Joe Smyth of Scottsdale, Arizona, is the author of “Fixing America’s Broken Politics: Common Sense Solutions to the Issues That Divide Us.” A former editor of the Daily State News, he’s now retired, and the opinions expressed here are his own.
Why are the national media so quickly conceding the Democratic and Republican nominations to Joe Biden and Donald Trump, and insisting that Americans shouldn’t even be offered a third choice?
Early polls are often wrong, and only a few out of 50 states have been heard from. Most Americans don’t want a Biden-Trump rematch. So, why don’t both parties give us better candidates? And, if they won’t, why not give voters a third choice and let them decide?
Donald Trump may be the greatest con man ever. He won the presidency in 2016 by entertaining us with nonstop bragging about himself and childish insults about everybody else. As president, he put his own interests above the nation’s and sucked up to foreign dictators. When many of his supporters dumped him in 2020, he disgracefully tried to use the power of the presidency to illegally perpetuate himself into office. And now, he’s apparently afraid to debate Nikki Haley (even though he claims she is a “birdbrain”)? If the Republicans nominate him, he’ll probably lose the general election and pull down the entire rest of the ticket once again.
Joe Biden conned us in 2020 when he promised to unify the nation by governing from the center. Instead, he has been one of the most partisan presidents in history, the most far-left domestically and tragically weak-kneed internationally. Former defense secretary Robert Gates once said Biden had “been wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades.” As president, he’s extended his poor judgment, beginning with his shameful abandonment of Afghanistan and continuing through his refusal to control our borders. Biden has now been in office for over five decades, since before age 30. And now, he wants a second term as president, which would take him to age 86?
Surely, America can do better than those two. Most voters don’t want to risk four more years under either of these flawed and declining elderly men. Biden’s hardcore base is only 14% of the electorate, and Trump’s is only 18%. If the two major parties are suicidal enough to nominate them, at least 68% of Americans will want to consider a third choice.
Yet, for months, Democrats have been fighting to keep No Labels off ballots, arguing, without evidence, that a third choice might allow Trump to win. How democratic is that? And, if that’s their fear, why don’t they nominate a stronger ticket? With Biden-Harris so unpopular, they’re obviously depending on Trump winning the Republican nomination but losing the general election — just like 2020.
Politicians and media have also been too quick to assure us that No Labels can’t win by offering the country a third choice. It’s true that third parties haven’t won historically. But have the two major parties ever before — in any presidential election in history — offered two candidates as unpopular as Trump and Biden?
Most voters aren’t hard-left Democrats or hard-right Republicans. They’re independent thinkers and more moderate than the partisans who control each party’s primary elections.
If No Labels comes up with a unity ticket that includes two solid moderates, 2024 could be the year that history is made. Let’s at least wait to see who those candidates will be.
As Yogi Berra put it, “It ain’t over ’til it’s over.” We’ve heard from the pollsters and media, but let’s give the voters more choices and more time.
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