Bill Weld

Gary Johnson/William Weld: Can They Win Over Disaffected Republicans, Even in Weld's Home State?

Some, no doubt, but voter misgivings with non-major party choices can be hard to vault.

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Part of the theory behind why nominating two former Republican governors for the Libertarian Party presidential ticket was such a no-brainer idea for 2016 was that the Republican Party, theoretic home of a lot of American desire to see a small, affordable, Constitutional government, was about to nominate a maniac who many GOP faithful could not in good conscience support.

Reason.tv

The Boston Globe, from the land of L.P. vice presidential pick and former two-term Massachusetts Republican Gov. William Weld, does some reporting today trying to find some truth to that, and finds one former Weld chief of staff and a former state GOP chairwoman willing to go on the record as very glad to have an alternative to voting Donald Trump they can get behind.

Then it deflates the presumption by mentioning that Weld's "political protege" and current Gov. Charlie Baker has not said he'd vote Johnson/Weld, and in fact says he'll be joining the likely near-majority not voting at all in November for president. And while the campaign has not yet provided specifics publicly, they told the Globe that Weld's promised fundraising prowess was, according to the Globe, going well.

Then there was this sad quote, which might well represent many more voters than the quoted:

"I think half the country has problems with either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump, so a third-party alternative has appeal to them and to me," said Rob Gray, a Republican consultant who once worked for Weld.

But he won't be voting for Weld. He doesn't want to waste his vote and fears that Johnson could serve as a spoiler who helps get Clinton elected.

"I love the guy," he said of Weld. "But ultimately you have to make your choice between the two candidates who have a chance to win."

Actually, collective choices about who to vote for defines who has a chance to win, and the winner would have won whether you vote for them or not. But those truths are hard to sell to American voters.

In another bit of the surprisingly continual major media attention the L.P. ticket continues to earn, The Washington Post this morning gave a semi-comprehensive look at Johnson's issue stances for its readers, after noting two unusual things about Johnson as a Libertarian: his surprisingly high polling so far, and his willingness to shift away from a libertarian hardcore in some of his stances.

Author Max Ehrenfreund highlights Johnson's belief in regulation over tort law as a solution to some environmental harms (though the article later points out Johnson is not currently supporting any specific federal action targeting global warming), and his willingness to use executive authority for some goals.

That latter point is not necessarily a libertarian sin if the goal is to restrict government size and scope, though a respect for the constitutional structure of distinct executive and legislative powers is often called upon by the libertarian and libertarian-leaning, generally as a means of making sure one or the other does not overstep its bounds in a non-libertarian direction.

The rest of the article does a decent job summing him up on the budget, taxation, abortion, criminal justice, and immigration, though foreign policy is ignored entirely here by the Post.

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  1. WoOHoO, Libertarian moment any day now.

    1. All I want from Gary is for him to stand in front of the podium and declare that Hillary is a criminal who belongs behind bars.

      1. GayJay and Weld endorsed Hitlery for president in the CNN town hall. He’d sooner call Trump a racist…again and again.

        1. This could be the first election since the eighties that I don’t vote libertarian for president. Gary continues to dismay me.

          1. I voted LP in 2012 for the first time, for POTUS. I’m not sure when the next time will be. When they don’t run an x stoner who seems to be in some type of post addiction withdrawal syndrome which has left him babbling like an incoherent moron, and an east coast democrat lite, maybe.

      2. Didn’t he praise her at the Townhall?

      3. Which happened in one of the alternative universes.

  2. I smell a moment coming on…

    1. That smell is a movement not a moment.

    2. Yeah, I’ve got that on my shoe. I had to scrape it off.

  3. Actually, collective choices about who to vote for defines who has a chance to win, and the winner would have won whether you vote for them or not. But those truths are hard to sell to American voters.

    wordsmith it how you will, our system remains binary. One of the two major party candidates is going to win. In a parliamentary system, libertarians could certainly gain traction by claiming whatever number of seats; any party unable to win outright would need them to forge a coalition. But out duopoly cannot adequately plan the seating for a two-person dinner, let alone entertain the notion of a third voice.

    1. That traction gain would work only with party-list voting. Not all parliamentary systems are like that; in the English-speaking countries, none are AFAIK.

      1. Australian Rules Parliament has a party-list mode for the Senate.
        See: http://www.aec.gov.au/Voting/H…..senate.htm

  4. The Washington Post article bemoans the impracticality of Johnson’s budget idea of balancing the budget::

    “Many economists argue that insisting on a balanced budget could have grave economic consequences. During economic recessions, the government takes in less in taxes as firms sell fewer products and workers lose their jobs. As a result, Johnson would be forced to reduce spending by the government during a recession in order to maintain a balanced budget. Doing so could require laying off public employees and canceling federal contracts, which would exacerbate the recession.”

