Former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman will appear at Liberty State Park in New Jersey on Tuesday to formally announce his bid for the presidency. It’s hard to imagine a venue more laden with political symbolism. Liberty State Park juts out into New York Harbor, with Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty — emblematic beacons of hope and prosperity for the world — looming prominently on the horizon.
But Huntsman is not just planning to invoke American freedom. Liberty Park is also the place where Ronald Reagan launched his bid to turn another Democratic incumbent — Jimmy Carter — into a one-term president. The Gipper’s barn-burning speech on Labor Day in 1980, more than 31 years ago, set him firmly on the road to reclaiming the White House for Republicans. And Huntsman, who’s yet to appear before a large campaign audience, clearly has the same ambition.