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EDITORIAL: Democrats quiver over potential third party candidate

Some Democrats are increasingly nervous about President Joe Biden’s prospects in 2024. Recent polls show that he’s running even or behind Donald Trump, despite the latter’s legal predicament, in large part because of concerns over the economy and Mr. Biden’s obvious decline.

“One House Democrat, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to offer a candid assessment of Biden’s candidacy,” The Washington Post reported last week, “said he has heard concerns among fellow members as well as major Democratic donors about whether the president can sustain a grueling campaign and another four years in office.”

Some high-profile Democratic stalwarts dismiss this negative talk as “bed-wetting,” the Post reports. But the alarm is evident when nearly half of registered Democrats don’t want Mr. Biden to run again, according to various opinion polls.

The panic is also clear given how some left-leaning special-interest groups are working feverishly to discredit any potential third party challenger, in particular from the No Labels Party, which has threatened to field a candidate if the two major parties offer Americans a Trump-Biden rematch.

In Arizona, for instance, Democrats — who profess to be great defenders of democracy in the face of Mr. Trump’s perceived threats — unsuccessfully sued to keep No Labels off the state’s ballot in 2024. How democratic of them.

Meanwhile, the left-leaning group Third Way, insists that No Labels — which describes itself as “working to ensure Americans have the choice to vote for a presidential ticket that features strong, effective and honest leaders who will commit to working closely with both parties to find commonsense solutions to America’s biggest problems” — is guilty of all manner of abominable conduct. Its many transgressions, according to a Third Way email blast this month, include not playing “by the rules,” selecting a presidential candidate “determined by insiders and donors,” preparing to “throw the presidential election to the House” and … wait for it … “spreading misinformation.”

By daring to throw a candidate into the ring to give voters more choices, No Labels is “inherently undemocratic,” according to Third Way, achieving a level of Orwellian doublespeak that might be impossible to improve upon.

In fact, Democrats fret that a viable third party candidate will elevate Mr. Trump’s chances by draining off independent voters who fear Mr. Biden’s advanced age and a potential Kamala Harris presidency. Given Mr. Biden’s unpopularity, perhaps they should have pondered this possibility before getting giddy about a race against the baggage-laden Mr. Trump.

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