You’ll hear it many times between now and Election Day 2024, “The American voters are smart.” Don’t believe it; the Republicans are certainly banking on them not being so.
There is a supposed third-party movement calling itself No Labels going on. The idea is to provide American voters with a viable alternative to Joe Biden and Donald Trump; the expected 2024 Democratic and Republican presidential nominees. Reality is much different.
A third-party candidate has never been viable in American history. For example, think about Theodore Roosevelt (in his Bull Moose run), Ross Perot and Ralph Nader. None came remotely close to winning and remember Roosevelt ran as a popular ex-president. However, a case can be made that they made the difference in their races.
To my recollection, in every presidential contest I’ve voted in there have been many more than two candidates on the ballot. I see no reason to assume that sans No Labels 2024 would be any different.
No Labels gets the vast majority of its money from Republican and/or right wing sources. It is not trying to offer you a choice. Its candidate will never be a viable contender. It is trying to help Donald Trump get reelected. It is that plain and simple!
Closely aligned – and it wouldn’t be surprising to see him “drafted” to be on the No Labels ticket in the number one or more likely number two spot – Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., is getting most of his money from similar sources. His financiers have to know he has no chance of defeating Joe Biden in the Democratic primary but the Kennedy name causes Biden some annoyance and could, if he is a candidate in the general, peel away a few less well informed, would be, Biden voters. Much the same can be said for the apparent No Labels current frontrunner West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin.
No Labels has consistently refused to disclose its funders. (More accurately it would be called No Disclosures.) Mother Jones has done the best investigative reporting on their financial sources. One of the individuals identified in their reporting is Harlan Crow. Yes, the as in Clarence Thomas, Harlan Crow. This is the epitome of dark money. The influence of money in American politics is a problem and dark money is the most harmful kind of political money.
Last week the Republicans invited Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. to testify in front of their weaponization of government sub-committee and behind him sat Dennis Kucinich. Joe Lieberman is also one of their frontmen. Both are past losers desperately seeking those last few minutes in the hot lights. (Dancing with the Stars must not be taping.)
Here is the political reality for this cycle. Trump loyalists will vote for him no matter what. They have already proven that. More so than Democrats, Republicans tend to turnout and they are also more likely to fall in line. Democratic leaning voters have a less sterling turnout rate and they are more likely to stray than their Republican counterparts. Conclusion: a third-party candidate that can cause even minor defections benefits Trump.
In American presidential elections the popular vote is a beauty contest and the polls you see with Biden having a lead north of the margin of error are really meaningless because they are national in scope. The awarding of electors in most states is a foregone conclusion even at this early date. There are a handful of toss-up states (about 10) and if recent history is any guide a few of them will be very, very close. With a third-party candidate of any significance the winner of the state may well have less than 50%+1. In this scenario the “defection vote” could well make the difference. (This makes a case for rank choice voting but that is a topic for another day.)
A No Labels candidate will not be viable but he (and it will be a male) could well be determinative and detrimental. This is effectively, (and it could be very effective!), a new form of voter suppression. You think you are voting against Trump but in reality you are helping him win. Don’t be the fool the Republicans are hoping you are.
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