Voters don’t want Biden or Trump — but without No Labels, voters have no options 

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Bribery, fraud, corruption, influence-peddling, lying, collusion with foreign governments — those were just some of the allegations leveled at last week’s House Oversight Hearing on the possible impeachment of President Biden. 

But the accusations were not just confined to Biden; former President Trump was also targeted in a hearing characterized by mutual insults and personal vitriol that shamed “the People’s House” in the world’s greatest democracy. Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin must have reveled at the bipartisan spectacle. 

As things now stand, the United States is prepared to offer as the leader the Free World two of the oldest, most deeply flawed, and least popular candidates ever to have vied for the position. 

No matter which of the two is elected, the country will be in store for another four years of bitter, and potentially dangerous, political conflict. Too many Americans already have been heard to speculate — concernedly, carelessly or menacingly — about a new civil war. Trump warns of a “bloodbath” if he loses; Biden sees his own defeat as “the end of American democracy.” 

The messy House hearing presents a powerful case for the nation to turn away from the poisonous dilemma the two major parties have selfishly forced on the American people. Each has gambled on the hope that voters will see their party’s opponent as worse. America needs another option. 

No Labels, created by respected Republican and Democratic leaders, seeks a middle ground between the extremes of both parties, and an opportunity for healing the country’s political wounds. No other independent or third-party candidates appears to have a realistic prospect of winning enough electoral votes to elect a president — and no promise not to act as a spoiler in November.  

Trump’s pluses and minuses are well known. (Full disclosure: I was never-Trump in 2016 and voted for an independent candidate; I voted for Trump in 2020 because of his national security team’s transformative China-Taiwan policies.) His behavior since he lost has become ever more bizarre and now has descended to the level of potential fascism and violent extremism his fervent detractors always predicted. 

As Eric Trump put it in 2023, “There is no longer a Republican Party, only a Trump party.” That seemed like typical Trumpian braggadocio at the time, but events since — the selection of his wife as Republican National Committee co-chair and the outlandish party commitment to pay Donald Trump’s legal bills — have proved him right. 

Trump is what he is, and for some Republicans and others, that is more than good enough. Others see him as a betrayer not only of traditional GOP values but as an existential threat to the nation. Yet many in that group, who also say they oppose four more years of the Biden presidency, failed to endorse the last Republican contender who stood against him: former South Carolina Governor and United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley.  

But Republicans are not the only ones who bear responsibility for Trump’s resurgence since 2020. Democrats, from Biden on down, have been willingly complicit; indeed, they welcome the competition, saying Biden is the only one who can beat Trump (thanks especially to the fortuitously timed civil and criminal actions Democratic prosecutors have brought against him).  

The open GOP primaries offered Democrats an opportunity to help ensure the country would avoid the worst, but as the South Carolina Democratic chairperson said, “We won’t save Haley from Trump.” Instead, Democrats seem to prefer to intervene in Republican primaries, nominating the most extreme pro-Trump candidates in a cynical strategy that succeeded in 2022. 

No Labels states it will finalize its decision and select a ticket in the next few weeks. Hopefully, high on its list of prospective candidates is the one person who actually offered a competent, respectable and refreshing alternative to the depressing binary choice of Trump or Biden — Nikki Haley.  

Moderately, compassionately and sensibly conservative on domestic issues, she is open-eyed and tough-minded on the severe foreign challenges confronting the United States. Had the Republican National Committee not manipulated the delegate selection process and changed the 2020 rules for 2024 to favor Trump, she might well still be in the fight for the nomination. Haley may have suspended her campaign, but No Labels could easily reignite the political fires under her core base of anti-Trump voters. 

The group has wisely indicated that, if it proceeds, it would run a bipartisan fusion ticket. A perfect choice for vice president on a Haley ticket would be Virginia Senator and former Governor Mark Warner, who has consistently demonstrated over the years that he is willing and able to work with people of good will from both parties. And he is deeply committed to addressing the range of national security threats from China, Russia, Iran and North Korea.  

If Haley cannot be persuaded to take on a third-party candidacy, an equally qualified prospect would be the everlasting hero of January 6, former Vice President Mike Pence. Like Haley, he has no place in Trump’s Republican Party but can offer the nation further distinguished service in its present hour of need. As a female running mate, the Democrats surely have a contemporary version of former Representative and Wilson Center President Jane Harmon — someone like former Defense Department official Michele Flournoy. She once said Washington should warn Beijing if it attacks Taiwan the U.S. will sink its entire fleet.  Such strategic clarity will preserve peace in the Indo-Pacific.  

Democrats of good will can find common ground with Republicans and with No Labels. History awaits their collective decision. 

Joseph Bosco served as China country director for the secretary of Defense from 2005 to 2006 and as Asia-Pacific director of humanitarian assistance and disaster relief from 2009 to 2010. He served in the Pentagon when Vladimir Putin invaded Georgia and was involved in Department of Defense discussions about the U.S. response. Follow him on Twitter @BoscoJosephA.  

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