Who Is Bill Weld? Meet Donald Trump’s Republican Challenger

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Throughout the 2020 presidential election cycle, media coverage has focused almost entirely on the unusually large number of Democratic candidates vying for the party’s presidential nomination. This fixation with the Democratic Party has caused many media outlets to report only infrequently on a presidential candidate running on the opposite side of the aisle. 

Bill Weld, the only Republican currently running against Trump, began his 2020 presidential campaign before many prominent Democratic candidates did, but his campaign has received minimal media coverage compared to his Democratic rivals. In case you’re wondering who Bill Weld is and why he’s running against Trump, you can learn all about him below.

What is Bill Weld’s political background?

Bill Weld is best known as the former governor of Massachusetts, an office he held from 1991 until 1997. During his time as governor, he enacted policies that expanded the state government’s reach and power, and many fellow Republicans objected to these changes. Weld also drew ire from fellow conservatives for endorsing Barack Obama instead of John McCain in the 2008 presidential election.

Despite some policies and endorsements that buck his party’s trend, Weld has ample experience supporting Republican candidates. Weld co-chaired campaign efforts for the 2008 Republican runner-up Mitt Romney, who is also a former Massachusetts governor (Romney ran against Obama in 2012). Weld also coached George W. Bush for a debate against John Kerry in the 2004 presidential race. Most recently, in 2016, Weld was Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson’s running mate.

Why is Bill Weld running against Donald Trump?

Weld has labeled himself a “real Republican,” implying that Trump represents a distortion of the party’s traditional values. He considers himself a far better student of the Constitution and stronger debater than Trump. As specific issues go, Weld is most opposed to Trump’s policies on foreign relations – a topic of leading concern given recent relations with Iran – and federal budgeting. 

Weld is running as a Republican candidate – as in, directly against Trump instead of appealing to an entirely different voter base – since he wants voters to vote against Trump twice. Weld has said that a voter who switches their party registration to Republican before their state’s primary and then back to Democrat for the presidential election can theoretically achieve this goal.

How is Bill Weld polling?

Throughout 2020, Donald Trump has massively led Bill Weld in Republican primary polls. On January 15, a survey from Florida Atlantic University gave Trump a 66-point lead over Weld in the Republican primaries. Four days later, a survey from Emerson University estimated this lead at a whopping 89 points. 

Trump is performing so much more strongly than Weld that polls comparing Republican and Democratic candidates have thus far only included Trump, with no mention of Weld. However, those polls often show an outcome that might please Weld: Trump is frequently polled as losing to Democrats, even when one of his most prominent media supporters conducts the polling. If Weld does eventually suspend his campaign, there remains a chance that his vision of a Trump-free Oval Office could come to fruition.

Who are you thinking of voting for in the 2020 presidential election? Sound off in the comments!

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