GOP Primary 2020: Bill Weld challenges Trump. Who else?

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GOP Primary 2020: Bill Weld challenges Trump. Who else?

Postby cmsellers » Sat Feb 16, 2019 4:31 am

Donald Trump has his first big-name primary challenger: former Massachusetts governor and 2016 Libertarian Party veep nominee, William Weld.

I'm from Massachusetts, and I think it's hard to overstate how beloved Bill Weld is in Massachusetts. He defeated an unpopular Democrat who was so socially conservative that towns like Amherst and Provincetown went red. He balanced the Massachusetts budget and created a surplus. (And I mean he actually balanced it, not Mitt Romney "I line-item-vetoed" some random stuff that I knew the legislature would override me on, so if the budget isn't balanced blame them" balanced." He stood up to the legendary bigotry of Jesse Helms, which cost him an ambassadorship.

So I should love the chance to vote for Bill Weld in the GOP primary. But, as Nathaniel Rakich of 538 points out, even in Massachusetts, where moderate Republicans still could traditionally do well, Weld's protege is struggling against a state party captured by Trump, and as a pro-choice, former Libertarian veep candidate who is to the left of me on guns and pretty much endorsed Clinton, it's not clear what constituency in the GOP there is for him to capture. Even in 2006, with the backlash against W's style of "big government conservatism" Weld couldn't secure the gubernatorial nomination of neighboring New York.

There are, as I see it, four states were Weld plausibly could win a primary, all in New England, and I don't see him definitely winning any of them. Weld is well-known in Massachusetts, the other five New England states, and New York, and I think that there his name recognition pretty much ends. Massachusetts, Vermont, and New Hampshire all have large numbers of libetarian-ish independent voters eligible to vote in their semi-open or open primaries, so he could win anywhere from one to none of these states and I just nod and say "yeah, that's about right." Rhode Island seems like a less-likely pickup because libertarianish voters make up a smaller chunk of the electorate, but he's also a moderate and moderate candidates play well there, so I expect he won't win RI but wouldn't be shocked if he did.

Maine has a semi-open primary, but Maine is different from other New England states. Maine Republicans are both more numerous than in MA, VT, or RI, and much more socially conservative and economically "liberal" than Weld is, perfect for Trump and a poor fit for Weld. Hell, Maine Republicans embraced Paul LePage, who was Trump before Trump. It's not outside the realm of possibility he wins the Maine primary on the strength of independent voters, and I wouldn't quite be shocked if he did, but I'd be very surprised.

Connecticut and New York both have closed primaries, which means I think Weld has no chance of beating Trump in those states, especially with New York being Trump's base and Connecticut being where all the Wall Street bakers who work in NYC live. Weld winning either of these states, Weld even coming close to winning (say breaking 40%), would shock me, and yet probably not mean much beyond "Trump's support among suburban business Republicans in blue states he wasn't going to win anyways is now completely dead."

Trump's bigotry combined with the changes to SALT deductions could result in a scenario where Weld scores maybe 30% in the primary in New York and CT, which would be a minor embarrassment to Trump that he would play off as the greatest victory ever. In states hard-hit by the SALT changes, places like California, Washington, and Maryland, if there is no other major primary challenger and those states hold primaries, I could see Weld racking up 20-30% as the "not Trump" candidate, but I suspect at least one other not-Trump candidate who is more conservative and has national name recognition will steal that mantle, hence the title of this thread.

On top of this, Republican officials have the option of not holding primaries if there's a sitting president of their party, and just giving their state's delegates to Trump, which a lot of state parties are considering doing.

I will say that in the fantasyland scenario where Weld somehow snatches the GOP nomination from Trump, while I would continue to vote for Democrats for Congress because I am not forgiving the GOP for their embrace of Trump and especially for Kavanaugh, there is no candidate running for or even likely to run for the Democratic nomination I'd vote for for president in preference to Bill Weld.
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Re: GOP Primary 2020: Bill Weld challenges Trump. Who else?

Postby Deathclaw_Puncher » Sat Feb 16, 2019 4:59 am

He welded your johnson, and now he's back! It's Bill Weld II: The Weldening!
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Re: GOP Primary 2020: Bill Weld challenges Trump. Who else?

Postby cmsellers » Sat Feb 16, 2019 5:17 am

This is actually like the fifth installment in the Bill Weld story.

While governor, he ran for Senate and narrowly failed to unseat John Kerry. Bill Clinton then nominated him as ambassador to Mexico, and while a majority of Senators would have confirmed him, Jesse Helms, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations committee, simply refused to hold hearings until Weld asked Clinton to withdraw his nomination. He then ran for governor of New York, and initially had the support of the state GOP, but the party eventually went in another direction. There there was the Libertarian presidential campaign in 2016, and now this.

Basically, each stage of his political career since his second term as governor, he's been more ambitious and less successful than the last, but you have to admire his persistence.
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Re: GOP Primary 2020: Bill Weld challenges Trump. Who else?

Postby Absentia » Sat Feb 16, 2019 5:43 am

In an alternate timeline where the Republican party never lost its goddamn mind, Bill Weld seems like a really good candidate. He's like a less stilted and weird version of Mitt Romney that never went over to the Dark Side with Paul Ryan. I'd gladly vote for him.