    I presume that author supports cutting the budget during boom times – isn’t that what Keynes suggested?

    Or is the author only going to mention balancing the budget in the context of criticizing the idea? Surely not!

    1. It’s best to avoid these impractical ideas and support the pragmatic fiscal policies the major parties have been pursuing!

      /sarc

    2. I presume that author supports cutting the budget during boom times – isn’t that what Keynes suggested?

      Like anyone else, Keynes is only useful so long as his ideas expand the state. The left freely ignores the boom time part, at least those leftists who are even aware of it.

      1. To be fair, we’re still waiting for the boom time.

        1. Stop complaining, the government is already letting you keep most of their money that you work for. Be grateful, peasant.

      2. Luckily, government policies now ensure we’ll never fully escape a recession, so spending never need be cut.

    3. Its funny how the ‘multiplierz’ crowd always forgets that for Keynesian theory to have a chance in hell of working that we need to *not* follow and increase in government spending during a recession with an even greater increase once the recession is over. Which then requires increased spending in the next recession and that leads to another increase in spending when that one is done.

      The point of this is that its *government spending* that absorbs the shock of boom-bust cycles and not the economy as a whole. So the government contracts (or at least doesn’t grow) during booms, builds up a surplus, and then that surplus is burnt during busts.

      We just spend and spend and spend and then wonder why our recessions last 4-6 years.

    4. As a result, Johnson would be forced to reduce spending by the government during a recession in order to maintain a balanced budget. Doing so could require laying off public employees and canceling federal contracts, which would exacerbate the recession.”

      Aaaannnndd?

  5. Gary Johnson/William Weld: Can They Win Over Disaffected Republicans, Even in Weld’s Home State?
    Some, no doubt, but voter misgivings with non-major party choices can be hard to vault.

    There will be no defections from the republican party.
    Once you’re in the party, you stay in the party forever.
    Such apostasy will result in public humiliation, being kicked out of the country clube, and turning in of your brown shirts and jackboots.
    Any defections from the democratic party to LP will result in a fun family forced march to the district gulag, beatings, starvation, random shooting of prisoners and the elimination of PBS viewing rights for life.
    You’ve been warned.

    1. Well, its not like they can’t say there isn’t a long history of precedence. ‘Once in, you’re in for life – yours or mine’ has been Republican policy since 1861.

  6. But he won’t be voting for Weld. He doesn’t want to waste his vote and fears that Johnson could serve as a spoiler who helps get Clinton elected.

    Fuckface, you live in Massachusetts – the state is going to go to whoever has the ‘D’ after their name, as they always have. Johnson isn’t going to spoil shit here, so you’re free to vote for whomever you like.

    1. He doesn’t just give blood; he saves a life. He doesn’t just adopt a dog; he rescues it. And when his country calls, he’s there to strategically place his vote. It’s what watered down heroism requires.

  7. You can have a punch in the face or a kick in the nuts. You could also have ice cream, but ice cream only polls 2% nationally so you have to vote for a kick in the nuts to keep from getting a punch in the face.

    This country needs an enema.

  8. I for one find it hard to imagine a third party candidate doing well in our current Hillary-take-all system.

    1. Except Trump is the 3rd party candidate who seized the ballot line from the Republicans. They responded by stealing the LP nom in a pathetic attempt to “spoil it” so they can get their party back and run Paul Ryan or Jeb in 2020.

  9. . . . and in fact says he’ll be joining the likely near-majority not voting at all in November for president.

    Its kind of hilarious. These people *really, really, really* don’t want Trump – to the point that they prefer a Clinton presidency – but what they’re REALLY afraid of is the thought that third parties might become viable. So they pretend there’s no option except vote for Trump or don’t vote at all.

    Trump is bad, from their point of view, because Trump knows how to say all the things that a huge chunk of the base likes (whether he has any intention of following through with this rhetoric is about as relevant as whether or not Obama was intending to do all the things people thought he was going to do when he was elected), and that threatens to take power in the GOP out of the hands of the people currently running the party.

    A Johnson/Weld vote threatens not just the existence of the party, but of the two party system itself – that system is what gives those holding the reigns of the GOP and DNC the power and prestige that they enjoy. A Johnson/Weld votes could very well make one or both of them *just another special interest group* with no more claim for special treatment than any of the other parties.

