (the putative greater third party threat to the GOP), but he vouched for Hillary. I would think whatever support he could get, he could get anyway without the double switch. He could just start campaigning now.

  43. Warren redlich

    Can’t the NAP be an aspirational goal rather than an inflexible mandate?

    I believe in the NAP as a core principle of the LP. But I also see it as not practically attainable in the short term.

    The goal of libertarians should be to move toward the NAP but recognize that is a long journey, possibly endless.

  44. Thomas Knapp

    “The bigger problem is the sorts of unscrupulous D-list- ‘politicians,’ lowlifes and assorted a-holes that dogmatism tends to attract (e.g., Weld).”

    Fixed, no charge.

  45. Thomas Knapp

    “When was the last arguably extreme LP candidate for President?”

    Depends on what you mean by “extreme.” Johnson/Weld were “extreme” in certain cases in my view (e.g. Weld campaigning against due process and gun rights for people on secret government enemies lists; Johnson/Weld advocating for continuation of the war on drugs; etc.).

    “For that matter when was the last libertarian LP candidate for President?”

    Depends on what you mean by “libertarian.” If you’re talking about a fairly consistent “NAPist,” Harry Browne. But I’d rate Badnarik 2004 as reasonably libertarian with at least one unfortunate exception (immigration).

  46. Thomas Knapp

    Warren,

    What I’d like to see from Libertarians elected to office is this:

    1) Propose legislation that doesn’t create new aggressions;

    2) Propose legislation that reduces or ends existing aggressions;

    3) When others propose legislation that continues existing aggressions or creates new aggressions, engage in the debate over that legislation to improve it vis a vis those aggressions;

    4) When the debate is over and it’s time to vote, make the best decision they can as to whether that legislation is or is not an overall improvement vis a vis aggression and vote accordingly.

    That last step puts a policymaker in the position of attempting to calculate the incalculable, since different forms of aggression can’t be bundled into commensurable units, so it’s a crap shoot that should be avoided when possible in (1) thru (3). And inevitably there will be some Libertarians who disagree with the particular policymaker’s calculation results. But realistically, all one can ask is that they do their best.

    Non-aggression is the criterion the LP chose as its central principle. I understand why some people might want a different criterion/principle or set of criteria/principles. There are other parties offering those. Our job is to offer ours, as best we can. We will never do so perfectly.

  47. dL

    Anthony Dlugos, in the January thread RE: abortion
    All the right stances on tax issues and, say, guns, can be undone by a position like abortion prohibition that can create a police state that would dwarf the drug war’s accomplishments.

    In any event, given that no form of contraceptive is 100% guaranteed, sexual freedom will be compromised in a prohibitionist regime. Any woman of childbearing age would have to be worried about potential child rearing anytime they had sex. I can’t think of a more intrusive police state.

    Anthony Dlugos, in the William Weld thread RE: abortion
    I am pragmatic enough to understand that its not possible to have a political party who’s membership is 100% pro-choice, with no exceptions. Hell, even the Democrats have anti-choice sitting office holders. I think reproductive freedom is a winning issue nationally, but I understand there’s gonna be deviation, and that goes for any issue. This rules out something dogmatic, like the NAP. or the SoP.

    You’re doubletalk is shamelessly comical. And WhatAbout the democratic party ain’t gonna work. The pro-life democrat is an extinct species. In the calculation between female reproductive freedom and electoral politics, principle won out.

    [Why the pro-life democrat is disappearing]
    http://nymag.com/intelligencer/2018/11/why-the-pro-life-democratic-politician-is-disappearing.html

    That’s not how the issue started. That’s what it devolved into with our party’s tendency to devolve into pointless coffee house debates. To wit:

    Well, I watched the debate. I don’t need to do a google search and cite the first thing that pops up.The issue started with an audience question on how Gary Johnson would appeal to disenfranchised democrats. After Johnson stepped through a laundry list of civil/social issues where he jived with democrats, Petersen interrupted with a civil liberties issue where Johnson wouldn’t jive with libertarians, namely “bake the cake for the Nazi.” Now if you want to call a national debate on cable news a coffee house, that’s your prerogative, but I would be remiss not to point out you’re the one who is obsessed with “Bake the Cake.” You’re the one who keeps bringing it up. No else here does.

    No need to put it on a bumper sticker. At least, there is no need to in successful political parties. Its just assumed, the coin of the realm.

    Of course, it is assumed. That’s why there is a thing called “opposition research.” Usually, a candidate’s own campaign is responsible for the expense of exposing the hypocrisy of his/her opponent. But, hell, you would serve up to your own dirt to your opponent for free. Bragging that being duplicitous is the hallmark of a successful politician ain’t gonna fly in the spin room, brutha.

    Which is why the bro-publicans/hard-right elements were so opposed to J-W (in addition to the radicals, in an example of not-so-strange bedfellows.)

    The ones that came into the party saw J-W as evidence that the LP was weak on principle and open to a takeover. But it’s not just J-W. It’s J-W on the heels of Barr/Root, both of whom are now full blown Trumpists. Saying things that the LP should take no principled stand on immigration and abortion, and it should all be open to electoral politics plays into the paleo strategy and invites them to stay.

  48. dL

    ,but one that does not imply that its going to take control and leave behind the least powerful in a Libertarian future. And if that mean a certain amount of “aggression” stays, then so be it.

    The “least powerful” are the ones in prison. I imagine they would be pretty down with a libertarian future over what they have now.

  49. dL

    Can’t the NAP be an aspirational goal rather than an inflexible mandate?

    I believe in the NAP as a core principle of the LP. But I also see it as not practically attainable in the short term.

    The goal of libertarians should be to move toward the NAP but recognize that is a long journey, possibly endless.

