Discover more from Economics Matters by Laurence Kotlikoff
A No Labels Contingent Presidential Candidate
Our Best Guarantee of Democracy
Our country is in grave trouble. We have enormous domestic and geopolitical problems, which neither party will discuss, let alone address. But the real danger is to our democracy. Former President Trump faces 91 criminal charges involving an attempt to overthrow the 2020 election, a conspiracy to interfere with Georgia’s 2020 vote, violation of the Espionage Act, and violation of election law.
Trump is a clear and present danger to the maintenance of American democracy. He will surely win the Republican nomination and has a strong chance of being re-elected before any of his trials start, let alone end. If that happens, he will appoint a sycophant as Attorney General, pardon himself, and stop/delay all four cases. And then he will connive to remain in power indefinitely.
That’s no more far fetched than having a former President commit 91 felonies. Yes, Trump is innocent until proven guilty. But even his most ardent supporters realize that Trump’s treatment of state secrets suffices, by itself, to lock him up for life.
Do narcissists and sociopaths seize absolute power after being elected in free and fair elections? All the time. Indeed, this was the playbook of Hitler, Mussolini, and Putin. They each were their countries’ worst traitors. Benedict Arnold was ours, until Donald Trump appeared on the scene. Arnold sought to sell our nation’s future. Trump seeks to sell our nation’s soul. Arnold’s customer was the British Empire. Trump’s customer is himself.
Were Joe Biden young, vigorous, and quick of mind, were inflation not persisting at 4.5 percent, had Covid and bottleneck-driven inflation not lowered Americans’ median real annual earnings by 7 percent, were mortgage rates not running above 7 percent, were the Fed not trying to engineer a recession, were none of these things and more our economic reality, Biden would be a shoe-in.
Unfortunately, they are our economic reality and, unfortunately, Biden, won’t be shoe’d out. His calculus is surely not based on a lust for power. He’s had more than his fill. He surely thinks his record of achievement, which, on balance, is remarkable, positions him as the only leading Democrat that can keep the country safe from Trump.
Biden did not cause Covid, which lowered real wages by 5 percent in its first year before supply-side bottlenecks, including a slow path to full labor force participation, started raising prices around the world.
And Biden may be right. No other obvious Democratic candidate may be able to beat Trump. But the vast majority of Americans think he’s too old and too frail to serve a second term. They worry he will pass in office or, like Woodrow Wilson and Ronald Reagan, continue running the country while far too sick to do so.
As for Biden’s dying in office, over half of the electorate is not dying to see Vice President Harris take over. Her favorability rating is 46 percent. Yet, she’s actually more propular than the President. Biden’s favorability rating is just 40 percent. That beat’s Trump’s 35 percent rating, but not by much.
All this supports the first sentence. Our country is in grave danger. No Labels, the non-partisan, third-party movement, is our nation’s best hope for avoiding this danger, i.e., preventing Trump from returning to office. The organization is searching for a candidate, but doing so tentatively. It’s website states that it is “preparing for the possibility of nominating a (Presidential) candidate.”
Why the timidity when the election is only 14 months away? No Labels clearly worries it will tip the election to Trump by nominating a ticket, comprising a Democrat and a Republican, who will lead Independents, as well as many Democrats and Republics sick of the two parties, to vote for their candidates over the Biden-Harris ticket.
But No Labels’ answer is not to pull out. Its answer is to immediately step up and chose a contingent candidate.
A contingent No Labels Presidential candidate is one who would clearly and repeatedly state that “If, on October 1, 2024, the polls don’t indicate that I have 60 percent support of the electorate, I will withdraw my candidacy and support President Biden.” And No Labels would clearly and repeatedly endorse that statement.
As for its No Labels choice of presidential and vice presidential candidates, they need to be extraordinary Americans who are fully equipped to do their jobs and have gone on record about Trump’s malignancy. They need not be existing Senators, members of Congress, or state governors. We have massive problems, foreign and domestic, that need to be addressed. Standard politicians, who are more concerned with the next election than the next generation, are not our answer.
My extremely strong suggestion is Steve Laffey, who currently is running for President on the Republican ticket. Steve’s bonafides are posted at stevelaffey.com. Full disclosure, I’m Steve’s economic advisor.
Steve is the former major of Cranston, Rhode Island. He grew up in Cranston in a highly dysfunctional family, worked hard in high school and received a full scholarship to Bowdoin College. At Bowdoin, he excelled and was immediately accepted at Harvard Business School — no small feat as HBS takes very few students straight out of college. Upon graduating, Steve joined a bank in Tennessee and quickly became its president.
After rapidly growing and then selling the bank, Steve could have parlayed his success into a top job on Wall Street. Instead, he returned to Cranston to run for mayor and save his bankrupt home city. Cranston was a Democratic stronghold, but Steve miraculously won two elections and took the city from a B- to an A- bond rating.
There is far more to learn about Steve. But take it from me, Steve Laffey is an amazing person, a grounded person, a moral person, a brilliant person, a creative person, and a fearless person. Steve pulls no punches. He is the only presidential candidate who has publicly stated that Trump belongs in jail.
But Laffey’s not running to stop Trump. He’s running to fix our country — not with same-old-same-old policies. But with fundamental reforms to Social Security, taxes, healthcare, education, and far more. Many of these reforms are discussed in my book, You’re Hired.
Steve has started to attract major media attention — from Good Morning America, CNBC, Newsmax, ABC News, and other. As I type, he’s debating Vice President Pence and other Republican candidates in New Hampshire. But it’s not clear whether Steve will catch fire in time to beat Trump in the primaries. This is where No Labels comes in.
It’s time for No Labels to fulfill its promise, but in a manner that ensures it avoids its clear and reasonable concern — putting our country in further danger.
No Labels should choose Steve Laffey as its contingent presidential candidate.
Steve will surely win the next election. But, most important, he will, as No Labels’ contingent presidential candidate, give our country a far higher chance, under all contingencies, of keeping an established traitor from stealing our nation’s freedom and undermining its security.
In closing, let me be clear. Steve is running for the Republican nomination. This column is written by me and only me. Do I think Steve would accept No Labels’ nomination? Yes, I do. Have we discussed No Labels? Yes we have. Is Steve, under the current circumstances, going to do everything possible to win the Republican nomination? Yes, he will. Will he win the hearts and minds of Republicans? Absolutely, if they visit stevelaffey.com, learn about Steve directly from his numerous interviews and Substack posts, and contribute to his campaign.