Presidential Campaign

Bill Weld should leave Libertarian ticket and support Clinton

Moriah Ratner

Journalist Carl Bernstein, one of America’s leading investigative reporters and a longtime friend of Bill Weld, the former Republican governor of Massachusetts and current Libertarian nominee for vice president under former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson (R), recently stated that there is a chance that Weld leaves the Libertarian ticket and campaigns for Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.

{mosads}This is a fascinating idea, though it should be noted that shortly after Bernstein made the statement, Weld denied he would leave the ticket and called it “wishful thinking.”

My view is that Weld should reconsider. He is known to have a very low opinion of GOP nominee Donald Trump and to dread the prospect of a Trump presidency. While Weld has not publicly called Trump a fascist, he has compared Trump’s immigration position to Kristallnacht, the Nazi riot against German Jews during the days of Adolf Hitler.

I would note that libertarian Gary Johnson has gone even further than Weld, directly calling Trump a fascist, which was widely reported by major news organizations, including The Hill.

If Johnson and Weld believe that Trump is a fascist — as in the case of Johnson — or favors persecution of Muslims comparable to Nazi riots against the Jews in Kristallnacht — as in the case of Weld — shouldn’t one or both of them drop out and support Clinton?

I have been generally friendly to the Johnson-Weld ticket. While I never supported the ticket, I did hope that if they reached the 10 percent threshold of support in polls, the debate commission would include them in the debates without requiring the 15 percent support the commission originally required. That was not to be, unfortunately.

If Weld ever does endorse Clinton, it would be a huge and game-changing event in the campaign. Weld was a very popular and widely respected moderate GOP governor of Massachusetts and has long been viewed by many as having presidential or vice presidential potential.

Whatever the merits of the Johnson-Weld ticket, it is obvious that they will not be elected on Election Day. On the other hand, if Weld did endorse Clinton, he would transform the entire trajectory of the campaign, alerting voters to the extreme danger to America that Weld, and for that matter Johnson, believe would come with Trump as president and commander in chief.

If Weld does endorse Clinton, as Bernstein suggested he could, Weld could well be one of the most important players in American politics and change the course of American history. He would be a national hero to all of those who believe Trump would be an epic disaster as president. Instead of being an asterisk as a VP nominee on a ticket that has no chance of winning, Weld could be the leader who ultimately determines who could be the next president.

How would Weld feel if he remains on the ticket, and Trump is elected by a very narrow margin, which he could have prevented by changing course and endorsing Clinton?

Conversely, how would Weld feel if Clinton wins by a narrow margin after Weld endorses her, and might have made the difference?

Bernstein is a nationally respected journalist, and I will take him at his word that there was, or is, some chance that Weld could endorse Clinton.

Weld is an honorable man, and I will take him at his word that he does not intend to leave the ticket or endorse Clinton.

While I have never accused Trump of being a fascist, despite my low opinion of him, Johnson has, and Weld has indeed accused Trump of taking immigration positions that are comparable to the Kristallnacht of the Hitler years.

If they share my low esteem for the prospect of Donald Trump as president and commander in chief, and in fact go further than I have in their harsh criticism, don’t they have some duty to take every possible action to prevent this danger to America?

Budowsky was an aide to former Sen. Lloyd Bentsen (D-Texas) and former Chief Deputy Majority Whip Bill Alexander (D-Ark.). He holds an LL.M. degree in international financial law from the London School of Economics. Contact him at

The views expressed by contributors are their own and not the views of The Hill. 

Tags Donald Trump Gary Johnson Hillary Clinton

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