    The problem with the Non Aggression principle is that libertarians don’t even agree on what is aggression for something as fundamental as property. Property is theft. Property is liberty/property is theft. Property is liberty. Of course, then there is the whole separate matter of Intellectual Property.

    Libertarianism has always had liberty as license constrained only by a harm principle, but singular focus on the NAP is a Rand/Rothbard artifact. But Rand saw the (proper) state as necessary to enforce NAP whereas Rothbard saw the state as an automatic violator of it. At best, it is a contentious guiding principle. At worst, it is used by paleos as a self-defense argument for the most putrid forms of organized state violence.

    Of course, the usual rejection of NAP centers around the promotion of organized violence, or the threat of said violence, as an acceptable means to some social end. A rejection of that sentiment is why I’m fine with signing the pledge, even though I don’t place much stock in the Non Aggression principle.

  50. dL

    “When was the last arguably extreme LP candidate for President?”

    In hindsight, the Barr/Root ticket. Both are trumpists now, and in the case of Root, an avid Trumpist. Johnson/Weld today would be considered “centrists.” But the problem with centrism is that today’s centrism is often yesterday’s extremism. I imagine it would have been unthinkable in the 90s that within a generation the LP would run a ticket with someone who had publicly exhorted in a signed letter the continuation of a thing called the Patriot Act.

  51. Jim

    Weld isn’t expecting to get anywhere with the Republicans. He just wants the biggest platform he can get to rip on Trump for a few months. The media will jump at the chance to cover a Republican primary challenger that hates Trump. And whether Weld wants it or not, they’re all going to point out that he was the LP VP in 2016. So if Weld does good, this can only help the LP. OTOH, if certain people on the LNC get their way in attacking Weld over this and the media chooses to bring that up, that will dissuade anyone Weld wins over from joining the LP after Weld’s Republican campaign is over, destroying potential growth. An LNC resolution attacking Weld is a bad idea.

    I’ve had doubts that Weld would seek the LP nomination for President since the Johnson in New Mexico and Fishman in Massachusetts results came in last November. But Paulie’s probably right – if Weld is having fun and Amash hasn’t yet announced for the LP by November or so, Weld may try to come back to the LP just to extend his Trump bashing campaign for another year. And he may bring quite a few Republicans who dislike Trump with him.

  52. wredlich Post author

    Me: “When was the last arguably extreme LP candidate for President?”

    Knapp: “Johnson/Weld were “extreme” in certain cases in my view (e.g. Weld campaigning against due process and gun rights for people on secret government enemies lists; Johnson/Weld advocating for continuation of the war on drugs; etc.).”

    dL: “In hindsight, the Barr/Root ticket. Both are trumpists now, and in the case of Root, an avid Trumpist.”

    Neither of those were extremely libertarian, which was the obvious question in context.

    Knapp refers to Badnarik 2004 as the most recent “extreme libertarian” when Badnarik was really more of a mainstream libertarian. I don’t remember him coming off in the Darryl Perry camp. The problem is we keep putting up non-libertarians like Johnson-Weld and Barr-Root, so mainstream libertarians look extreme.

    We don’t need fake libertarians and we don’t need extreme libertarians (though I’m personally a fan of Perry – we need voices like him to remind us what the LP should aim for). To do well in an election we need a pragmatic libertarian who can answer the extremist questions in a calm manner:

    “Yes Ms. Reporter, the libertarian utopia has no government at all. But of course that utopia is not something we will get to in our lifetimes, and maybe never. We can take steps in that direction by eliminating government programs that clearly do more harm than good. For example, the drug war has been failing for over a hundred years. Just the other day another brave law enforcement officer lost his life. If we end the drug war we can save lives, stop wasting money, and work on solving drug abuse in a humane manner.”

  53. Thomas Knapp

    “Knapp refers to Badnarik 2004 as the most recent ‘extreme libertarian'”

    No, I don’t.

    I was asked who was the most recent “extreme” candidate and who was the most recent “libertarian” candidate.

    I rated Badnarik as “reasonably” libertarian, with exceptions.

  54. Anthony Dlugos

    Unless Amash is ready to retire from electoral politics entirely, there is no way he is running as a Libertarian.

  55. robert capozzi

    https://www.bostonherald.com/2019/02/05/weld-may-sink-like-a-stone-in-granite-state/

    Hmm, well, having “impact” seems understandable, but I’m not seeing it. GJ had almost no impact in ’12, mostly because he’s pro-choice. That’s a litmus test in the GOP, and he fails there. He will be ignored.

    I’d also suggest that simply being anti-Trump instead of FOR something feels like a poor motivation.

    The good news for WW, if this news is correct, is that he won’t have to deal with Perry spit.

  56. Thomas Knapp

    “Unless Amash is ready to retire from electoral politics entirely, there is no way he is running as a Libertarian.”

    Define “electoral politics.”

    Amash would not be the first one to discover that there’s a significant income to be knocked down — for one’s self and/or one’s campaign team — in the LP’s “electoral politics” niche.

    In fact, one time the late R.W. Bradford (founder/publisher of Liberty magazine) told me that when he asked the late Harry Browne why he was seeking the LP’s presidential nomination after decades as an anti-voting anarchist, Browne’s reply was that his investment newsletter subscribership was fading away and that he needed a new gig which would knock down at least $100k a year for him (in e.g. book sales, speaking fees, etc., not as a draw from campaign contributions).

  57. Anthony Dlugos

    “Amash would not be the first one to discover that there’s a significant income to be knocked down — for one’s self and/or one’s campaign team — in the LP’s “electoral politics” niche.”

    However, Amash could make 50 times the $100K Browne was looking for as a lobbyist in D.C. If he wanted to retire from electoral politics.

    But we couldn’t protect a nonpartisan state house seat in Nebraska. No way we could protect a US House seat in Michigan.

    Amash would truly have to be done with electoral politics.

