2020 Republican Presidential Candidates: William Weld

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

William “Bill” Weld was the sixty-eighth Governor of Massachusetts from 1991 to 1997. Originally a Republican, he defected to run on the Libertarian Presidential ticket in 2016 as Gary Johnson’s running mate. Now, he’s returned to challenge Trump in the Republican primaries.

Weld has criticized Trump’s foreign policy, particularly towards Russia and North Korea, stating that “he prefers the company and support of autocrats and kleptocrats, who degrade democracy and the rule of law.” 

He also criticized Trump’s attitude as President more broadly, stating that he “showed contempt for the American people.”

Despite running as a Republican, Weld’s social positions lean primarily to the left. He is strongly pro-choice, supports the LGBTQ+ community, and advocates Medicaid expansion.

However, he remains staunchly anti-central government, advocating tax cuts, increased access to guns, and the abolition of the Department of Education. He is also a supporter of charter schools, having established the first twenty-five in Massachusetts while in Governor.

Weld has already had difficulty connecting with Republican voters, trailing Joe Walsh by .3 percentage points and Trump by almost 80. However, he appears confident that he has the momentum to beat Trump in the primaries. 

He is currently relying upon winning the New Hampshire primary, stating that doing so “would ordinarily be fatal for a sitting president.” 

Though that possibility is still a total longshot, Weld is polling at 8%–more than twice his national numbers–among registered Republican voters in New Hampshire.

However, as of last October, five GOP primaries- those in Kansas, Alaska, South Carolina, Arizona, and Nevada- have been cancelled. The respective Republican parties in those states have claimed that none of Trump’s challengers have a realistic chance to beat him, so spending taxpayer money on a full-blown contest would be a moot point altogether.

Weld’s candidacy, like several of the other challengers to Trump’s renomination, will likely go down as more of a political statement than a legitimate attempt to get elected. However, it’s unlikely Weld’s presidential aspirations will end here, and it’s probably best to keep an eye on him in the years to come.