Many already call it the third party, although No Labels (Without labels) presents itself as “a national movement of people who believe in America and in bringing our leaders closer to solve our most difficult problems.” But in practice the group is exploring a third political way that may undermine President Joe Biden’s re-election bid. The presentation of this alternative to bipartisanship, which tries to reconcile reds (Republicans) and blues (Democrats), took place this Monday in New Hampshire with the stellar intervention of the Democratic senator rebel Joe Manchin, known for his opposition to some of Biden’s star plans, jibarized to please him.
If candidates like the free verse Robert Kennedy Jr. are already diminishing Biden’s strength in voting intentions -in May he received 20% support, compared to 37% for the president, whose reelection is rejected by 70% of Americans-, the presence of Manchin in this forum without an acronym makes Democrats even more tremble by his ability to distract public attention. To this third way, which aspires to raise 70 million dollars to formulate a presidential ticket that represents the two parties, is added the existence of other candidates for the White House such as the Green Party candidate, the activist and intellectual Cornel West, so the nerves in the Biden campaign are increasing.
No Labels backs the launch of a new “common sense” platform on immigration, healthcare, gun control, the economy, and other issues that it believes are being ignored by what it sees as two ideological and increasingly extremist parties regarding on the contrary, a reflection of the polarization that Donald Trump sowed. Manchin, who has not yet said whether he will run for re-election to the Senate next year, lands on familiar political ground: ambivalent, to the right of his party and close to more moderate Republicans. With good relations with the oil industry and, in addition, chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources committee, last summer he forced Biden to backtrack on a large package of measures, including many against climate change and a rise in taxes the rich. His pressure forced him to cut the maximum program, but the party leadership accepted without question because his majority in the Senate is the minimum: 51 seats compared to the 49 Republicans. And because the senator is he Democratic stronghold in West Virginia, a state that voted massively for Trump in 2016 and 2020.
In his speech, Manchin argued that the parties have “retreated” to the “extreme” limits of the political spectrum. “We’re here to make sure that the American people have a choice, and the choice is whether you can get the political parties off their respective sides, they’ve gone too far to the right and too far to the left,” he said. But when asked about his presidential ambitions, he replied that this would be “putting the cart before the horse.” “I’m not here running for president,” he said. “I’m here basically trying to save the nation. I am more worried now than ever in my life. I have three children and 10 grandchildren.
In addition to Manchin’s leading role, the very existence of No Labels worries the Democrats, because his leap into the political arena can only favor the candidacy of Donald Trump. Although the Democratic primaries seem at first glance more predictable than the crowded Republican cabin, many in the White House believe that if that candidacy comes to fruition bicolorthe third way can definitely blow up Biden’s chances in 2024. But the truth is that it is the dissatisfaction with the candidates of both parties -Trump is the object of a rejection similar to that of Biden- that fuels speculation about the third party.
Biden’s age, 80 years old; his resounding oversights – he has twice confused the war in Ukraine with that in Iraq – and a stuttering mandate of inflation, Republican trip-ups and setbacks by the Supreme Court – the last, by knocking down his plan for partial forgiveness of student debt – they place the president in an uncomfortable position. A well-known defender of the role of unions, that of the workers of the logistics giant UPS, the main delivery service in the country, has asked the White House that Biden refrain from intervening in labor negotiations with the company, after the recent dialogue failure. In the eaves is a possible massive strike (340,000 workers), disruptive, as of July 31, but also the diminished role of Biden as syndicalist in chief of the country.
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That Manchin does not run for re-election in 2024, giving away his seat to the Republicans, or, even worse, that he accepts the hypothetical offer of No Labels to integrate the electoral ticket -something that in principle he does not contemplate but that he does not rule out-, are two negative scenarios for the establishment blue. “It is clear that most Americans are very frustrated by the growing division in our political parties and the toxic political rhetoric of our elected leaders,” Manchin said last week in the statement calling for the No Labels event in New Hampshire. .
The intentions, as well as the actual supporters, of No Labels give rise to all sorts of theories; the group is registered as a non-profit association that does not reveal the identity of its donors. This Sunday, Joe Lieberman, co-chairman of No Labels, declared that they will not field a candidate in 2024 if polls show that doing so would help elect the Democratic or Republican presidential candidate. “We’re not in this to be a killjoy,” he said in an interview on ABC. The group has dismissed as undemocratic criticism of its intentions to participate in the political process.
Since the start of the Biden presidency in January 2021, Manchin has fought against everything, including child benefits to lift the most disadvantaged families out of poverty, not to mention Biden’s ambitious green policy. He has only been outspoken in favor of one measure: relaxing the rules for granting permits to exploit fossil fuels (vital to West Virginia’s economy). Looking ahead to 2024, when there is theoretically nothing he can get in exchange for his vote, the wayward Manchin may give Joe Biden a new, perhaps permanent, headache.
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