  58. Jim

    Michigan is expected to lose a Congressional seat after the 2020 census, so for the 2022 election. I don’t know Michigan’s process for redistricting, but I can’t imagine Amash will get any help from either Republicans or Democrats. 2020 could very well be his last election for US House. Knowing that is coming, and with 2020 being the only Presidential election between now and the breakup of his district, he might make the jump to the LP in this term, if he wants to run for President as a sitting Congressman. But even if he doesn’t want to run for President in 2020, hopefully he makes the switch sometime in the next three years, while he’s still in office.

  59. Think About It

    Who else is running in the Republican primaries against Trump? There is a very large group of disaffected Republicans and R-leaning independents who vote in R primaries where possible. WW could generate quite a following similar to Ron Paul’s R primary campaigns if the big name field opposing Trump is left mostly open to him.

    Of course he won’t come close to taking the nomination away from Trump – perhaps some other high-profile, conservative, but not-tainted-by-Trumpism Republican could do so, if any chooses to get in. Any significant early success by WW could draw in just such a candidate – and American needs to get rid of Trump. A Weld campaign could help America free itself from the Trump disaster.

    As time goes on, if Weld manages to stake out a moderate, but reasonably principled libertarian campaign with showings even half of what Ron Paul generated, he can jump back to the LP, win the nomination and move the LP forward. The LP would have welcomed Ron Paul back and if Weld can do half as well, the LP will welcome him back to run at the 2020 convention.

  60. Gina

    Think about it some more.

    Ron Paul did leave the Republicans to run as LP in 1987-8 but it took him almost a decade to get back in Congress, with strong opposition in the primaries. It took him 20 years before he even attempted another presidential run and even that many years later he had people in the Republican Party who used his brief jaunt into the LP in the 1980s against him.

    Weld is pro-choice, and out of step with Republican primary voters on many of their other key social issues. The biggest issue among Republican voters right now is immigration and where is he on that? Even Gary Johnson had no LP history as an elected official (yes he had been a LP member but not elected as such) at the point when he was in the Republican primaries and got nowhere. Weld has similar positions, and he was in the LP as recently as a few weeks ago, endorsing some LP candidates as recently as last year. He will be less than a joke in Republican primaries.

    A guy who was a governor a generation ago, ran against the sitting presidential ticket in the very last potus general election, doesn’t bash abortion, immigrants, LGBT folks or (as far as I know) Mooslims, endorsed LP candidates in 2018 and only changed his registration back in 2019? On top of that he’s a gun grabber who vouched for Hillary Clinton. Come on, are you serious?

    What if he comes back to the LP? He’s lied to LP delegates repeatedly to win nominations; in 2006 he told LPNY he would carry their banner even if he did not get the Republican nomination and then promptly dropped it as soon as he didn’t. In 2016 he promised to be LP for life and that he changed on key issues such as guns, then promptly told TV viewers his position on guns has not changed, vouched for Clinton, and “LP for life” did not last one single 4 year cycle. Why in the world would the LP trust him ever again?

    Truth be told, no one should trust him. Ask the many people he screwed over as a prosecutor and politician over the years. He has no loyalty to any party or ideology. Aside from being 17th generation Hahvahd (buildings there are named after his ancestors, and he quips – perhaps with some truth – that his family sent the servants over on the Mayflower to get the summer cottage ready) what are his life accomplishments? He has been a prosecutor, politician, and when he isn’t that, a lobbyist and lawyer who trades on the connections he made as a prosecutor and politician.

    Voters of every party are rejecting his slithering ilk, whether it be the Democrats who nearly rejected Clinton for Sanders and very well likely would have had she not cheated (and who have primaried several politicians of her type out of office last year), Republicans who went for a blathering charlatan who made himself out to be an outsider, and with any luck the LP won’t make itself permanently irrelevant by becoming their new home in a misbegotten attempt to gain illusory credibility with TV talking heads and the inside the beltway cocktail circuit.

  61. Anthony Dlugos

    “…what are his life accomplishments?”

    You’re gonna throw stones at the life accomplishments of Governor Weld considering the screwballs he would potentially be going up against in 2020 LP field? You can’t be serious.

    Truth be told, I find it surprising that Weld would be considering a strategy of leaving the LP, then coming back again.

    ON THE OTHER HAND, if he was able to pull that, I will have no sympathy for the factions of the party that can’t stand Governor Weld. Go find someone who doesn’t have zero experience in public office, doesn’t have sex with whales whilst dodging Johnny Law, and doesn’t live in a van and suggests a plan of “abolishing the government on day one.”

    Go find them now. Because if you don’t, I got no sympathy for you.

  62. Jim

    dL “Anyone have a quick comparative summary of the figures of, say, the 90s vs today RE: party membership, budget, ballot access in the aftermath of nominating 3 straight republican politicos for POTUS?”

    Yes I do, but for membership and revenue the figures are distorted from sometime beginning in 1995 until October 30, 2005 because of the Unified Membership Plan. During those years people who normally only donated to their state parties were being counted as national party donors and their donations were being run through the LNC before being sent back out to the state parties.

    Using the FEC data and adjusting for inflation to 2018, revenue in 2018 was higher than in any other year, excluding Presidential years and the Unified Membership Plan era. Expenses were even higher than that.

    Ballot access is unquestionably better now.

    33 states in 2018 vs 27 in 1998
    30 states in 2014 vs 23 in 1994
    27 states in 2010 vs 17 in 1990

    Voter registration exploded in both the 90s and 2010s. Both were partially fueled by the addition of new states reporting statistics, but the 90s benefited from that much more.

