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Our National Conversation

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No Labels: Taking Fire from Both Sides

At OUR NATIONAL CONVERSATION, we had the opportunity to speak with Holly Page, co-founder of No Labels. 


To listen to our podcast, click on the links, below. 


In this interview, Page discussed why No Labels thinks it might be smart to line up a "unity ticket" with one Democrat and one Republican at the top of the ticket, just in case we face a rematch between Joe Biden and Donald Trump.


Polls are clear: Very few are happy with the idea of a Trump-Biden rematch.


Polls also indicate high levels of support for a new, third, centrist party. 


No Labels isn't promoting a separate party; the organization seems pretty committed to working within the existing party structure, at least for now.


But many Democrats are deeply concerned that such a unity ticket will draw more votes from Biden than Trump -- possibly throwing the election to Trump.


Republicans who are members of the Problem Solvers Caucus are now mad at their Democratic counterparts for not doing more to save Kevin McCarthy's speakership. 

The Problem Solvers Caucus was formed in 2017 with much encouragement from No Labels.


The original idea behind the caucus was to pair up Republicans and Democrats who would do their best to set aside politics and work on common-sense solutions that would benefit a majority of Americans. The Problem Solvers Caucus was one of the best things to happen in Washington in recent decades. This group gave hope -- proof, even -- that bipartisan solutions are possible.


It was a stretch too far for Republicans to expect Democrats to bail out Kevin McCarthy. Had McCarthy been a non-combatant, maybe he could have earned support from some Democrats.


But just as recently as Sunday, McCarthy blamed shutdown talks on Democrats, which seems ludicrous, given that Matt Gaetz -- a Republican -- was leading the shutdown/anti-McCarthy charge.


If the shoe were on the other foot -- a Democratic speaker in trouble -- it's hard to imagine Republicans coming to that speaker's aid. 


The Problem Solvers Caucus can't end all partisanship in Washington. The caucus should continue to focus on non-ideological policy proposals both sides can eventually get behind. By doing that, this bipartisan caucus is performing a wonderful public service. 


Let's hope The Problem Solvers can weather this storm, with a "steady as we go" approach.  


As you will hear in our podcast, No Labels is not trying to act as a spoiler in the 2024 election.  If it appears to No Labels that a unity ticket can't succeed as of Super Tuesday, No Labels will abandon the effort, according to Page.


But if No Label proceeds, No Labels will be "in it to win it" -- and not necessarily with Joe Manchin at the top of the ticket, as if often reported.  No Labels will conduct a nominating convention, in Dallas, in the spring of 2024.


Clearly, No Labels has really gone out on a limb here.


Democratic and Republican state legislatures are fighting to keep No Labels off the ballot in 2024.  A powerful Democratic fundraising group is talking about raising money to fight No Labels.


But is anyone that happy with the two-party system these days? It seems like a pretty broken system that leaves calmer Americans in the middle, behind.  More American voters self-describe as Independents than they do Democrat or Republican.


When you are taking fire from both sides, that's usually an indicator you are on the right path. No Labels is taking it from both sides now, to be sure.


There will be lots of twists and turns in the coming months, that seems clear.  Meanwhile, No Labels is positioning itself as a Plan B, or an insurance policy -- just in case.  While this might draw ire now -- especially from Democrats -- we might thank No Labels one day for its bravery and foresight.


Sometimes a crisis is an opportunity in disguise. I hope No Labels stays the course. Today's agitator is often viewed a few years later, in hindsight, as the true visionary. Politics is a long game; No Labels got started in 2010. Maybe what No Labels does in 2024 won't bear fruit until 2028 or beyond. Nobody can truly know for sure.


I hope the organization -- and the Problem Solvers Caucus -- are still with us 50 years from now.


The opinions expressed in this article are those of the individual author.


Our interview with Holly Page of No Labels is now live on YouTube:

Audio:

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