By David Reel
The writer is a public affairs/public relations consultant who lives in Easton.
The long and winding road to electing a president in 2024 has a most interesting, unpredictable curve. The curve is No Labels, a national movement whose organizers have branded themselves as concerned citizens working to bring America’s leaders together to develop common-sense two-party solutions to America’s biggest problems. While No Labels does not identify itself as a third political party, it may nominate a No Labels candidate for president in 2024.
Their candidate could be Larry Hogan, who recently confirmed he may agree to that.
Hogan’s links to the No Labels movement are strong: He’s the group’s national co-chair.
No doubt Hogan is encouraged by polling results done by Gallup indicating 41% of voters identify as Independents versus 28% each for the Democrat and Republican parties.
Despite his interest, Hogan may be overcome by circumstances beyond his control.
One circumstance beyond Hogan’s control is a decision by the No Labels movement to stay out of the 2024 presidential election. Politico reporter and editor Calder McHugh, writing last month, predicted that No Labels is unlikely to run any candidate if Donald Trump is not the Republican nominee.
Another circumstance beyond Hogan’s control is the unintended consequence of a No Labels presidential campaign if Trump is the Republican nominee.
Recent polling by Data for Progress suggests in a three-way presidential race that includes Hogan, he would pull more votes from the Democratic nominee than the Republican nominee. It is hard to fathom that Hogan would be involved in any effort that could result in his arch-nemesis Trump being only the second person in American history to serve non-consecutive terms as president.
The third and most daunting circumstance beyond Hogan’s control is No Labels concluding the 2024 presidential election results for third party candidates will repeat history. Despite the Gallup polling results mentioned above, in past elections where voters expressed their discontent with the two major parties, many of those voters eventually “came home” to voting for the candidates nominated by the two major parties. The reality is the widely and often predicted death of the two-party dominance of presidential elections in America has been greatly exaggerated.
The observations of Nikolai Machiavelli are as relevant today as they were when he wrote them more than 500 years ago:
“It must be remembered there is nothing more difficult to carry out, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain of success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things. The innovator has enemies in all those who have done well under the old order, and only lukewarm defenders in all those who may do well under the new order, in part from fear of their adversaries, who have the law in their favor; and partly from the incredulity of mankind, who do not truly believe in anything new until they have had actual experience with it.”
On the question … will Larry Hogan run for president in 2024 … the answer is no.
On the question … does Larry Hogan have other options going forward … the answer is maybe.
To position himself to maximize those other options. I suggest the following key messages:
“I remain deeply committed to making a difference on the public policy deliberations and decisions in Washington, D.C. Elected twice as a Republican to serve as governor in a deep blue state, I governed as a pragmatic moderate, enjoyed high job approval ratings during all eight years in office, and was a champion of fiscally responsible budgets, and no tax increases.”
With these messages it is not inconceivable that Hogan could be chosen as a running mate to a Republican presidential candidate other than Donald Trump. It is also not inconceivable that Hogan could be appointed to a cabinet position or comparable position if a Republican other than Trump is elected next year.