Ex-congressman welcoming Trump reelection with ‘reckless’ third-party candidate effort: columnist

A South Carolina newspaper columnist on Tuesday blasted a former local Democratic congressman over his public support for the No Labels campaign that he contends will lead to a second Donald Trump term.

The Post and Courier’s Chris Kenney assailed Joe Cunningham after the former congressman authored an op-ed the outlet published Saturday in support of No Labels, which supports centrist, bi-partisan policies and politics.

Cunningham, who represented South Carolina’s 1st congressional district from 2019 to 2021, argued that President Joe Biden’s plummeting poll numbers warrant a third-party candidacy. He cited a recent ABC News-Washington Post poll that showed Trump leading Biden by seven points.

Cunningham wrote that: “It’s not because Trump is popular — he isn’t. Rather, it’s because Democrats are failing to offer an alternative that appeals to the majority of voters, who crave change and are fed up with the extremes on both sides. I believe this is a moral failure even more than a strategic one. By allowing an unpopular president to roll to the nomination, we are opening a path to victory for Trump, a man who threatens the foundations of our democracy.”

Kenney argues the exact opposite.

He writes that “In normal political times, this quixotic bid to diversify the political landscape might be deemed an earnest yet harmless exercise.”

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“However, with the Republican Party likely to nominate the only candidate who has ever launched a coup against American democracy, history and practice require that we see No Labels for what it is: a dark money spoiler campaign designed to return Donald Trump to the White House.”

Kenney argues that, historically, new political parties have never succeeded in garnering a plurality in their first election cycle.

He writes: “What is suspect here is the naïve notion that a 2024 No Labels candidate can save the republic from a tyrannical Donald Trump and unpopular Joe Biden when it can’t realistically garner more than single-digit support in a handful of states.”