    1. Less than 1% of the vote doesn’t threaten shit. Win or lose Trump’s gonna tear the whole 2 party system down.

  10. They’re not even playing for disaffected Republicans. Weld defended Clinton’s tenure as Secretary of State and Johnson has made excuses for her also (about the emails and other stuff). It’s clear that they think the election is Clinton’s to lose, and so they’re playing for voters who are leaning Clinton.

  11. Some, no doubt, but voter misgivings with non-major party choices can be hard to vault.

    I haven’t read the article, but this seems a strange choice of words…

  12. As a 25-year member of the LP, I’m beginning to wonder whether Johnson/Weld will alienate more libertarians than they can win over disaffected Republicans.

    1. They’ve certainly alienated the fuck out of me. And I think I’m not alone here.

    2. I assume that’s the calculation, right? Libertarians give you .9%. Disaffected Rs & Ds plus some moderate libertarians might give you a lot more?

    3. Yeah, I really miss me some Barr/Root. Principles or GTFO.

      1. At least Root was crazy. That was something we could recognize! But these guys?

  13. My only hope today is to remember the election where Ventura won the governorship in Minnesoda.

    Everywhere you went, people talked about how they loved the way Jesse said things that no other politician would. But they weren’t going to vote for him because they didn’t want to waste their vote.

    Then the polls started to show him with a chance to win. Suddenly people were willing to vote for him because they didn’t feel like they were wasting their vote. The herd mentality pushed him into victory.

    1. Early polls gave Ventura just over 10 percent of the electorate’s support, which remained relatively static up through the September 15 primary election until sometime in mid October. At that point his stock began to rise among voters. A poll conducted by the Star Tribune in mid October put him over the 20 percent mark for the first time and enabled Ventura to secure an important campaign loan (see below). He steadily rose in the polls through election day, despite never actually leading. In the final published poll, released the Sunday before the election, the Star Tribune ran a front page story that stated in the opening paragraph, “?Hubert Humphrey III, Norm Coleman, and Jesse Ventura each has a real chance of claiming the governor’s office on election day Tuesday” (Smith 1998). Even though he never officially led in the pre-election polls, the reality communicated through the press to voters was that was still in a position to possibly win. With his momentum in the polls and eventual victory, Ventura overcame the usual trend that “third-party support fades as the election approaches”

      The link

      1. I wasn’t here at the time, but I’m hoping for the same thing.

        Speaking of perfect storms, how badly are you getting hit? There’s a huge oak down across the street, and I don’t see us getting power back any time soon. I’m headed for the local Summit happy hour soon.

        1. Getting back from my happy hour was a chore. Between the rain and the road construction, I spent a lot of time getting home.

          We had one big ash tree fall across one of our walking paths through a green way and a lot of small branches everywhere but that was about it. We didn’t lose power so we just hunkered down.

          Gotta love Minnesoda weather.

    2. “Preference cascade”

    3. Is that a pro-Johnson or pro-Trump comment?

  14. For all the rhetoric from the left about voting 3rd party if Hillary is the nominee, Jill Stein is polling at 3%. How many of them are moving to Canada if Trump wins? I suspect that number is well below 3% who would follow up on that even if they could.

    1. Jill Stein either won’t break 0.4% or she’s gonna beat GayJay like a rented mule.

  15. If they wanted to pick up disaffected Republicans, maybe Weld shouldn’t have sung Hillary’s praises so much.

    1. The “I’m With Her” Bush-loving neocons are firmly in Hitlery’s camp.

  16. Time for J&W to backtrack on their kind Hillary comments. Gloves need to come off and they need to blast the ReasonTV Hillary Clinton Vs. Comey video from every media source they can find.

  17. JW seems to me that their going after the disaffected Bernie Bros more so than any Repubs?

    “Well, we used to be repubs, so they’ll just come along.”

  18. I’ve been dismayed at how many Repub’s moan about Trump, and then complain about the prospect of Hillary becoming President, and wish there was another option. Then mention Gary Johnson and you get, your wasting your vote he’ll only get 1% like they always do. I suspect if he can get a certain amount of media recognition that he could suddenly break through that barrier, but it’s the same old catch 22. I’ve even been expecting to see a small rise in polls lately, but still disappointed. I do wonder if the FBI essentially laying out how guilty Hillary is may cause some Dem’s to look at Gary. It does seem to me like Gary is assuming Repubs that might support him will without any effort, and is focused more on getting Dems to vote for him.

  19. It has nothing to do with misgivings and everything to do with well trained sheep afraid to leave their pens

  20. How can you possibly be wasting a vote when you chose integrity and freedom over corruption and the status quo.

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