When No Labels launched in December of 2010, it promised to fill a void at the political center. In its opening manifesto, the group pledged to embrace “practical solutions,” abandon “petty partisanship,” and facilitate “fact-based discussions.” The presumption was clear: People were sick of politics as usual, and No Labels aspired to break through the Gordian knot of partisanship by embracing the kinds of common sense solutions that were being ignored by the two parties.
In practice, things have turned out rather differently. No Labels, which is led by former Senator Joe Lieberman, has largely advocated for corporate-friendly policies and has not found a base of popular support. The group has backed primary challenges to Democrats it deemed insufficiently pro-business, and has supported the House’s bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus, which has challenged Nancy Pelosi’s bid to become the next speaker.
On Monday, The Daily Beast published a devastating report about the organization’s funders, which include a number of prominent hedge funders.
The report exposes the group’s meaningless embrace of “bipartisanship,” and reveals its true ethos. In the spring of last year, No Labels criticized Democrats for failing to work with Republicans on Obamacare—despite the fact that the GOP was determined to gut the program. Rather than working for popular, bipartisan policies, the group is instead bankrolling pro-corporate Democrats, in the hopes of derailing progressive policies. In 2016, in a lavish banquet that cost $1 million, No Labels even gave Donald Trump an award for taking its “Problem Solver Promise.”
Like Third Way before it, No Labels is premised on the fiction that a wide swath of the country wants milquetoast corporate-friendly centrism. With no political audience, the group is left advocating for a handful of wealthy financiers.