Democrats and their new best friends from the likes of The Lincoln Project driven to madness by Donald J. Trump have long made it clear that they consider the 45th president far more than just a political enemy, or deranged populist firebrand, or even the embodiment of evil. In their mind, he represents a true existential threat to our constitutional republic – or their idea of one. They fear him more than even, say, an earthquake swallowing up California, or a fresh outbreak of the bubonic plague – or anything, for that matter, short of death – though it is arguable that the most extreme anti-Trumpers on the left and right might rather perish than live under a second Trump administration. That is only a slight exaggeration, and it is why the left is terrified at the prospect of anything but a one-on-one battle against Trump.
Democratic leaders are convinced they can and will beat Trump again – if factors out of their control do not intervene. But their crusade against Trump has started to produce an unforeseen and possibly grave consequence: the growing likelihood of an independent candidate with serious backing. True or not, that is where things would get awfully tricky in a political environment dominated by hard-liners on both sides of the aisle.
Democrats’ Chickens Come Home to Roost
The left’s unrelenting, unhinged attacks have resulted in an electorate entirely dissatisfied with both parties – and both prospective presidential nominees. Indeed, once Democrats set fire to Trump, and then dragged his supporters – and the entire conservative movement – into the muck and mire, Republicans were left with little choice but to respond in kind. Trench warfare is an ugly business – especially when it spawns an unwanted intruder threatening to rearrange the entire political landscape for an upcoming election.
As such, there has been increasing chatter inside the Beltway about the likes of Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ), Larry Hogan, former Maryland governor and centrist Republican, or Joe Lieberman, who defected from the Democratic Party after running as VP for Al Gore in 2000, seriously considering an independent bid for the White House under the auspices of the ‘No Labels’ movement. Manchin was a bulwark against the most extreme impulses of his Democratic Party since Biden took office. Sinema often supported him and left the party following the 2022 election. Hogan was a popular governor who often spoke out against Trump. And Lieberman has long been considered a sensible voice from the center. But according to Real Clear Politics, “Democratic and (former) Republican operatives [are] scheming to torpedo the contingency plans of No Labels to give the 2024 electorate an alternative to … President Biden and – what now appears likely – former President Donald Trump.”
So, which party would be hurt the most by a moderate independent candidate? Well, judging by the response in Washington’s corridor of power, it would be the 46th president. The town’s most famous newspaper with deep ties to the left headlined a recent piece “No Labels can’t hide its right-wing ties,” authored by the notorious Jennifer Rubin, who begrudgingly admits the organization “was founded in 2010 to counter political polarization” but then reports breathlessly that it “now has started raising a boatload of money — at least $70 million so far — to field a third-party presidential candidate” and “won’t reveal its donors” – so of course, from her high perch far removed from the madding crowd, Ms. Rubin relies on a story by far-left Mother Jones to conclude it’s all a right-wing plot – as if untold millions are perfectly satisfied by their two choices, and not yearning for someone other than Trump or Biden. But another article in the publication was the piece de resistance in the left’s budding paranoia about an independent bid: ”This plan for a third-party presidential bid in 2024 is dangerous.”
No Labels: Nothing New Under the Sun
Uprisings among restless and disgusted voters come and go. It was just over three decades ago, in 1992, when Ross Perot proved to be the most viable third-party candidate in modern history, securing one of every five votes nationally, after Pat Buchanan had launched his own populist revolt in the GOP. Some 20 years later, Donald Trump, the closest thing to a populist/independent running within the two-party structure, was elected president.
What exactly did Democrats expect to result out of their hard turn to the left, ever closer to the inner circle of progressive hell? They act as if any third-party candidate would represent nothing more than an attempt by shadowy right-wing forces to divide the opposition to Trump, even though it’s hardly clear that a no-labels or other third-party candidate would hurt Biden more than Trump. Surveys consistently show that there is a mass of voters, in fact, majorities in both parties, who don’t even want their presumptive nominees to be in the race and know not where to go. If the likes of Manchin, Sinema, Hogan or Lieberman take the plunge, Ross Perot’s 20% of the vote in 1992 – or more – may indeed be up for grabs in 2024. And that is what Democrats fear most.
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