    And while the increase in the L share of the vote has been slight when both an R and a D are competitors, there has been a much steeper increase in the L share of the vote when facing only one opponent. It doesn’t matter if that one opponent is an R or a D, the numbers are similar. It’s especially noticeable with state legislative candidates, where there is a ton of data for candidates with only one opponent. Lesser evil voting is still strong, but one of two things is happening. Either partisanship is very strong and the “anybody else but the wrong major party” vote is growing, or the LP option is being taken more seriously. Or both. I could probably figure out which it is by looking at the Green and Constitution party candidates… but I don’t want to. I’ll have a chart for the LP candidates done in about a week, though.

    Probably the most directly relevant to the Presidential candidates is their cost/vote. Johnson blew every other candidate away in that category in both 2012 and 2016. His cost/vote was roughly 1/3rd of the historical average. Barr has the next lowest cost/vote, followed by Paul and Badnarick.

    https://imgur.com/a/YsovX

    I still have a few things to update, but most of them are done. The rest should be done within a week.

  63. dL

    Yes I do

    Thanx…

    Ballot access is unquestionably better now.

    33 states in 2018 vs 27 in 1998
    30 states in 2014 vs 23 in 1994
    27 states in 2010 vs 17 in 1990

    Are those the number states w/ automatic access? In the end, the LP has been since the early 90s a 50 state(or pretty close to it) ballot access party.

  64. dL

    You’re gonna throw stones at the life accomplishments of Governor Weld considering the screwballs he would potentially be going up against in 2020 LP field? You can’t be serious.

    The Boston press is throwing rocks at Weld…

  65. Jim

    dL “Are those the number states w/ automatic access? In the end, the LP has been since the early 90s a 50 state(or pretty close to it) ballot access party.”

    Automatic Presidential ballot access immediately following the midterm elections. It’s the figure Richard Winger uses, with the exception that I added 1 in 2018 because Winger had listed the state as uncertain in BAN, but that state’s Secretary of State clarified that the LP did have 2020 ballot access shortly after that issue of BAN was printed.

  66. dL

    Automatic Presidential ballot access immediately following the midterm elections. It’s the figure Richard Winger uses, with the exception that I added 1 in 2018 because Winger had listed the state as uncertain in BAN, but that state’s Secretary of State clarified that the LP did have 2020 ballot access shortly after that issue of BAN was printed.

    Thanx , again. It would seem that biggest difference between, say, the 90s vs today is that the LP today would be more competitive in a local two-way race situation. And I would chalk that up to the major party disintermediation trends over the past 20 years.

  67. Thomas Knapp

    “Who else is running in the Republican primaries against Trump?”

    Nobody that I know of.

    And a year from now, the answer will be “no Republican politician who wants to 1) not face a well-financed primary challenger in his next election for whatever seat he currently holds or 2) ever, ever, ever run for president as a Republican with a chance in hell of getting the nomination.”

    Unlike the LP, the GOP takes party loyalty seriously. If you primary a sitting president of your own party, there are two possible outcomes:

    1) You win;

    2) You’re eternally fucked.

    And outcome (1) is vanishingly unlikely in 2020.

  68. paulie

    Reagan didn’t win the primary in 1976, but obviously wasn’t eternally fucked. Pat Buchanan is also not eternally fucked, even though he did not beat Pappy Bush. Democrats have also had primary challenges of sitting presidents, for example Ted Kennedy and Jerry Brown both ran against Carter in 1980; neither won, but neither was eternally fucked.

    What’s likely in 2020 is not necessarily what seems likely in 2019. The economy could get a lot worse, there could be an unpopular war, major developments on the scandal and investigation front, and so on. Trump’s popularity is already decidedly underwater even with relative peace and a booming economy. There could easily be a primary challenge that isn’t trivial. However, if it happens, it won’t be from someone who has recently been disloyal to the Republicans and disagrees with their primary voting base on many of their hot button social issues.

    As for who else is running in Republican primaries against Trump – hundreds of people, but none that are likely to get much notice, at least out of the ones running at this point.

  69. Thomas Knapp

    “Reagan didn’t win the primary in 1976, but obviously wasn’t eternally fucked. Pat Buchanan is also not eternally fucked, even though he did not beat Pappy Bush. Democrats have also had primary challenges of sitting presidents, for example Ted Kennedy and Jerry Brown both ran against Carter in 1980; neither won, but neither was eternally fucked.”

    “Eternally fucked” = “will never be seriously considered for the GOP presidential nomination in the future.”

    Reagan is the exception with a good case — he was running against a sitting president, but one who had never been elected to the presidency (or, for that matter to the vice-presidency), not against an elected incumbent seeking a second term after serving a first term. He was running against a caretaker fill-in.

  70. Think About It

    So, there it is. There is no one significant running against Trump in the primaries – at least not yet – and there are enough dissatisfied moderate Republicans – and, yes, Pro-Choice Republicans – for Governor Weld to perform at least as well as Ron Paul did.

    Moderate Republicans and Independents without any significant alternatives are very likely to support Weld. They will not care that Weld was the LP VP nominee 4 years earlier. They will want to register their dissatisfaction with Trump. There are still a lot of Never-Trumpers left. And since the ballot is still secret, they can vote their conscience safely.

    Afterwards, there is little doubt that Weld would be welcomed back to the LP, with past LP conventions as a guide. A large percentage of LP delegates prefer a rational, well-known candidate who was previously elected to a significant public office over some extreme, wacko, self-proclaimed perfectly pure Libertarian who couldn’t win an election in a town where their own family comprised half the electorate and no one else was running.

  71. Thomas Knapp

    “What’s likely in 2020 is not necessarily what seems likely in 2019. The economy could get a lot worse, there could be an unpopular war, major developments on the scandal and investigation front, and so on. Trump’s popularity is already decidedly underwater even with relative peace and a booming economy.”

    All of those things are true, and things could certainly change.

    At the moment, Trump looks like a lock for re-election. Yes, that could change. But for it to change, at least one and probably two things would have to happen.

