Two Cheers for William Weld

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Dennis Sanders

Dennis Sanders is the Associate Pastor at First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Minneapolis, MN.  You can follow Dennis through his blogs, The Clockwork Pastor and Big Tent Revue and on Twitter.  Feel free to contact him at dennis.sanders(at)gmail(dot)com.

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28 Responses

  1. Great piece, Dennis! One thing I would note: primary challengers almost never win. But they often will weaken a candidate enough to lose — Bush in ’92, Ford in ’76 — and set up the next election: the GOP in ’94, Reagan in ’80. Maybe a Weld challenge gets the GOP back to sanity.Report

  2. Avatar Mike Dwyer says:

    It will be fun to contrast the reception of Weld’s announcement by the Left with the way they treated Howard Schultz. And if Weld can weaken Trump enough, then Michael Siegel’s points are all valid. As much as I dislike most of the Democratic candidates that have announced so far, and probably won’t actually vote for them, I will take any of them over Trump.Report

  3. Avatar Marchmaine says:

    One cheer for running
    Two cheers if he gets others to run
    Three cheers if one of the others win
    Two cheers if the other winner is Jeb!/Rubio? etc.
    One cheer if the winner is Weld.Report

  4. Avatar Kolohe says:

    I wish Weld the best, but I really do think this is a vanity project on the order of Jim Webb and Lincoln Chafee running for the Dem nom in the last cycle.

    The political space to defeat Trump in the primaries is simply not held by Weld, who has been, as some of the critical pieces you linked to note, been pretty much in the oort cloud of Republican politics since his gubernatorial term was up.

    If anything, though it didn’t work last time, a ‘center-right’ person should set (should continue to set) themselves up as a third party spoiler to poach some Trump votes in close states.Report

  5. Avatar Jaybird says:

    The general consensus is that the primary is where someone runs as far left/right as they can and then, in the general, they run back to the center.

    We see a lot of weird and goofy arguments on the left now where they’re taking turns saying things that the center might find baffling were they paying attention. (“Boston Bomber” was trending on twitter the other day, for example. Good job, guys!)

    Trump was nutty not because he was running a right vs. left campaign but because he was running a populist vs. elitist campaign.

    Having a conservative to hold up against Trump would be interesting, I guess… but the problem with Trump isn’t that he’s on the right. It’s that he’s a populist.

    But it’s good for Weld to be running. If anything, a reasonable case could be made that he’s to Trump’s right.Report

    • Did you know that is some status you can lose your right to vote for awaiting trial in custody because you could’t afford bail? I think that’s worth discussing, even if the Right Wing Noise Machine immediately goes to “Terrorists!”Report

    • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to Jaybird says:

      If the divide is between establishment and populist (broadly defined) would Weld really be running to his right or to his South? Or is it North – not sure if we’ve established where or which axis populism sits.

      I think you are right that casting Right/Left as *the* key divide is looking at things the wrong way, but I agree (more or less) with Linker that a Libertarian Establishment or Neo-Con Establishment challenge are just tails hoping the dog wags.

      But, and I’ve been saying this for ages… at least all the way back to 2016, Trump isn’t a movement, and until the moment institutionalizes into some sort of movement (a’la Reagan after Goldwater and subsequently Ford) its either going to dissipate or snowball but either way its going to lose focus and meaning… not necessarily in a good way.

      What fascinates me still is the inability of the Republican Party establishment to institutionalize any sort of the populist critique. The entire party has bet 100% with no hedges that the moment will dissipate and this surprises me on a tactical and strategic level.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Marchmaine says:

        The entire party has bet 100% with no hedges that the moment will dissipate and this surprises me on a tactical and strategic level.

        The only thing that makes sense to me is if they’ve internalized the whole “we may be bad, but at least we’re not democrats and after 8 years of democratic rule, the country will be ready for Republicans again, even if they just came down from someone as emotionally satisfying as Obama. We are free to do whatever we want. Trump is just a hiccup.”

        This assumes that Republicans are capable of The Long Game, however.Report

        • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to Jaybird says:

          I should qualify that I mean Republican Party Establishment rather the whole GOP tent. But yes, something along those lines… though I think its something rather less reflective… more of an assumption that Trump is a hiccup, and that things will drift back to “normal” all they have to do is ride out the wave.

          And that might happen… I’m more surprised that someone from the respectable part of the party hasn’t attempted some sort of synthesis – even if only a pragmatic step for after Trump or when Trump goes to the big MacDonald’s in the sky. What’s odd, really, is even if there’s a certain amount of “grifters” driftering around Trump… he’s not building or even really attracting the people who want to build a new movement. Steve Miller (let’s assume he survives 4/8) years?… that’s about it… everyone else is either enjoying their maximal Peter Principal moment or playing along to extract whatever personal benefit they can.

