by Matt Welch, Reason.com
Bill Weld ad
If you had asked most members of the Libertarian Party on election night 2016whether vice presidential candidate Bill Weld would be central to the L.P.'s efforts in 2020, you may well have been held in violation of the Non-Aggression Principle.
The former two-term governor of Massachusetts had just wrapped up a tumultuous first six months as member of the party, from a hotly contested V.P. nomination to unprecedented media penetration to persistent speculation that he might drop out, all culminating with an unforgivable-for-some six-word sentence on The Rachel Maddow Show one week before the election: "I'm here vouching for Mrs. Clinton." Even those who were charitable toward Weld's late-breaking behavior—and there weren't many—reckoned that he'd parlay his successful/disappointing Libertarian half-year into some new centristy John Kasich/John Hickenlooper action. That is, if the well-heeled lawyer bothered with politics at all.
They were wrong. After announcing last November that "I'm going to stay L.P." and declaring the party "perfectly positioned to fill what's a growing need in the country," Weld is now openly laying the groundwork for a 2020 presidential campaign. The only question is whether he'll be the one running.
"I really have been doing a lot reading and thinking about what it means to be the Libertarian Party, and what possible achievements and upsides the Libertarian Party could" accomplish, Weld told me in an interview at the California state L.P. convention on Sunday. (You can watch that interview in full at the bottom of this post.) So is he running? "I take this stuff seriously," he told me. "But I'm sincere when I say that I'm not talking about is going to do the Libertarian race in 2020; I'm just here to say that I think that's a race that has some real potential to go the distance, and the sooner we all wrap our minds around that, the better."
Over the past few months, Weld has been schlepping his favorite brown coat from Houston to New York to Long Beach for state conventions, delivering his rap about how the party can best grow from here ("The number one thing we need to do by November 2020 is to elect a Libertarian president of the United States") and sketching out tantalizing visions of "$50 million or $100 million in the bank at the beginning of the campaign."...