A self-described “centrist” organization associated with former Democrat Senator Joe Lieberman has spooked blue strategists by positioning itself for a possible third-party run in the 2024 presidential election. While the threat of so-called “moderate” Democrats abandoning a thoroughly establishment President Joe Biden in droves may seem far-fetched, the hand-wringing brings into focus a potentially significant weak spot for an already manifestly unpopular incumbent chief executive.
Team Biden knows it cannot afford to leak votes from any faction that traditionally supports Democrats. But there is one particular segment of the party’s voting base that swallowed hard in 2020 and pulled the lever for a man it never wanted to support. No, that wasn’t the Lieberman crowd – it was populist progressives, aka the Bernie Bros who zealously backed Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT). Thus, it would make more sense to take Democrat angst over Lieberman’s “No Labels” venture and apply it to the menacing specter of a genuine third-party challenge to Biden from his always-disgruntled and ever-demanding left flank.
‘Third-Party Ticket Would Re-Elect Trump’
Politico on March 7 posted a memo from Democrat think tank Third Way that the news site says “takes aim at the potential ‘unity ticket’ being promoted by” No Labels. Politico posted the memo the same day that Arizona officials announced the movement had met the signature requirement to qualify for the 2024 ballot in state and federal elections. “Rather than producing a third-party ticket that would defy the overwhelming odds and win, No Labels is on track to field a spoiler who would re-elect [former GOP President Donald] Trump or a Trump-like Republican,” the memo shrieked.
The No Labels threat is entirely overblown. Lieberman’s “centrism” is far more about returning to the politics of cooperation among careerist Democrats and Republicans working within a reanimated pre-2016 status quo than it is about revolutionizing American politics. The only way this becomes a threat to Biden is if a Republican in that mold improbably manages to capture the 2024 GOP nod over the stern objections of the party’s grassroots, which is fired by anti-establishment sentiments.
Lieberman endorsed Hillary Clinton in 2016 and stumped for her on the campaign trail. He endorsed Biden in 2020. So, what is his idea of going ‘Republican’? He endorsed Swamp stalwart and fellow foreign policy interventionist John McCain over Barack Obama in 2008. In 2020, he backed Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), who is routinely labeled a RINO by GOP conservatives irked by her voting record.
This is a man who called for the US to send weapons to Ukraine to be used against Russia in 2015. Does it really bother him, then, that his longtime Senate colleague and full-tilt Volodymyr Zelensky patron is in the White House?
The real internal threat to Team Biden is visible in the Third Way memorandum:
“2016 third-party voters went for Biden in 2020: According to AP Votecast, Biden won voters who had backed Jill Stein and Gary Johnson by 30 points. Such voters could peel away to the No Labels candidate in 2024 and hand victory to Trump.”
The first sentence makes a very good point. The second does not. Supporters of Green Party standard bearer Stein or socially progressive libertarian marijuana enthusiast Johnson hardly fit the profile of those who would flock to a “pragmatic” No Labels Swamp consensus-seeker. But they are precisely the kind of 2020 Biden voters who may turn their backs on an administration that many progressives see as existing to serve the interests of party insider elites and DC lobbyists.
Biden and the ‘System’ They Despise
Marianne Williamson is the first announced Democrat primary challenger to Biden. She did not cite a Lieberman-esque need for buttressing the political center. Quite the opposite.
“I don’t see myself as running against Joe Biden. I see this campaign as challenging a system,” Williamson told ABC News. “So the system that is now saying that I’m unserious and I’m not credible or I’m a long shot is the very system that protects and maintains this idea that only those whose careers have been entrenched within the system that drove us into a ditch should possibly be considered qualified to lead us out of that ditch,” she added.
This is the language of deep discontent with the Democrat ruling elite. It is the stuff that third-party challenges are made of. It undoubtedly hits home with a significant number of disaffected progressives – especially those with a populist streak who longed for a President Sanders in 2016 and 2020.
Williamson has accused the Democratic National Committee of “rigging” the party primary calendar to aid Biden. Sanders backers believe both his runs were sabotaged by DNC shenanigans that boosted establishment favorites Clinton and Biden. Sanders opted to seek the party nomination in 2016 and 2020, but the re-worked primary schedule – and the shady perceptions it conjures – certainly adds more incentive for a progressive populist challenger to opt out of the Democrat label and mount an independent run.
And that would be the true nightmare scenario for Joe Biden. He will have all the forces of the party establishment apparatus at his disposal to help him secure the nomination, should he run again. But a third-party challenge from his left would immediately represent a dire calamity for an already weak and greatly flawed incumbent president.
All opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of Liberty Nation.
Do you have an opinion about this article? We’d love to hear it! If you send your comments to [email protected], we might even publish your edited remarks in our new feature, LN Readers Speak Out. Remember to include the title of the article along with your name, city, and state.
Please respect our republishing guidelines. Republication permission does not equal site endorsement. Click here.
Liberty Nation Today:
Trump Indictment Could Open the Floodgates - Other legal actions against the president now loom large. - Read Now!
Veterans to Congress: Wokeness is Hurting Readiness - Defense Department is distracted with woke nonsense and unable to meet military threats. - Read Now!
Saving Healthcare From Catastrophe - The left and right agree: America’s healthcare system is broken. - Read Now!
DeSantis Beats the Drum – LN Radio Videocast - Casting a light on the Florida governor’s ambitions. - Watch Now!
Arizona Border Security Under Attack by Governor Katie Hobbs - What happened to her campaign promise of increased border security? - Read Now!