He's not going to win any delegates in this timeline, though.
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Re: GOP Primary 2020: Bill Weld challenges Trump. Who else?

Postby cmsellers » Sat Feb 16, 2019 5:51 am

Again, I can see him winning a some delegates, especially since Massachusetts uses proportional delegate allocation. I mean, Jeb Bush even won three delegates in 2016. I could even see him winning a New England state or three. But assuming Kaisich, Flake, Romney, or Haley enters the race, it will be surprising if he even matches Kaisich's 2016 performance.
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Re: GOP Primary 2020: Bill Weld challenges Trump. Who else?

Postby JamishT » Sat Feb 16, 2019 6:58 am

I've heard rumblings of Maryland governor Larry Hogan considering a primary run. I don't really know anything about him besides what that NPR segment said, and he'd need a huge boost in name recognition to stand a chance.
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Re: GOP Primary 2020: Bill Weld challenges Trump. Who else?

Postby Doodle Dee. Snickers » Fri Mar 22, 2019 12:25 am

I know this isn't the exact place for it, but since we don't have a thread for it...I was recently reading a piece in Politico which says that if the economy continues on the way it is (an economy which is, by the way, somewhat in question right now), that Trump's going to win in 2020 by a landslide, which left me a little confused after checking to make sure his approval rating hadn't jumped to 55%. It was a pretty dumb article, I think (And it wasn't a fluff piece by conservatives, btw), but it got me thinking about what percentage I'd stick on Trump assuming all remains equal.

40% chance to win? 45%?
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Re: GOP Primary 2020: Bill Weld challenges Trump. Who else?

Postby NathanLoiselle » Fri Mar 22, 2019 12:48 am

Why haven't we addressed the real camel in the room.

Will sweet, sweet Trudeau keep his place in the 2019 Canadian elections?
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Re: GOP Primary 2020: Bill Weld challenges Trump. Who else?

Postby iMURDAu » Fri Mar 22, 2019 1:55 am

I believe it would be uncharacteristically rude to not include him.
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Re: GOP Primary 2020: Bill Weld challenges Trump. Who else?

Postby Crimson847 » Fri Mar 22, 2019 2:19 am

Doodle Dee. Snickers wrote:I know this isn't the exact place for it, but since we don't have a thread for it...I was recently reading a piece in Politico which says that if the economy continues on the way it is (an economy which is, by the way, somewhat in question right now), that Trump's going to win in 2020 by a landslide, which left me a little confused after checking to make sure his approval rating hadn't jumped to 55%. It was a pretty dumb article, I think (And it wasn't a fluff piece by conservatives, btw), but it got me thinking about what percentage I'd stick on Trump assuming all remains equal.

40% chance to win? 45%?


Really hard to even guess until the primaries wrap up and we know who the Democratic nominee is, and see how they handle the avenues of attack that are most likely to hurt in a general election.

But yeah, that was a dumb article. They relied on economic performance and nothing else, which creates two problems. First, nobody can predict what the economy will look like in November 2020; we can't even predict six months into the future with any real accuracy. Second, economic performance is just one factor among many in voter preferences, particularly in modern politics. According to economic metrics alone Obama should have lost the 2012 election convincingly; looking at the economy is useful, but it's not enough by itself. So really all they're telling us is "if the economy is good, that's a plus for the President's reelection chances"...which I kinda think people figured out already.
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Re: GOP Primary 2020: Bill Weld challenges Trump. Who else?

Postby Doodle Dee. Snickers » Fri Mar 22, 2019 4:49 am

Crimson847 wrote:
Doodle Dee. Snickers wrote:I know this isn't the exact place for it, but since we don't have a thread for it...I was recently reading a piece in Politico which says that if the economy continues on the way it is (an economy which is, by the way, somewhat in question right now), that Trump's going to win in 2020 by a landslide, which left me a little confused after checking to make sure his approval rating hadn't jumped to 55%. It was a pretty dumb article, I think (And it wasn't a fluff piece by conservatives, btw), but it got me thinking about what percentage I'd stick on Trump assuming all remains equal.

40% chance to win? 45%?


Really hard to even guess until the primaries wrap up and we know who the Democratic nominee is, and see how they handle the avenues of attack that are most likely to hurt in a general election.

But yeah, that was a dumb article. They relied on economic performance and nothing else, which creates two problems. First, nobody can predict what the economy will look like in November 2020; we can't even predict six months into the future with any real accuracy. Second, economic performance is just one factor among many in voter preferences, particularly in modern politics. According to economic metrics alone Obama should have lost the 2012 election convincingly; looking at the economy is useful, but it's not enough by itself. So really all they're telling us is "if the economy is good, that's a plus for the President's reelection chances"...which I kinda think people figured out already.


I'm just thinking against like...generic Democrat.

And yeah, you would think the fact the economy is where it is right now (again, as an investor, I'm actually kinda bearish on the market for 2019 and certainly for 2020) and his approval rating is still pretty low would be proof positive that it's not only the economy, stupid.
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