    The first would be for a credible contender to emerge on the Democratic side. So far, that hasn’t happened.

    The second would be a credible independent or third party challenger who could appeal to shaky elements of Trump’s base. And there don’t seem to be any shaky elements to Trump’s base, yet.

    Either or both of those things could happen between now and late 2020. But they haven’t happened yet. My guess is that if the election was held today, with Trump vs. the current Democratic establishment pick (Kamala Harris) and no better third party alternatives than were offered last time, the state by state results would be nearly identical.

  72. Anthony Dlugos

    That’s best case scenario, Think About It, but not totally out of the realm of possibility.

    As RC has alluded too, Weld is not going to come back if there is any chance at losing to one of the “pure Libertarian wackos” you referred to, and Weld is the devil incarnate to large swaths of the party. He barely won the V.P. nod, and that was BEFORE vouching for Hillary, a transgression a right-leaning party just cannot stomach.

    They’d support ANYONE, and I do mean ANYONE, to stop him. And that was true before this latest switch.

  73. Thomas Knapp

    If I had to guess at Weld’s thinking, my guess would run somewhat along these lines:

    He knows that getting the LP’s 2020 nomination would be a hard slog, for any number of reasons ranging from ideological conflicts to his severe trustworthiness deficit. Could he pull it off? There’s a good chance he could, assuming he had no opponents with roughly similar credentials, but it would be an effort.

    If he runs as a Republican primary candidate, he’ll get more publicity, raise more money, and be more free to spend that money on getting his mug and his message in front of voters instead of on things like ballot access for a third party.

    And he’ll be more free to shape that message to his own desires rather than any party’s desires — since he has no chance of winning the GOP nomination, he doesn’t have to please Republicans, and since he’s not running for the LP’s nomination, he doesn’t have to please Libertarians.

    If Weld just wants to be Weld, and I suspect that’s precisely what he wants, running as a primary opponent to Trump is where he’s most able to do so. And if there’s one thing Weld is good at, it’s being Weld.

  74. paulie

    “Eternally fucked” = “will never be seriously considered for the GOP presidential nomination in the future.”

    Reagan is the exception with a good case — he was running against a sitting president, but one who had never been elected to the presidency (or, for that matter to the vice-presidency), not against an elected incumbent seeking a second term after serving a first term. He was running against a caretaker fill-in.

    Unless you want to claim that the Republicans are different than the Democrats in this case, I think Ted Kennedy could have had the nomination in 1984 and perhaps in 1988 had he sought it, probably 1992 as well. He chose to sit those races out for reasons of his own. By 2004 health was probably a big issue. Jerry Brown ran a fairly credible campaign for the nomination in 1992 (I worked on it, but in a very minor role). He’s threatening to run again. At this point he is likely too old, but he just ended another stint as governor, the definition of too old is changing, and if anyone’s going to redefine what too old is and what you can’t do Jerry Brown is a prime person to do it.

    For his part, Pat Buchanan is 80, and the Republicans are becoming more Pat Buchanesque with Trump. Bernie Sanders is 77, Joe Biden is 76. So a Pat Buchanan nomination, while unlikely, is not impossible.

  75. paulie

    There is no one significant running against Trump in the primaries – at least not yet

    What makes you think there won’t be?

    enough dissatisfied moderate Republicans – and, yes, Pro-Choice Republicans – for Governor Weld to perform at least as well as Ron Paul did.

    Ron Paul wasn’t running against a sitting president of his own party. He was an elected officeholder at the time he was running, not decades earlier. He had strayed from the Republican party decades earlier, not just prior to seeking their presidential nomination. He had a devoted cult national following and had been building and working his lists for decades – that’s what the newsletters were about. Weld has nothing similar.

    Moderate Republicans and Independents without any significant alternatives are very likely to support Weld.

    Why? They can recruit other candidates, jump to the Democrats, support Howard Schultz in the general election – they have a plethora of choices. There is absolutely no reason for them to back a multiple-time and recent party disloyal ex-governor from decades ago who vouched for Hillary Clinton.

    They will not care that Weld was the LP VP nominee 4 years earlier.

    On what basis do you say that? Independents may not, but they are also less likely to vote in Republican primaries. They will have Howard Schultz and perhaps other wealthy individuals to vote for in the general election. What do they need Weld for? Extreme beliefs inspire extreme devotion, which is why Ron Paul had such a loyal core following. Weld has nothing like that to propel him as a Republican challenging the sitting president in the primary. You are engaging in absolute wishful thinking at best.

    They will want to register their dissatisfaction with Trump. There are still a lot of Never-Trumpers left. And since the ballot is still secret, they can vote their conscience safely.

    Yes, in the general election. Or if someone like Romney enters the primary. Weld is just not relevant enough and doesn’t have a big enough list.

    Afterwards, there is little doubt that Weld would be welcomed back to the LP, with past LP conventions as a guide.

    Well, maybe this time I’m the one who’s thinking wishfully, but I sincerely hope you are completely wrong. There has to be some point at which LP delegates stop being foolish and falling for lying disloyal establishment retreads who have repeatedly lied to them in particular among others, Hopefully this would finally cross the line. Johnson had to drag Weld across the line in 2016, and Weld had to lie about being loyal to the LP for life and changing on the gun issue. That was before he went all over national TV breaking those promises, before he vouched for Clinton, and before he went back to the Republicans for *this* election cycle. Will that be enough to make LP delegates finally grow a spine and acquire the basic minimal common sense it takes to walk along a street in most urban downtowns without being taken for every penny you have?

    Furthermore, the Republicans will no doubt make Weld sign loyalty oaths to even be allowed to be considered for any of their primaries. If he goes through with it and actually participates in any, precedents from Johnson in 2012 and de la Fuente in 2016 show that sore loser laws are now being applied to presidential candidates. And even if he tries to withdraw, we could have situations like Johnson in Michigan in 2012 where we lose ballot access as a result. Johnson says he withdrew before the deadline; the state says it was a few minutes after, and the partisan hacks of the 6th circuit sided with the state.

