Dem 51
image description
GOP 49
image description

Focus Groupies: No Labels Will Help Trump

Pollster Sarah Longwell has been running focus groups all year to put her hand on the pulse of the Republican Party. One of her conclusions from talking to hundreds of Republican voters is that the No Labels ticket will draw from only one demographic: Republican voters who hate Donald Trump and if forced to choose between Trump and Joe Biden, would hold their noses and grudgingly vote for Biden. No Labels offers them the option of dumping Trump but not voting for a Democrat. She is convinced that No Labels could siphon off enough disgruntled Republicans to hand Trump the presidency.

No one but the insiders know who is running No Labels and where the money is coming from. Suspicions are that the money is coming from Republican billionaires who already know what Longwell has recently discovered, and that is their goal: Elect Trump. Officially, No Labels has said that if polls show that No Labels will elect Trump, it will close up shop. So far there is not a whit of evidence that they mean it. In fact, the group is frantically trying to get on the ballot in as many states as possible.

One of the things Longwell learned from her focus groups is that support for No Labels is strongest among Trump-to-Biden voters. These are long-term Republicans for whom Trump has simply become too toxic, but who are greatly pained at having to vote for a Democrat. They would eat up voting for a moderate Republican, like Larry Hogan, even if he were coupled with a moderate Democrat as running mate. Veeps are unimportant even if they win and they are certainly unimportant if they are guaranteed to lose. Hell, these people would probably vote for a Larry Hogan/Hillary Clinton ticket since they know Clinton has no chance of getting anywhere near One Observatory Circle, unless Kamala Harris invites her for tea.

Interesting enough, no dyed-in-the-wool Democratic or Republican partisans have any interest in No Labels. The Republicans want Trump, and only Trump. Democrats are also not interested in No Labels. Of course, it might matter who No Labels gets to run. If Hogan comes to realize that he is helping Trump win, he might decline to be on the ticket. It is even conceivable that he might sabotage it. He could tell the folks running it that he is interested, get the nomination, and in September publicly endorse Joe Biden and start campaigning for him. What would the founders then do? Cut off the money supply? Sure, but there goes the party. At that point every TV station and every newspaper in the country would invite him for an interview. A few billionaires would be hopping mad, but that would be their problem. If they threatened him he could threaten to out them. (V)

This item appeared on Read it Monday through Friday for political and election news, Saturday for answers to reader's questions, and Sunday for letters from readers.                     State polls                     All Senate candidates