In a recent political discussion, the ex-Maryland Republican governor and national co-chair of the non-partisan No Labels group, Larry Hogan, defended the notion of a third-party presidential candidate. Despite worries that such a candidate might peel off enough votes from President Joe Biden and possibly put former President Donald Trump back in the Oval Office in 2024, Hogan stands firm.
This conversation was triggered on MSNBC when host Jen Psaki brought up an interesting point. She took us back to the 2016 elections when a thirst for a third-party candidate was palpable. Indeed, Jill Stein of the Green Party raked in more votes than the margin between Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton. Could this third-party candidate have been the tipping point that pushed Trump to victory?
When Psaki raised this question to Hogan, her concern was clear: how could No Labels be so confident that a third-party candidate wouldn’t simply pave the way for Trump?
Hogan respectfully disagreed with this viewpoint, redirecting the focus elsewhere. He pointed out that Biden’s potential vote share is already being diluted, not by a candidate from No Labels, but by the current Green Party candidate who is attracting roughly four or five percent of Biden’s voters.
“If you want to talk about a spoiler, they should focus on Cornell West, or they should focus on the people that are pulling thirty percent of the people away in a primary,” Hogan stated.
Hogan, who has made no secret of his disdain for Trump and has himself dismissed the idea of running in 2024, argued that it’s not third parties but partisanship fatigue that’s the real issue.
“No Labels is just — has an idea that maybe if we get to this point where nobody in America wants the Republican or Democrat, they might run a ticket,” Hogan speculated. “We don’t know who they are, and we don’t know who they would pull from or whether it would be a Republican or a Democrat.”
As he summed up his perspective, Hogan left us with a sobering thought: “There are obviously issues and flaws or we wouldn’t have two candidates that so many people don’t want to vote for.”
Hogan’s defense of No Labels’ position stirs the pot and invites us to consider the complexities of our two-party system. However, as young progressives, we must also bear in mind the potential risks associated with third-party candidates, and whether they’re truly the antidote to partisan polarization or merely catalysts for unintended consequences.