    A large percentage of LP delegates prefer a rational, well-known candidate who was previously elected to a significant public office over some extreme, wacko, self-proclaimed perfectly pure Libertarian who couldn’t win an election in a town where their own family comprised half the electorate and no one else was running.

    You are assuming that e.g. Amash won’t seek the LP nomination. It appears that Weld is probably not assuming that. At least, I think that has a lot more to do with his decision to seek the Republican rather than the Libertarian nomination than Vohra, Kokesh, McAfee et al do.

  76. paulie

    The first would be for a credible contender to emerge on the Democratic side. So far, that hasn’t happened.

    LOL. That’s not a problem. They have dozens of people likely to run. Even if none of the ones who have declared so far seem likely to you to win, there’s plenty of time for more to join the race.

    The second would be a credible independent or third party challenger who could appeal to shaky elements of Trump’s base.

    Trump won with 80,000 votes in three key states that were expected to go for the Democrats. He had to get well beyond his base to do that. If a Howard Schultz or a moderate Democrat peels off enough of his shaky, last minute suburban moderate votes his base won’t be enough to win the election. If the Democrats turn out enough of the voters who came out for Obama but stayed home because Clinton failed to excite them his base also will not be enough to win the election.

    His popularity is at 40% with a booming economy and relative peace, neither of which is guaranteed to last for another year and some months. His scandals were little known during the 2016 election, and are still fairly elusive to much of the public. That will change with more congressional hearings and prosecutors at the state as well as federal levels looking into every aspect of everything he has done during his adult life and all his associates.

    There may be more shutdowns, as soon as next week. Who knows how many more until the election. The last one was a big loser for his popularity. His signature issue, the wall, is at least as unpopular as he is. If he keeps shutting down the government and or declares a national emergency to build it that won’t help his ratings.

    There’s no reason to assume that the non-D/R challengers will be of as low a caliber as last time. Howard Schultz for example is easily capable of Perot-like numbers. He’d be a lot better funded and covered than Johnson. He’s capable of more than that because loyalty to the two largest parties has fallen since 1992 and because he presumably won’t do that weird drop out and drop back in thing that Perot did. Before that he was actually leading both Bush and Clinton, so if he had stayed in, he may not have experienced the dropoff that occurs when voters think a third choice can’t win when they actually go vote. And there could be other self funded and/or celebrity candidates, giving anyone unhappy with both the D and R picks plenty of options. Presumably those candidates will know what Aleppo is, won’t stick out their tongue at reporters, won’t vouch for the D nominee, etc. And I suspect they will have a lot more campaign funds than Johnson-Weld did, even if it’s only Schultz. Debate inclusion for Schultz or someone like him seems very plausible.

    I don’t know why you think Kamala Harris is the leading candidate before what may eventually become the leading candidates may have even announced, but suppose she is. Presumably she can turn out a lot of the voters, especially black voters in cities like Philly, Detroit and Milwaukee who turned out for Obama but not Clinton. She may be better at turning out a lot of the younger and other voters who supported Sanders but not Clinton as well.

    Some of the last minute votes turned on the Clinton emails and Comey’s last minute play regarding that. Presumably that will not be the case this time. Some people stayed home presuming Clinton had a safe lead even on election day. It’s likely that will not be repeated given that Trump actually won. Looking at the 2018 turnout it seems that the Democrats will be better on turnout than they were in 2016 no matter who they end up picking.

    They’ll also benefit from long term demographic shifts in the southern and western states which will put some of those into play for them. Clinton was premature in thinking she could benefit from that in 2016 and failed to protect her flank in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. By 2020 the opposite could be the case: the Democrats may in fact pick up a Texas or Arizona or Georgia while winning the northern states they lost in 2016 with better turnout. Florida’s proposition ending lifetime disenfranchisement of felons may well shift the dynamics in that state as well.

    So, I think you are incorrect about what would happen if the election were held now and even less of a safe bet about what will happen in almost two years from now.

  77. paulie

    And there don’t seem to be any shaky elements to Trump’s base, yet.

    That’s not entirely true either. He did in fact lose some of them with the shutdown. He’ll lose more of them if he keeps that up. But again, 40% is not enough to rely on if you want to have a safe win. He needed more than just his base to win in 2016 and additionally needed a lot of people to stay home. That is far from being assured again.

  78. paulie

    That’s best case scenario, Think About It, but not totally out of the realm of possibility.

    As RC has alluded too, Weld is not going to come back if there is any chance at losing to one of the “pure Libertarian wackos” you referred to, and Weld is the devil incarnate to large swaths of the party.

    You’re focusing too much on “pure Libertarian wackos” (still) and not enough on Amash, Schultz and others (still). Weld isn’t assured of the LP nomination even if none of the “pure Libertarian wackos” existed, and if he did get it, he could easily be eclipsed by Schultz and/or other independents. He doesn’t want either of those things to happen. Suppose he got the LP nomination, but all the “third candidate” attention went to Schultz, Schultz got in the debates, etc. How many votes would Weld end up with? He’d be down to the LP base essentially, but the LP base doesn’t much like or trust him either. He might end up doing worse than Barr – and that’s if Amash or someone doesn’t beat him for the nomination to begin with. At best he may do as well as say Ed Clark in 1980 with Anderson getting most of the third candidate attention – but Ed Clark had a billionaire running mate spending a lot of money on the ticket’s behalf and an enthusiastic youth support brigade he built over the course of 300 or so college tour dates. Weld is not likely to have such help.

