Bill Weld is the worst possible Trump challenger – Washington Examiner
President Trump vocalized his desire to seek a second term before his first one had even begun. In the years since, the Trump administration has seen its shares of gaffes, success, and controversy. Yet one thing is certain: Trump supporters are more determined than ever to see the president win reelection in 2020.
Still, some disillusioned Republicans have called for a primary challenge. Such a maneuver would only serve as an ideological pushback against the inevitable since, barring any massive surprises, Trump is sure to win the party’s nomination once again.
This reality has not stopped former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld from launching his own bid for the Republican nomination. And there is nothing wrong with challenging Trump. Regardless of the outcome, it would be a good exercise in the strength of principle. But Weld is not the man to lead that charge — not even close.
This past weekend at the Iowa State Fair, Weld was the only Republican candidate in attendance. According to reports, his appearance was boring and forgettable. It did next to nothing to convince Republican voters to consider him as an alternative.
The Dallas Morning News quoted several attendees:
Weld, 74, is the GOP antithesis of Trump. He’s not larger than life or bombastic or especially charismatic. He barely registers in polls. He has raised less than $1 million, compared with $124 million for the incumbent. Trump has 63 million Twitter followers. Weld has 81,000.
‘Just wanted to hear what he had to say. He doesn’t have my vote,’ said Tilton, 33, a property manager in Des Moines who said he doesn’t see any reason to replace Trump. ‘He’s doing a great job. The economy alone, for one thing.’
Like him or not, Trump has a fiery personality unlike anything we’ve seen before in a politician. He is unapologetic in word and deed, which is enticing to a majority of GOP voters.
Meanwhile, Weld’s demeanor is that of a politician from the pre-Trump era. He plays this serious role well, but unfortunately for him, it’s not particularly memorable or compelling. And when your only opponent is a man who bulldozed the competition in 2016, passion is a must.
Another strike against the Weld campaign is the candidate’s stance on the issue of abortion.
Last election cycle, many Republicans voted for Donald Trump, even reluctantly, because of their desire to see anti-abortion action at the federal level. They also hoped for at least one new conservative justice on the Supreme Court. These anti-abortion voters have been rewarded.
On the other hand, Weld is a longtime proponent of abortion rights and protected them while governor of Massachusetts. In Iowa, he told a reporter, “I haven’t changed my position on a single issue. So what you see is what you get.” Weld may campaign against Trump’s worst characteristics, but the challenger’s lack of a anti-abortion ethic will gain him few Republican followers. Both his past and present make him too moderate and too pro-abortion for the GOP primary base.
Posing a serious, conservative primary threat to Trump would make a powerful statement and give a voice to former Republicans who just can’t pull the lever for a Democrat. But despite sometimes feeling frustrated by the president’s personality and antics, most GOP voters aren’t about to abandon him for a little-known and reserved character who isn’t even conservative on some of the most important issues of all.
Kimberly Ross is a contributor to the Washington Examiner’s Beltway Confidential Blog.
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