After months of one of the most bizarre — and ugly — presidential campaigns in modern times, decision time has finally arrived. For American voters? Yes. But also for Bill Weld.
The state’s quirky former governor reinvented himself earlier this year as a “Libertarian for life,” calling it a gift to be liberated from the social conservatism of Republican orthodoxy that was never a good fit for his laissez-faire leanings. But he has proven to be an unreliable running mate for Libertarian Party presidential nominee Gary Johnson, whose gaffe-prone candidacy has shown the former New Mexico governor to be an unreliable standard-bearer for the party.
Weld has been inching closer to a full confession that the Johnson-Weld ticket has no chance — and to an endorsement of Hillary Clinton as the only way to stave off the disaster that he says a Donald Trump presidency would be. But he keeps stopping just short.
The latest round came on Tuesday in an appearance on The Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC. “I’m here vouching for Mrs. Clinton, and I think it’s high time somebody did,” Weld said.
“I’ve known her for 40 years,” he continued. “I know her well professionally. I know her well personally. I know her to be a person of high moral character, a reliable person, and an honest person, however so much Mr. Trump may rant and rave to the contrary. So I’m happy to say that. And people can make their own choices.”
Globe columnist Joan Vennochi says it’s time for Weld to make a choice of his own. “He should take the next step and tell the American people he’s voting for Hillary Clinton, and if they want to stop Donald Trump, they should, too,” she writes.
Weld has said from the start that the Libertarian ticket stood no chance if it could not crack the 15 percent level in national polls that the presidential debate commission set as the floor to join in the three presidential debates and one VP tilt. Once that debate ship sailed without Johnson and Weld aboard, Weld began displaying even more of his “independent” streak in talking about the race.
His commentary has surely angered Johnson and the Libertarian Party faithful, but Weld is also frustrating those who want him to do more than just wink and nod his clear preference for Clinton over Trump, whom he has called a clear and present danger.
Just why might all this matter? Look no further than the new MassINC Polling Group/WBUR survey of New Hampshire voters out this morning. It shows Trump now holding a 1-point lead there, erasing a 15-point edge Clinton held in late July and a 3-point lead as recently as mid-October.
While Johnson is winning 4 percent of the vote in the latest Real Clear Politics average of national polls, he is still favored by 10 percent of voters in flinty New Hampshire. Whether those voters decide by Tuesday that their ticket is a lost cause and move to Clinton or Trump may hold the key to the outcome of a potentially crucial swing state.
“I would keep an eye on third-party voters to see if they stick with their choices when the race is looking tight,” MassINC Polling Group president Steve Koczela told the Globe.
Big Red has always relished being at the center of the action and attention. Now he could be, with a lot on the line.
Gov. Charlie Baker announces a $9 million grant to Haverhill for infrastructure improvements expected to facilitate the development of Merrimack Street, where the Lupoli Cos. of Lawrence has several projects. (Eagle-Tribune)
A Worcester committee calls on the state to give municipalities more control over the taxes they levy. The committee said the state’s municipalities don’t have a spending problem; they have a revenue problem. (Telegram & Gazette)
Protesters and relatives of a Boston man killed by police who say he lunged at emergency medical technicians with a knife call for the officers to be charged in the case. (Boston Globe)
Developers sue the city of Springfield for allegedly blocking their bid to open a Registry of Motor Vehicles office on their site. The lawsuit claims the city steered the project to a developer with close ties to the MGM casino project. (Masslive)
Brockton Board of Health members tabled a proposal to draw up new regulations for raising chickens and other farm animals in the city until a new urban agricultural policy is finalized. (The Enterprise)
Framingham Town Meeting approved retroactive raises for nonunion employees in an effort to stem the exodus of those workers because of better-paying opportunities elsewhere. (MetroWest Daily News)
A Herald editorial decries the repressive crackdown against the press and others in Turkey.
Pembroke police arrested a masked Trump supporter dressed in military fatigues who was waving a Hillary Clinton sign and brandishing what turned out to be a toy knife at a busy intersection to point out what he says is Clinton’s support for terrorists. (Patriot Ledger)
A Lowell Sun editorial hails the rise in voter registration, but warns that most voters are registering as unenrolled, suggesting political parties are losing their hold on the electorate.
Continuing his strong opposition to the ballot question that would legalize marijuana, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh warns that passage could mean “48 pot shops” in the city in no time. (Boston Herald)
Gov. Charlie Baker campaigns for Question 2 in Lowell, prompting opponents to crash his event and yell shame at him. (Lowell Sun) Dorchester charter school founder and former Boston school committee member Meg Campbell says charters offer high-quality choice. (CommonWealth) Todd Gazda, superintendent of the Ludlow public schools, says the narrative spun by charter expansion supporters is all wrong. How many charters are too many, asks the Globe. (CommonWealth) A Moody’s report on the impact of the charter school ballot question won’t be out until after the election. (Politico) A Globe editorial says word of the coming report plays into the “scare tactics” of charter opponents and that the dire financial picture being painted is misleading.
The Federal Reserve voted not to raise the interest rate one week ahead of the election but set the stage for a hike at its December meeting. (U.S. News & World Report)
Reebok will move its corporate headquarters from Canton to Boston. (Boston Globe)
The town of Westport has filed for an injunction against the owner of a controversial farm, where officials removed 1,400 abused animals, as well as the town’s Board of Health, building commissioner, and animal inspector in an effort to keep the farm closed. (Herald News)
Boston’s long-struggling Mattahunt Elementary School will be closed and converted to an early learning center. (Boston Herald)
Salem Hospital, part of Partners HealthCare’s North Shore Medical Center, scales back its expansion plans by $33 million. (Salem News)
Signature Healthcare Brockton Hospital is shutting down its Transitional Care Unit, which cares for patients after surgery or recovering from acute illness, resulting in the loss of 64 jobs. (The Enterprise)
Falmouth selectmen are balking at a request by a nonprofit for a letter of support to open a medical marijuana dispensary in East Falmouth, which would be the group’s third outlet in the state. (Cape Cod Times)
A new study finds children as young as 1-year-old can be tested for high cholesterol and that could help determine risk for heart disease later in life. (Associated Press)
Boston University researchers report that there is a dose-response relationship between football and brain damage, with more years playing the game associated with greater risks of permanent damage. (Boston Herald)
The MBTA is trying to plan for 2040. (CommonWealth)
Fourteen lawmakers have signed a letter criticizing the MBTA over its handling of fines for commuter rail operator Keolis. (Boston Globe)
David Block-Schachter, the MBTA’s chief technology officer, owns shares in Bridj, which is pitching the proposal to offer late-night bus service to T customers. (Boston Magazine)
A freight train derailed in Westford close to the same spot a train went off the tracks two years ago. (Lowell Sun)
The state is awarding more than $10 million grants to 18 cities and towns for seawall and dam projects to mitigate the impact of climate change. (Patriot Ledger)
Steve Wynn says he wants to partner with local operators on food and beverage operations at his Everett casino, which is under construction. (CommonWealth)
The FBI has offered a $10,000 reward for information about a 47-year-old Weymouth comic book artist who disappeared in the Cayman Islands a year and a half ago while snorkeling with his wife. (Patriot Ledger)
The Skimm has 4 million subscribers. (Bloomberg BusinessWeek)