Positivity at the Faith, Politics, and the Common Good Forum
DES MOINES, Iowa—On Thursday, Jan. 9, Vote Common Good hosted a public forum featuring Republican presidential candidate, former Governor Bill Weld, and Democratic presidential candidate Marianne Williamson at Franklin Junior High School. Weld and Williamson seemed friendly at the event. In between panels, the two candidates took some time to catch up. Williamson hugged Weld and his wife, and the three exchanged pleasantries.
Both Weld and Williamson made kind remarks about each other’s candidacies during their respective panels. It was a lovely change of pace to hear two candidates from opposing sides of the aisle build each other up instead of attacking one another. The audience also seemed to enjoy the positivity of both candidates. Any compliments given by the presidential candidates to each other were met with applause from the audience and panelists. It appeared as though most of the people in attendance shared Weld and Williamson’s respectful attitudes.
Weld spoke during the first panel of the evening, where he shared his views and spoke briefly about his time as governor as well as his stint as Gary Johnson’s running mate in 2016. Weld claimed that he was running to give Republicans the option to vote for someone other than Trump. He tended to focus on distinguishing himself from President Trump during his time on the panel. He also impressed more liberal audience members with his pro-choice stance on abortion, and other libertarian beliefs not commonly found among Republican politicians.
Williamson spoke during the second panel of the evening. When asked a question about how she deals with people mocking her, and her weaponization of “love as a political force,” Williamson seemed shaken. It was clear from her aggravated tone of voice and heightened volume level that the question hit close to home. Williamson made it clear that she saw her instigators as a sign of strength. She claimed that people mocked her because they were afraid of her. “They went to my website, and they saw my policies, and they are scared,” said Williamson.
She also gave no indication that she would suspend her campaign less than twenty-four hours later. When asked about the recent firing of all of her staff, she claimed that was not completely true and she retained a “skeleton staff.” After the event, Williamson met with supporters and spoke to various members of the press. Williamson and her staff encouraged supporters to take yard signs and to commit to caucus. None of her responses that night or actions after the event signaled the impending end of her campaign. In fact, I was surprised to read that her campaign was suspended the next day.