HORIZON 2020: WHAT WILL THE MIDTERMS TELL US ABOUT THE FUTURE OF U.S. ELECTIONS?
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HORIZON 2020: WHAT WILL THE MIDTERMS TELL US ABOUT THE FUTURE OF U.S. ELECTIONS?
13th June 2018 @ 12:30 pm - 1:30 pmFree
Whatever one’s feelings toward the outcome of the 2016 US elections, there can be no doubting the historic impact and significance of the election itself – the selection of the candidates, the legal challenges, and the thus far unheard of influence of social media.
By kind invitation of Nigel Evans MP, the Henry Jackson Society is delighted to invite you to an event with former Governor of Massachusetts and Vice President nominee William Weld.
William will address a range of issues that will impact the run up to the elections, and beyond to the 2020 Presidential election. Having worked on the issues of both the Clinton and Nixon impeachments, Mr Weld will also speak about the legal challenges the President has faced and may still face, as well as speak about the general climate and trends in American politics during this truly fascinating period.
William F Weld is a former Republican Governor of Massachusetts, and later the Libertarian Party’s nominee for Vice President of the United States in the 2016 election, sharing the ticket with Gary Johnson. Weld was the United States Attorney for the District of Massachusetts from 1981 to 1986, focusing on a series of high-profile public corruption cases, and served as the head of the Department of Justice Criminal Division from 1986 to 1988. He was elected Governor of Massachusetts in 1990 and was in office from 1991 to 1997, and was the Republican nominee for the United States Senate in 1996, losing to incumbent Democrat John Kerry.
Governor Weld first conducted an engaging presentation into his past legal and political career during which he held numerous positions including amongst others: US Attorney for the state of Massachusetts, head of the Criminal Division of the Justice Department in Washington D.C and most notably Governor of Massachusetts between 1991 and 1997. In the latter half of his presentation, Governor Weld provided the audience with enlightening predictions and personal opinions for the respective outcomes of the upcoming November 2018 Mid-term and the 2020 presidential elections.
While discussing his diverse and engaging past endeavours, Governor Weld highlighted that his first significant legal career break-through occurred during the tumultuous 1973-74 impeachment period of former President Nixon following the infamous Watergate scandal. During these events, Governor Weld acted as counsel during the impeachment inquiry within the US House judiciary committee as a young recent Harvard Law graduate alongside, coincidently, another junior lawyer: Hilary Rodham (Clinton) whose future husband: former President Bill Clinton he would later support in the face of another impeachment attempt.
Following this high-profile legal exposure, Governor Weld was subsequently promoted to hold office as the US Attorney for Massachusetts from 1981 to 1986, a time during which he won a staggering 109 out of 111 convictions in corruption cases, awarding him national recognition for fighting public corruption at an unprecedented level of success and relentlessness. In the Governor’s own words, he ‘spent seven years trying to keep politics out of law enforcement’, after which he was promoted to the head of the Criminal Division of the DOJ until his resignation in 1988.
The former Governor then narrated his transition to a political career by being elected as the 68th Governor of the State of Massachusetts in 1991, emphasising his pride to the audience in being rated ‘the most fiscally conservative governor in the United States’ as he cut taxes twenty-one consecutive times. The Governor appeared equally proud in recalling his 71% majority re-election into office in 1994 which he held again until 1997, concluding that his ‘run’ as Governor was a ‘good’ one.
Governor Weld then briefly discussed his more recent political activities, namely the 2016 presidential election during which he ran alongside Garry Johnson as the Libertarian nominee for the Vice-President’s office. He admitted that his Libertarian convictions stemmed from his time as Governor of Massachusetts during which he was influential in advancing Libertarian policies such as gay marriage or the legalisation of medical marijuana. In line with his Libertarian inclinations, Governor Weld highlighted his opposition to President Trump’s support for ‘world autocrats’ such as Russia’s President Putin, the Philippines President Duterte whose ruthless and barbaric anti-drug policies he condemns and most recently North Korean chairman Kim Jong-Un.
In the latter half of his presentation, Governor Weld focused primarily on the question of whether US Democrats will succeed in ‘taking back’ the House of Representatives in the upcoming Mid-Term 2018 elections. Although conceding that President Trump has been doing better in public opinion ratings in recent weeks especially in light of his most recent diplomatic success in signing the peace commitment agreement with Kim Jong-Un, Governor Weld nonetheless underlined his belief that the Democrats will succeed in securing a House majority, thereby drawing a parallel with former President Nixon’s Chinese relations successes in 1972. In his view, this in turn will award them the possibility of impeaching President Trump primarily due to his sustained record in undermining a democratic Rule of Law, if the sixty-seven senatorial vote requirement for impeachment is met. Governor Weld asserted the positive reactions this development may catalyse on a domestic as well as an international plain, namely the Iranian peoples’ wishes to see President Trump gone in order to form closer ties with the United States for instance.
While commenting on the 2020 presidential election, Governor Weld stressed the potential role of an emanating third political party in light of the growing disagreements and tensions between the Republicans and Democrats in recent years, stating that ‘people are not listening to each other in Washington’. To highlight this mounting tension, Governor Weld drew on the political events of the 1850s where the Whig Republican predecessors heavily clashed with the Democratic party of the time on contentious European immigration issues, mentioning that the resolution of that conflict eventually arrived with the election of former President Lincoln, thereby suggesting the eventuality for ‘light at the end of the tunnel’. Upon speculating on the identity of this potential third party, Governor Weld acknowledged numerous possibilities including a self-funded candidate – likening him to the 1996 Reform party nominee Ross Perot, or the resurgence of the Libertarian party for which he ran as vice-president in 2016 and to which he will reiterate his support in 2020.
In the events’ final moments, Governor Weld was inquisitively pressed on a number of issues and concerns regarding the possibility of reversing President Trump’s ‘damage’ or the latter’s potential impeachment procedures’ success prospects. While the Governor acknowledged that a majority of President Trump’s reckless actions on the international front will be reversible such as the alienation of G7 and NATO partners or the non-ratification of the TPP agreement, he expressed substantial pessimism as to the possibility of successful impeachment grounds notwithstanding a possible Democrat majority in the House of Representatives, noting that ‘no smoking gun’ is likely to come out of the FBI’s Fuller inquiry into Russian 2016 election meddling.
Finally, when pressed on his view of the Iran nuclear deal, Governor Weld asserted his personal disconnection to the Republican party by suggesting that he is the only Republican affiliate ‘he knows’ to endorse the deal, thereby somewhat reiterating his Libertarian stance.
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