Bill Weld, the Libertarian Party’s Vice Presidential Nominee, delivered a remarkable statement today, outlining the dangers posed by Donald Trump. He began by talking about what an honor it is to have campaigned with Gary Johnson and the Libertarian Party. He then made this transition:
We are making strides toward breaking the two party monopoly, and America will be stronger when we do, but given the position of the Commission on Presidential Debates, the deck is still stacked against even a credible third party ticket with two proven former Governors.
That sounds like a concession. Weld then moved to the purpose of his statement:
Against that backdrop, I would like to address myself to all those in the electorate who remain torn between two so-called major party candidates whom they cannot enthusiastically support. I’m speaking particularly to those Republicans who feel that our President should exhibit commonly accepted standards of decency and discipline.
I would not have stepped out of the swirl of the campaign to make this statement if I did not fear for our country, as I do.
Weld then proceeded to lay out an argument that Donald Trump is unfit to be President and a danger to the country. He concluded his argument by saying:
In the final days of this very close race, every citizen must be aware of the power and responsibility of each individual vote. This is not the time to cast a jocular or feel-good vote for a man whom you may have briefly found entertaining. Donald Trump should not, cannot, and must not be elected President of the United States.”
Weld did not come out and endorse Hillary Clinton. Honestly, doing so would be disrespectful to his supporters, volunteers, and staff. In fact, he does not mention Clinton by name. However, he argues that Trump must be stopped and he recognizes that his ticket cannot do it. Weld is, not-so-subtly, arguing that undecided voters need to vote for Clinton for the good of the country.
Will this make a big difference? No. If Bill Weld had a lot of pull, he would not be the VP on a ticket that is polling at about 4%. Yet, the statement stands out because it is actually a argument against Weld’s own political self-interest.
This actually appears to be a genuine act of statesmanship in a campaign where it has been sorely lacking. In a normal campaign, Weld would have every incentive to try to siphon off votes from people unwilling to pull the lever for Clinton. It would help him and his party gain influence in the future. That Weld is abandoning this argument says something about the strength of his character and a lot more about Trump’s lack of the same.