Should No Labels Run a Presidential Candidate?

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  • Oppenheimer’s Lessons on Politics and Science
  • Disease Outbreaks in Animal Industries
  • Cans on the Newlyweds’ Car

Credit…Jacquelyn Martin/Associated Press

To the Editor:

Re “With Centrist Platform, No Labels Pushes Cause and Latent Third-Party Bid” (news article, July 16):

Although I would love to see our two-party system evolve and I think less acrimony is essential to moving forward, I have two basic problems with the No Labels party idea.

First, the U.S. system simply doesn’t support the creation of viable alternate parties. Until the barriers in place are removed, all third parties can do is play spoiler.

Second, I firmly believe that our first priority should be defending our democratic foundation. For the first time in U.S. history, we have one party actively and unashamedly undermining the rule of law and democracy itself. We need to defend and shore up our democracy first. Then it will be a great time to change the rules so we don’t have this seemingly black or white constraint for choice of candidate.

Since Harlan Crow, the Texas billionaire who gives generous gifts to Justice Clarence Thomas, is a contributor to No Labels, I am suspicious of the rest of the donors whom we don’t know about.

I see this movement as a political effort designed to prey on the public’s good faith, good intentions and frustration with the chaos caused by anti-democracy forces in the U.S.

The way forward is to stick together for democracy — not splinter.

Deb Garries
Calgary, Alberta
The writer is an American citizen.

To the Editor:

The article mentions the possibility of the No Labels movement in the U.S. seeking to be listed on state ballots as a political party. This is no easy job. Of the two largest American minor political parties, Libertarians and Greens, only the Libertarians have been getting their candidates on the ballot in all 50 states.

Each state has its own often complex rules and requirements to be listed on its ballots. Any group such as No Labels could also face legal challenges by one or both of the major parties. Such an effort to gain ballot access for a new party typically requires years of work and much money.

No Labels could cause problems in battleground states for President Biden’s re-election bid, but No Labels’ major battle would be just trying to get on state ballots.

Dan Donovan

To the Editor:

The third-party scam must have the Trump wing of the G.O.P. chuckling with glee. Currently, only a Republican or Democrat can win the presidency, and that’s not going to change in a year and a half. Donald Trump’s followers will not be moved by persuasion or facts, so he will be a nominee.

This week you reported on Mr. Trump’s intent to concentrate power in the executive branch, weakening the courts and Congress. He plans the end of the republic as we know it. Yet his followers will vote for him.

The Republicans’ path to power is a continual drumbeat of “President Biden’s too old, we need fresh blood,” etc., shifting attention away from Mr. Biden’s effectiveness. The strategy: Persuade Democratic voters that they are too “sophisticated” (No Labels) to accept the binary choice, and should go for a Manchin, a Kennedy.

In 2000, Ralph Nader voters helped elect George W. Bush, who attacked Iraq and ballooned the national debt. Many “Bernie Bros” in 2016 refused to vote for Hillary Clinton, helping clear the way for Mr. Trump.

Thanks for nothing.

This search for political purity, or just novelty, could ironically result in the beginning of American dictatorship next year. It is unrealistic to think that third-party votes will lead anywhere else.

Howard Schmitt
Green Tree, Pa.

To the Editor:

I’d like to propose an alternative way to refer to No Labels. It should be called what it is: Republicans Only Not in Name (RONIN). Not only is that resonant with the term RINO (Republicans in Name Only), which is used by many Republicans to refer to other Republicans they disapprove of. It’s also consistent with the Japanese term “ronin,” a kind of loose cannon in the feudal social structure.

Ron Grove
Flagstaff, Ariz.

Oppenheimer’s Lessons on Politics and Science

J. Robert Oppenheimer in an undated photo.Credit…Associated Press

To the Editor:

Re “‘Oppenheimer’ Shows the Danger of Politicizing Science,” by Kai Bird (Opinion guest essay, July 18):

Mr. Bird’s excellent essay about J. Robert Oppenheimer illustrates all too well the dangers to our democracy in allowing political rhetoric and policies to alter scientific facts and theories.

Such lessons do not belong only to the McCarthy era. The politicization of the Covid vaccine and the far right’s attack on Dr. Anthony Fauci are recent history. And indeed, as we speak, Republican strategists are planning increased executive and presidential political control over scientific and other now independent agencies.

Let’s not let the lessons of Oppenheimer be lost. They are as relevant now as they were in the McCarthy era.

Ken Goldman
Beverly Hills, Calif.

To the Editor:

Whether it’s harsh truths about atomic power or the merits of vaccines against Covid-19, influenza and childhood illnesses, it’s science — regularly, honestly and clearly explained — that is sanity’s ultimate home-field advantage.

Peter J. Pitts
New York
The writer, a former F.D.A. associate commissioner, is president of the Center for Medicine in the Public Interest and a visiting professor at the University of Paris School of Medicine.

Disease Outbreaks in Animal Industries

The United States produces 10 billion animals for food every year, including more pigs and poultry, which can harbor and transmit influenza, than nearly any other country.Credit…Gerry Broome/Associated Press

To the Editor:

Re “Risk Seen in U.S. Animal Industries” (Science Times, July 11), about the risk of infectious disease outbreaks:

This article is illuminating, but one element of the crisis is missing: the degree to which animals suffer in these appalling situations.

Consider the complete lack of hygiene to which animals confined in farming operations and live animal markets are subjected without relief until they die, either at the hands of slaughterers or from chronic stress and disease.

I doubt that much will be done to control the animal industries identified in the article until more people speak out against what these animals are forced to endure.

The cruelty and contamination are linked. We might stretch our imaginations to make this connection and act on it.

Karen Davis
Machipongo, Va.
The writer is the president of United Poultry Concerns, a nonprofit that promotes the respectful treatment of domesticated birds.

Cans on the Newlyweds’ Car

To the Editor:

Re “Where Those Cans Behind the Car Came From” (Traditions, Sunday Styles, July 16):

When my wife, Laurie, and I were married, my brothers affixed a “Just Married” sign and a bouquet of cans to the bumper of my Jeep Cherokee.

On our way to the airport that evening, we were pulled over by the Suffield, Conn., police. We weren’t speeding, and there was no one else on the road. Perhaps the officer wanted to congratulate the newlyweds?

No; apparently a can had come loose from the vehicle. We were issued a warning — and informed that a ticket would have cost us $82 (more than $200 today) — for “operating with an unsecure load.”

Despite that inauspicious start, my wife and I will celebrate our 34th anniversary in November.

David Cecchi
Agawam, Mass.

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