The 2020 presidential election is still a year and a half away. But 18 Democrats have already announced their campaigns and are beginning to monopolize the news. If you’re like me, all of this has given you 2020 fever, but there’s so much 2020 news already that sometimes it can be overwhelming. This series aims to help with that. Each week, I will highlight one major piece of 2020 news. In weeks when there is no major news, the series will highlight one candidate and examine their history and platform. Join me as we descend back into the circus that is our nation’s presidential campaigns.
Republican Bill Weld announced on Monday that he is planning to challenge President Trump for the Republican nomination.
Weld, a former governor of Massachusetts and vice presidential candidate for the Libertarian party in the 2016 election, announced his candidacy in a video juxtaposing his political achievements with negative clips about Trump. “America has a choice,” Weld said in the video.
Weld also told CNN’s Jake Tapper he would be “ashamed” and “would fear for the Republic,” were he not to run.
“There is no greater cause on earth than to preserve what truly makes America great. I am ready to lead that fight,” Weld said in a statement on Monday.
Following his announcement, the Republican challenger quickly flew to New Hampshire, where he chatted with voters at diners in an attempt to garner some support in the early primary state.
Some analysts have wondered if Weld entered the race just to harm Trump's chances. But Weld disagrees.
"I think it's doable. The aim is to defeat him," Weld said in an interview with New Hampshire news station WMUR.
Some Republicans are not as optimistic. For example, Karl Rove, the architect of President George W. Bush’s campaigns, said in an interview that he doubts Weld will last past the New Hampshire primary. In addition, the Republican National Committee has already voted to fully support President Trump. According to a recent FiveThirtyEight article, Weld was “one of the weakest candidates that anti-Trump Republicans could put up in a national campaign.”
Looking at Weld’s previous positions, it’s easy to understand where they’re coming from. Weld has a history of taking a much more liberal stance on social issues than most major Republicans today. According to Axios, as governor Weld supported abortion rights, same-sex marriage and joining the Paris climate agreement. He even sits on the board of a cannabis company that advocates for the rolling back of federal regulations. He also endorsed Barack Obama for president over John McCain in 2008. Weld’s economic positions, on the other hand, are more traditionally conservative, advocating for cuts in taxes and government spending.
While Weld’s candidacy appears to be a long shot, especially given Trump’s 89% approval rating among Republican voters, it is now clear that the demographic differences between the two parties’ candidates will be a major point of discussion in the general election. The 2020 Democratic field is already filled with young candidates of different races and genders. Weld and Trump, at 73 and 72, respectively, are both old white men.