Faux-centrist ‘No Labels’ is just a dark money con job that would give us Trump 2.0

Recently, we’ve received a couple of messages from readers extolling the promise of the supposedly centrist group No Labels.

In theory, this is a group looking for solutions in the neglected middle of the ideological spectrum by bringing together Republicans and Democrats who can see beyond their own partisan interests. “The crackpot left and the crackpot right that demand 100% of their agenda and demonize the other side for not agreeing with it are ripping this country apart,” as one commenter wrote on KansasCity.com.


Here in the middle of the map, No Labels’ purported “common sense” agenda may well have particular appeal. If Joe Biden and Donald Trump are once again the presidential nominees of their parties, the group says, and if (some? many? how many?) Americans aren’t happy about that, well then it will sponsor a “unity ticket” offering us a third choice.

But polling, history and the same “common sense” that No Labels advertises tell us that such a ticket would likely return Trump to office.

Maybe that’s why one of the biggest known donors to this dark money group is Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas’ patron Harlan Crow, the Dallas billionaire who collects Hitler’s table linens and other Nazi niceties.

And it’s definitely why our message to anyone tempted by the vision of comity that No Labels is selling is the same as that of the former No Labels enthusiast Rep. Mark Pocan, a Wisconsin Democrat. In a recent op-ed in the Capitol Hill news outlet The Hill, Pocan wrote this:

“When I first came to Congress, I was enamored with the alleged ideal behind No Labels and their mission to take partisanship out of politics. A world where people can work together on ideas that help the American people despite ideological differences. Boy was I wrong.

“Their nonpartisan agenda is and always has been dishonest. My first disagreement with No Labels came when I realized they were only looking out for mega donor special interests, advocating for lowering taxes on the rich and powerful, and weakening regulations for big business, making it easier for them to exploit workers or the environment.”

Rick Wilson, the longtime Republican strategist and co-founder of the Never Trumper Lincoln Project, has been talking about what he thinks No Labels is really about for some time now. No Labels founders “Nancy Jacobson and Mark Penn have one goal: to punish the Democratic Party that rejected and ejected them,” he has written.

“Their profitable psychodrama revenge fantasy against Joe Biden and the Clintons is a lie from top to bottom, and their 2024 plan is designed to divide the anti-Trump vote and ensure Trump returns to the Oval Office.”

We don’t know what fantasies have fueled their effort, but Wilson is right that a Trump victory would be the result of a centrist third-party ticket.

Ask Ralph Nader voters in 2000 and Jill Stein voters in 2016 if they’re happy with the way their purity set the world on fire and put our democracy at serious risk.

Potential No Labels presidential nominee and Joe Manchin, the Democratic West Virginia senator, sees all pushback to the group as the work of those who profit from partisanship.

As someone who has made millions from the coal industry and blocked Biden’s climate plan last year, he would know something about that.

If the job here is electing someone who consistently and openly admires dictators, who has called for the “termination” of the U.S. Constitution, and who according to his own team was willing to use force to stay in power, then yeah.

But if it’s preserving the republic, say no to No Labels.

— The Kansas City Star

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