  79. Gene Berkman

    “Reagan didn’t win the primary in 1976, but obviously wasn’t eternally fucked…” 1976 was an unusual year, because the incumbent Republican President – Gerald Ford – had been appointed, not elected. Conservatives had been promoting Ronald Reagan for President since 1967, and did not see an appointed caretaker President as deserving of loyalty.

    In fact 1976 was the only serious primary challenge of an incumbent Republican President, as 1968 saw the only serious primary challenge of an incumbent Democrat. Every other challenge of an incumbent President in primaries has died quickly – John Ashbrook & Paul McCloskey in 1972 both quit campaigning after New Hampshire, and Pat Buchanan’s 1992 campaign did not last past the Georgia primary.

    There are in fact numerous totally obscure nobodies saying they will run in the Republican primary in 2020. The most notable is Roque de la Fuente, who ran in the Democrat primary for President in 2016, then ran as the Reform Party candidate in November 2016.

    In 2018 Roque de la Fuente ran for U.S. Senate in the Republican primaries in 7 states, and he ran on the open primaries in California and Washington as well. This was to prepare for a nation-wide primary campaign for President in 2020 – so the Donald does have a challenger.

  80. Think About It

    Trump’s win in the EC in 2016 was largely the result of Clinton’s mistakes, especially her failure to advertise and failure to fund adequate GOTV in the usually reliable Democratic stronghold states such as Wisconsin and Michigan. Her hubris and arrogance, always on display, affected her strategy enough to lose the race. She thought she couldn’t lose and wanted to hold on to as much of her campaign surplus as possible, to build another Clinton fortune building slush fund.

    And this time Trump is a known and despised quantity. He has ONLY his base; a shrunken base at that.

    There is little chance that Trump could win against an O’Rourke / Harris ticket, for example, without a significant independent candidate running slightly left of center drawing over 10% of the vote. Trump has already locked up a base vote against him that is over 50% and growing. Biden would be a lock against Trump except for the fact that he once again seems to lack the “fire in the belly” required for a major campaign.

    Meanwhile, Howard Schultz is going to run around, talk a lot, and stir up next to nothing in terms of support. He has no personality, no charisma, and no chance. He will eventually conclude that the support isn’t there and announce that he is not a candidate for POTUS. And there aren’t any other likely independent or third party candidates on the horizon of any significance whatsoever.

    The LP has a good shot at another 4%-ish performance with a sitting congressman or former governor; 1%-ish with a rational, reasonable, respectable pure Libertarian, and less that 0.5% with one of the ever-present wackos.

  81. Anthony Dlugos

    “Biden would be a lock against Trump…”

    I actually bet a friend about 6 months ago that Biden would be the selection for the Dems, for that very reason. They are gonna be so desperate to get rid of Trump, they are gonna go with the safe play.

    Unless Sherrod Brown could take that mantle of the safe play.

    I stand by my prediction.

  82. William t. Forrest

    Trump could easily win again but it’s far from a lock. There will almost certainly be at least one wealthy and or famous independent, trump made them all think they can have a chance and there are a lot of big egos with fat wallets out there. Weld is burnt toast, he switch teams too many times for any sane person or party to trust him. He may limp back to the l.p. Again but if we fall for it again we deserve the 0.3 percent it will give us. He would do worse than kookesh. There, I said it.

  83. Krzysztof Lesiak

    There were many reasons for opposing Weld in 2016; one of them was the fact that he is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

    Today, I found out that Tulsi Gabbard is also a member of the CFR.

    I am withdrawing my endorsement of Tulsi for president. I could endorse Darrell Castle or Chuck Baldwin for the CP nomination; I could also really be enthusiastic about Cynthia McKinney as the GP nominee. None of these three candidates will run though, so I’m still on #TeamArvinVohra, but Vohra is sadly not going to win the LP nomination. If he did, the media would eat him alive for his comments on age of consent laws, racism being better than welfarism, “bad idea: school shootings. good idea: school board shootings.”

    Still, I encourage everyone on IPR to back Arvin Vohra. Now that I recall, I actually met Vohra at the March 2013 LNC meeting in Chicago.

  84. William t. Forrest

    No, cfr is not a reason for rejecting anyone although I have other reasons for rejecting every candidate lesiak mentioned. Supreme or ruff are least bad announced candidates, others are likely to run though.

  85. Anthony Dlugos

    “No, cfr is not a reason for rejecting anyone…”

    Definitely not. Except for the Birchers.

  86. Jared

    TAI: “Biden would be a lock against Trump except for the fact that he once again seems to lack the ‘fire in the belly’ required for a major campaign.”

    He would be if he could secure the nomination. But for a Democratic Party base that has shifted to the left of Obama and with several younger, more progressive, less politically entrenched women and racial minority candidates who have already declared, I’d be surprised if they went for a center-left establishment white guy pushing 80 years old. Bad optics. Democrats may try to use Trump’s unpopularity to run somebody farther to the left than they otherwise could get away with, but it may end up losing them left-leaning moderate and independent voters, and consequently the presidency.

  87. Anthony Dlugos

    “But for a Democratic Party base that has shifted to the left of Obama and with several younger, more progressive, less politically entrenched women and racial minority candidates who have already declared, I’d be surprised if they went for a center-left establishment white guy pushing 80 years old. ”

    Not a terrible analysis, but I’d say right now its the loud, obnoxious fringe of the Democratic party making noise.

    When the big money gets involved, its gonna get behind the surest thing, in my opinion. Biden. Or maybe Sherrod Brown.

    Biden can just nominate Beto as V.P. Done deal.

  88. dL

    Weld: “I’m here because I think our country is in grave peril, and I cannot sit quietly on the sidelines any longer”

    Well, if and when Weld does retreat back to the LP after a miserable failing in the Iowa Caucus and New Hampshire primary, that rhetoric would have to count as some of the most provocative ever issued by a LP POTUS nominee. To my knowledge, a LP nominee has never said in a public forum that the United States is under an immediate fascist threat of grave peril. That’s right up to the line of it’s time to take up arms.