          Because absent some sort of synthesis/course correction… a large chunk of votes will be up for grabs and while negative partisanship is high, the anti-Democrat theory discounts (IMO) the anti-Neocon-Establishment theory.

          Assuming that what comes after Trump is a return of Turn of the Century Republican Redux strikes me as… unlikely.Report

        • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Jaybird says:

          They are. Control of the judiciary means no successful challenges to gerrymandering and vote suppression means a boot stamping on a human face, forever. Trump doesn’t matter.Report

      • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Marchmaine says:

        “If the divide is between establishment and populist (broadly defined) ”

        Trumpian “populism” can only be defined as white cultural supremacist.

        The “people” in his definition of “populism” are not Hispanic, or black. They aren’t recent college grads working at a gig job. They are farmers, but not farm workers. They own restaurants, but don’t work in them.

        Seriously man, this word needs to be killed, burned, salted over and ground into dust.Report

        • Avatar Marchmaine in reply to Chip Daniels says:

          Cool, so is Weld proposing a populism that includes Whites, Hispanics and Blacks?

          What happens to the first person who does?

          You are willfully misreading the comment, because the entire point is what happens when Trump is gone.Report

  6. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    Kolohe gets it right. Weld is honorable and decent but he is a vestige from the past that no longer really exists except maybe in Massachusetts. The old WASP liberal Republican from the Northeast is largely dead. Weld might not have been the last of them but he is among the last of them. There used to be a time when a Massachusetts Democrat and Massachusetts Republican had more in common than they would with Democratic or Republican brethren from other states but that is no more.

    I’d honestly be shocked if Weld even managed victories in the New Hampshire, Vermont, and Massachusetts Republican primaries. He is going to make some points which make really rich and allegedly “bipartisan” media types swoon. He might get some Very Serious People to love him because our Very Serious People are stuck in the 1990s and wish they can go back to those days of neo-liberal, globalist consensus when going to Aspen and Davos to be a lickspittle for CEOs got you praised instead of damned. But that is not the time anymore.

    The GOP has gone almost full fascist by now. The Democratic Party is moving to the left. NeverTrumper Republicans should just admit they are a people out of time.Report

    • Avatar Pinky in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      Our current president is a socially liberal, pro-safety net, protectionist New Yorker who was a Republican, then an independent, a Democrat, Republican, independent, then Republican.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Pinky says:

        I have a bridge in Brooklyn that I want to show you and can give you for a reasonable deal. Are you just trolling now or do you honestly believe this crap? Our current President is loved by Republicans because he appoints far-right wing judges (often young firebrands) who will hamper liberalism and civil rights for decades to come and has done more to make White Supremacy an official policy than any other President in recent decades. He is no social liberal, he is a stone-cold xenophobic racist suffering cognitive decline. Jerry Falwell Jr. and the Evangelicals would not support him under your description.Report

      • Avatar North in reply to Pinky says:

        Socially liberal, probably (at least on the republican curve), but his last budget went after the safety nets and prior to that he supported repealing the ACA with nothing to replace it with so any claim to pro safety net doesn’t pass the laugh test and can be chucked onto Trumps mountain of broken promises.Report

        • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to North says:

          How is being a racist xenophobia socially liberal? How is appointing judges that Jerry Falwell Jr. loves socially liberal? How is appointing Betsy Devos socially liberal?

          Can we stop this shit? Trump is a stone-cold reactionary fascist.Report

          • Avatar cjcolucci in reply to Saul Degraw says:

            He was never a social liberal, just an opportunistic libertine. At best, he didn’t give a shit what other people did unless there was something in it for him. When he was a real estate developer/TV celebrity, there was nothing in it for him. As a politician, there is.Report

      • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Pinky says:

        So…he occupies that place where nationalism and socialism intersect?Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Pinky says:

        That’s spelled “libertine”.Report

  7. Avatar bookdragon says:

    Great piece. I know he doesn’t have a shot, but if by some miracle he does well enough to get to the PA primary I might change my registration back to GOP just to vote for him there.

    Granted if I could really wish for something, it would be a latter day Teddy Roosevelt to found a Bullmoose Party to give all the non-Dems thoroughly disgusted with Trump a place to go. And maybe, just maybe, provide the rest of us with some real choices.Report

  8. Avatar George Turner says:

    In 2016, Weld wouldn’t have made it out of the first kiddie debates. In Cleveland, those were between Rick Perry, Bobby Jindal, Rick Santorum, Lindsey Graham, Carly Fiorina, Jim Gilmore, and George Pataki. But he didn’t even get invited because he ran on the libertarian ticket, where he at least did significantly better than Jill Stein of the Green Party.Report

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