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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Republican presidential candidate Bill Weld on campus

Feb. 24—Former Massachusetts governor Bill Weld came to campus. The Republican presidential candidate visited the University of Massachusetts Boston’s campus for a town hall event and, beforehand, met members of the campus’s political clubs—College Democrats and College Republicans—to talk one on one.

The McCormack Graduate School, Department of Political Science, and the College of Liberal Arts organized a mass of around 75 people to watch Weld speak as well as have questions for the man to answer. On the stage talking to Weld was Dr. Erin O’Brien, a professor of Political Science. Not everyone was from UMass Boston—O’Brien reached out to many schools and areas around UMass Boston and so one student from Suffolk University was able to ask a question. 

The first part of this event was Weld introducing himself, his history, policies, and plans. “Thank you all for coming—it’s a privilege for me to be back here at UMass Boston. I’m thrilled to be able to give you a few words about why I’m running and what I hope to do. I’ve actually thought about running for president twice before, in 1996 and 2000. I elected not to make those races. Looking at what was going on—not right after Mr. Trump was elected but after three years and how we saw how he would conduct his office and contort himself in office. My wife, who’s my chief speech writer and main political supporter and adviser, decided that it really was time for someone to plant a flag. So, I announced my candidacy last year on April 15 and we’ve been at it full time! I took a leave from my law-firm and consulting-firm to do this so our hearts are fully in it and the stakes are pretty high.”

Weld is very knowledgeable on United States history and uses that to his advantage. During the questions portion of the town hall, Dr. O’Brien asked him about the roles of political parties. “I am struck, over the course of your career, some would argue your authoritative side, others would argue your model of a party-ship you’re doing. Your current renegade GOP challenger, or GOP incumbent, who, they got rid of primaries to block you. You ran as the VP on the Libertarian ticket and I followed you on Boston 25 recently and I’m struck by what you said to Kerry Kavanaugh. You said, this is right after Iowa, you said, ‘I think they were trying to stop Sanders, that’s why [the Democrats] split the winning ticket in three parts there. I don’t think the establishment of the democratic party wants Senator Sanders. They certainly didn’t last time.’ She asked you if this was a conspiracy and you said, ‘Yeah, I think so.’ I think that is incredibly telling so my question is what do you think the current function of a political party is and what should it be?” 

To answer, O’Brien said, “Well the founders—Washington and Jefferson, Madison, Hamilton—were very suspicious of political parties: they called them by the name of ‘factions.’ They thought factions would be a very bad thing because it would mean people would have a set of positions they were going to take irrespective of the merits and they were right!”

United States history isn’t the only thing they talked about. Weld spoke on his changing opinions and how he had eight women and three men in his cabinet, including current Massachusetts governor Charlie Baker. He’s a strong supporter of people’s reproductive rights and their right to choose as well as LGBT+ rights. One statement made by Weld was, “I think I can beat the democrats.” And that he is “up to the job.”