    Just trying to a get a sense of where that overton window is at

  89. paulie

    He would be if he could secure the nomination. But for a Democratic Party base that has shifted to the left of Obama and with several younger, more progressive, less politically entrenched women and racial minority candidates who have already declared, I’d be surprised if they went for a center-left establishment white guy pushing 80 years old. Bad optics. Democrats may try to use Trump’s unpopularity to run somebody farther to the left than they otherwise could get away with, but it may end up losing them left-leaning moderate and independent voters, and consequently the presidency.

    And they might realize it, and thus ultimately nominate someone like Biden after several of the younger, more progressive candidates split that portion of the party vote. Time will tell. It’s also possible that a further left nominee would beat the Mango Mussolini; I seem to recall polls showing that Sanders would have done better against the Cheeto Benito than Clinton did, although I don’t remember which polls in particular.

  90. Anthony Dlugos

    “And they might realize it, and thus ultimately nominate someone like Biden after several of the younger, more progressive candidates split that portion of the party vote.”

    All Biden has to do is take the front runner position, then grab Beto as his V.P. to mollify the progressives.

    I don’t think there is any way the Dems turn that ticket down.

  91. paulie

    I wouldn’t go that far. It’s way too early to predict how the race for the nomination will end up shaping up. Or whether Biden will even run at all.

  92. Anthony Dlugos

    Biden is in the lead in all the polls I have seen.

    Granted, I am predicting far in advance, but I don’t have to tell you the desire to beat Trump is going to be overwhelming. They aren’t dead set about choosing a far left candidate and miss that chance (my opinion).

  93. paulie

    It doesn’t matter if Biden is the lead, no word yet on whether he will run, a lot will change between now and a year and some months from now, and no way to know how support will accrue as number of candidates consolidates.

    I agree that they are not dead set about nominating a far left candidate, but I think it is possible they will. If they do, I think they will believe that candidate will be their best bet to beat Agent Orange. They may or may not be correct in that belief.

  94. Thomas Knapp

    “They aren’t dead set about choosing a far left candidate”

    That’s good for them since there aren’t any far left candidates in the running or supposedly contemplating running.

    The pack is pretty dismal at this moment.

    “All Biden has to do is take the front runner position, then grab Beto as his V.P. to mollify the progressives.”

    At least one member of the Democratic ticket will be female.

  95. Thomas Knapp

    Revision and extension:

    At least one member of the Democratic ticket will be female (chances of 100% or close to it), and likely at least one member of the Democratic ticket will be black or latino (80%).

  96. Anthony Dlugos

    “At least one member of the Democratic ticket will be female (chances of 100% or close to it), and likely at least one member of the Democratic ticket will be black or latino (80%).”

    I can see that.

    I just threw Beto out there as a “sop to progressives” move. Maybe a woman or latino would make more tactical sense.

    My point being…although the rule of thumb is that the Dems fall in love (who’s the hot new thing) and the Repubs fall in line (who’s got next?), I think the desire to get rid of Trump is gonna supersede any infatuations directed at selecting the hot girl at the end of the bar.

  97. Thomas Knapp

    “I think the desire to get rid of Trump is gonna supersede any infatuations directed at selecting the hot girl at the end of the bar.”

    In order for one to supersede the other, they would need to be in conflict with the other.

    54% of women voters voted for Clinton in 2016, but 53% of white women voted for Trump (down from 56% for Romney. Like it or not, “women” have become an identity politics constituency for the Democratic Party. If there’s ever a Democratic ticket without at least one woman on it again, it won’t be for quite some time. They’re going to keep poking at the “white woman gender gap” and trying to bring it into line with the female vote overall.

    African-American turnout fell in 2016 for the first time since 1996, from a high of 66.% in 2012 to 59.6%. The African-American vote skews 90%+ Democratic. Every percentage point of turnout goes 9-1 advantage Democrats. They’re going to want to reverse that slide.

    Hillary Clinton losing in Florida in 2016 came down mostly to two things, one unexpected an one inevitable. Unexpected: Higher than usual turnout among rural white voters. Inevitable: Loss of Democratic margin among Latino voters because in Florida, much of the Latino community is 1) of Cuban descent and 2) King-hell anti-Castro. Obama pissed them off.

    If Kamala Harris puts some distance between herself and Obama’s “pro-Cuba” policy, and drops out reasonably early and backs the eventual nominee, she’ll probably be a lock for the VP slot. She’s a woman, of color, and while not of Cuban extraction at least of Caribbean extraction. Her only deficit is coming from a state that’s not in play. But that’s one of Beto’s deficits too. And in the veep position, she won’t have to answer as much for her train wreck of a a career policy-wise. She can just sign on to the agenda of [insert presidential nominee] and defend that like hell.

  98. Thomas Knapp

    Michael Warren Davis in Spectator USA:

    If William Floyd Weld wins his primary challenge against President Trump, it will be the greatest political miracle since Jesus Christ intervened to advise Emperor Constantine before the Battle of Milvian Bridge.

    Weld has no fan base, no name recognition, no political machine.

    ….

    Though I voted for Trump in the 2016 Republican primary, I still feel an ingrained loyalty to the GOP’s liberal Northeastern wing. So, after the Libertarian party nominated Weld for Vice President, I offered my services as liaison to New England’s liberal Republicans.

    I remember pacing the parking lot outside the local Brooks Brothers, chain-smoking and ringing up every hack and donor in my Rolodex. Each and every one responded the same way. First, they’d laugh themselves into a coughing fit. Next they would say something to the effect of: ‘That useless old drunk? You gotta be kidding.’ Then the line would go dead.

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