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Yvonne Abraham

Did Gary Johnson just get dumped?

Libertarian presidential nominee Gary Johnson, right, and vice presidential candidate William Weld arrived at a campaign rally at Boston Common on Aug. 27.Katherine Taylor for The Boston Globe/Globe Freelance

We know how you feel, Gary Johnson.

Bill Weld stepped out on us, too.

Poor pet. You and your tender New Mexico heart believed our former governor would be yours always. “I’m a Libertarian for life,” our Bill declared just a few short months ago. You had to beg the small-government zealots at the party convention to accept him as your running mate. Even then, many of your compatriots were convinced Weld — a recent convert — would do them wrong.

And now here he is, the Libertarian vice presidential candidate, the guy who is supposed to help you become president, saying he’s going to spend the next five weeks focused on making sure Donald Trump loses the election.


It doesn’t feel quite like a breakup. Weld says he still loves you. It’s not you. I t’s Trump. Like the countless jiltees who have heard some variation on that line, you’d love to believe him. After the Globe ran his comments, he spent Wednesday backtracking, announcing via Facebook that “My Libertarian hat is firmly planted on my head, and will remain there.”

But how can you trust him, when he also said he wants to help remake the GOP after the election? How can you believe him when he said of your party, “I’m certainly not going to drop them this year”? This year? He said forever!

No. Better to face the truth now. Your relationship is kaput.

We’ve been there. We couldn’t keep him after he became our governor in 1991. Sure, he did a good job in some ways. But Weld, the prepster who always aced the exam after pretending not to study, seemed bored pretty quickly and didn’t do much to try to hide it.

He craved more limelight, mulling a presidential bid right after he romped to reelection in 1994. He ran for the Senate; he lost. He resigned as governor to launch an unsuccessful bid to become ambassador to Mexico. Then he really walked out on us, moving back to New York, dabbling at a law firm, in private equity, mounting a delusional run for governor there, and writing novels along the way.


He’s a flighty one. Though, to be fair, Gary (may we call you Gary?), you didn’t really hold up your end of the relationship. Since you and Weld got together, you’ve been acting like a bonehead.

What is Aleppo?” Not recognizing the name of the city at the center of the Syrian disaster was pretty bad. But there have been so many other oddities, lapses, and gaffes.

You did that weird thing with your tongue in an interview with NBC. You couldn’t summon the name of a single foreign leader you like during an MSNBC town hall. Weld tried to save you, rattling off the names of every Mexican ex-president, but it was no use. Your plan for combating climate change is to do nothing because it’s a waste of money. Also, “in billions of years the sun is going to actually grow and encompass the earth,” you said. Alrighty, then.

For a while, Weld, or his allies, seemed inclined to replace you at the top of the ticket, which would have been really cold. Instead, he opted for the political equivalent of the trial separation.


Painful, yes. But you guys got hitched after meeting for a few hours at a Las Vegas casino. You can’t expect a commitment-phobe like Weld to honor a Vegas wedding, especially when you go off the deep end before the honeymoon’s over.

If only he’d gone for the clean break, instead of using the “let’s spend a little time apart” gambit. Maybe he’s trying to let you down easy, Gary, but he’s doing real harm here. By staying half-married to you, he’s keeping the ticket alive. And as long as the ticket is alive, it could hurt Hillary Clinton and help Trump, if younger voters who would otherwise be hers choose you instead.

If Weld really wanted to stop the orange oligarch, he would dump you completely and urge folks to vote for his old buddy, Hillary Clinton.

Outright rejection hurts, Gary. We know that here better than anyone. But in the end, it’s the kindest thing Weld could do for you. And for the rest of us.

Globe columnist Yvonne Abraham can be reached at yvonne.abraham@globe.com.