For nigh on a year and a half now I have been saying that Donald Trump is literally killing the Republicans as a viable national party going forward. As a result, I have taken my fair share of incoming slings and arrows, telling me what a fool I am, and recounting how many times that the GOP has been left for dead before. But I never predicted the death of the entire GOP, only their demise as a consistent force in national politics.
And so it was with great pleasure that I suddenly found someone, anyone else who agrees with me, and a card carrying Republican to boot. And not just a card carrying Republican, but one with some serious GOP street creds.
That being said, William Weld is rather the pariah in GOP circles right now. A former GOP Massachusetts governor, Weld left the party in 2016 to run as Gary Johnson’s VP candidate on the Libertarian ticket. And now he’s bucking the odds to run against His Lowness in the Republican primaries for President.
I was elated when Weld announced his run, not only because it would force Trump to actually campaign, where he can make a frequent fool of himself, but also because, as Lawrence O’Donnell loves to point out, no incumbent President has ever lost a primary battle, but no incumbent President has been reelected when his primary went beyond South Carolina either. And at least some parts of Trumpmenistan are worried, including the aforementioned South Carolina, which is considering skipping a GOP primary in 2020 if Weld qualifies for the ballot.
After announcing his run, Weld had restricted his appearances largely to network talk shows, including MSNBC. But yesterday he spoke to the annual NAACP convention, something Trump has steadfastly refused to do. And he led his speech off with a bang;
Trump is a raging racist, Okay? He’s a complete and thoroughgoing racist. And he made that choice, a choice a long time ago, when he was engaged in the housing business in New York with his father
This is not going to go over well with The Mango Messiah, I can tell you that. As far as my memory serves, no Republican of any import has come right out and called Glorious Bleater a racist. Even that turncoat Justin Amash split with Trump not over racism, but over the criminality outlined in the Mueller report. But then Weld took it to the next level;
The national Republican Party, has a choice. And a lot of them like to think that it’s a political choice. But it’s not a political choice. It’s a moral choice.
Weld went on to appear on Lawrence O’Donnell’s show last night, when he put the icing on the cake, telling O’Donnell that if the GOP as a party did not repudiate Trump in 2020, it would essentially cease to exist as a party that could win a national election. He stated that sure, the GOP could still capture the “Dixiecrat states,” as he put it, but those would not be enough to win a presidential election in the electoral college.
This could end up working out true either way. Racism works for Trump, but it’s a one trick pony. People who love Trump tolerate racism from him that they would not tolerate from anyone else simply because of his persona. Once Trump is gone, no other candidate can match his persona and audacity, and make racism a staple of his or her platform. But even if Trump loses, the vast majority of “mainstream” conservatives may shy away from rejoining the party, avoiding the stench of racism that Trump has soaked the party in, like so much cheap rum.
Now, let’s be honest, Bill Weld has as much of a chance of beating Donald Trump as a snowflake in Vegas in August. But there are at least three ways that he could seriously damage Trump with his candidacy. Number one, if Weld gets any kind of traction at all, even say 10-15%, he wold become a serious enough candidate to garner more mainstream media time, and drive The $1 Store Caligula insane with his attacks. Trump would not only scream “FAKE NEWS!” about the polls, but if head to head polls showed Trump getting clobbered by Biden, but Weld a closer match with Biden, he could be in real trouble.
Numero dos, we all know that Donald Trump takes rejection about as well as your cat takes a trip to the vet. Namely, howling, spitting, kicking and clawing all the way. If Weld gets any kind of polling success, not only is Trump going to rant and rave about the polls being “fake news,” but he’s also going to start blanket insulting the Weld supporters for their duplicity. Hell, dog’s gotta howl, right? And there are Trump places like New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and California where Weld could come close, if not pull off an upset, causing even more outrage against his voters. The same voters Trump is going to desperately need to come back to him for the general election.
And bringing up the rear, but not by much, is the spoiler effect. Donald Trump is going to need every single vote that he got in 2016, and possibly more to squeak out another electoral college victory in 2020. That is going to include a number of independents and “soft” Republicans that may be sitting on the fence about holding their noses and voting for Trump again. Weld is going to provide the ultimate contrast. A quiet, successful, practical, conservative with a conscience, empathy and moral values. And even after the primaries are over, and Trump is the nominee, Weld may have reminded some of those conservative fence sitters that they can do better, and deserve better, and in so doing, get them to stay home on election day instead of making the same mistake twice.
So, William Weld let the genie out of the bottle, he called Trump a racist, a path I don’t expect any other Republicans to follow. But he also sounded the alarm that The Trumpinator is an existential threat to the GOP as a national party. This is an obvious ploy to gather “traditional” conservatives to his campaign, but that doesn’t make the warning any less dire or true. But if Weld can prove to be a legitimate challenger, he may keep the streak alive of no incumbent being reelected after facing a serious primary challenge. And then the GOP will just have to take its chances and see what arises from the rubble of the Trump experiment.