Update from No Labels Leadership

Friday, August 28, 2020 - Leaders within the No Labels organization will discuss how the mission of No Labels is changing with the field, plans to continue their work in November and beyond, and how the organization can support those in office.

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As election day nears, any of the three possible results - a Democratic sweep, a Republican sweep, or a split government - could be problematic. No Labels is committed to the maintenance of a bipartisan partnership to avoid gridlock. Today, leaders within the No Labels organization will discuss how the mission of No Labels is changing with the field, plans to continue their work in November and beyond, and how  the organization can support those in office.

As No Labels continues their strategy to combat bipartisanship, the organization's leaders share their three phase plan: (1) The House Problem Solvers Caucus, which has already brought together dozens of congressmen and women; (2) For the first time, there is a group of eight Senators who will work with the House Problem Solvers Caucus, modeled on the “gang” friendship of Senators Lieberman and McCain; and (3) Building up the congressional staff base of bipartisan workers, and considering the possibility of working to elect a Problem Solver president in 2024. 

Go to NoLabels.org to learn more about how we are bringing together a bipartisan group of public and private leaders working to solve America’s toughest problems.

In this Episode

Opening Remarks from Ryan Clancy

No one knows what will happen on election day, but we do know this is likely to be the most divisive election of our lives, and that makes No Labels mission to bring people together across the political spectrum even more important. Today, No Labels leaders will discuss our work to cultivate a bipartisan swing block in the House and Senate, and how we are working to generate support from Americans across the country. Let's listen in.

Very simply. When we wake up after election day, there's only three ways this can go. We're either going to have unified party control of one side or the other, or we're going to have divided government. In either of those scenarios, you can actually see things getting very badly very quickly. I know at this point, it seems pretty unlikely there'd be a full sweep on the right side, but you could have a democratic sweep. Depending on how big that is, the progressive left will see that as it's mandate to push through everything on their wishlists, green new deal, Medicare for all, and natural gas and on down the line.

If we have divided government, we'll be sitting here in January with a very tenuous economy probably still dealing with COVID, and we'll need to get things done. Of course as we're seeing right now, the default option from Washington is gridlocked. How do you deal with that? That brings us to our next slide and what No Labels is trying to do.

We need a bipartisan swing faction of reasonable and responsible leaders who can either do the tough work and take the tough votes to in a bipartisan way solve our toughest problems, or in some cases, preventing some really bad ideas for moving forward and moving the legislative process into a more productive direction.

As you all know, this is what we're trying to build. It brings us to our next slide. A lot of you are familiar with this concept, we're working our way through three phases.

Phase one, House problem solvers concept of problem solvers conscious. We built it, it's established in a glimpse goes to the next slide. You can see here, the progress we've made now across two congresses. The first congress, was very much about these caucus' getting established and setting its rules of engagements and standards of behavior. On the right side here, you can see some pretty consequential achievements be it the trade deal, criminal justice reform, [inaudible 00:02:32] resolution, and the central role that this group has played from the upset of this COVID endeavor.

With the house problem solvers cemented, we are now moving to the Senate and that's our next slide. We're very excited about this emerging group that is starting to come together. A lot of you are familiar with these senators and know what we're doing here. But now for the first time, we have this group of eight that is going to be working increasingly with one another and with their colleagues in the House problem solvers caucus. The mission for this ... as some of you remember, our wonderful chairman Senator Lieberman, he would pair off into those gangs with Senator McCain several years ago ... well, this is the new gang with the difference being instead of this group just getting together at a moment of crisis, we want them meeting regularly with one another and with their House problem solvers.

The end game for this group, and that takes us to our next slide, you get to early 2021 and if you have 50 votes in the House ... Oh, that should say, sorry we've got a little grammar error there. We'll fix that. It should say ... Oh no it is. 50 votes to the Senate, that's correct. 218 in the House. That's what it takes for a bill to become law. If you have 50 House problem solvers and eight senators sticking together, it depends on the majority and how big it is but odds are, if that group hangs together, they can be the swing faction. They can decide what moves and what does not.

The question is, will they stick together? That takes to our next slide. That speaks to the importance of what we're doing here. This No Labels cabinet we're building to provide the financial support for members who exhibit this kind of leadership. I don't think I have to balabert to this group why this is so important. I think we all know that for this group to stick together, it is hard, it is politically risky. A lot of you just saw one of our House problem solvers caucus co-chairs Josh Gottheimer go through a primary explicitly because of this kind of work he does here.

The more this group does, the more they hang together, the more that's going to happen and the more we need to support them. That takes me to my last couple of slides here. This is phase three. For those of you who've done strategic planning, this is going to the stretch goal of our presentation but if you actually think back when we thought about building the House problem solvers caucus, that was a stretch goal. That felt impossible.

We want to lay down this marker because we know that the way you complete this, the way you actually get problem solving is, it's got to happen at every level of government. That just takes me to the next slide which is, there's two ways we think we can do this that can influence the direction of 2024. Number one is, building up what is an effected talent bank for the government. Imagine if you have 50 House problem solvers, eight senators, and then you got a couple hundred people populated in the senior ranks of an administration in 2024 who really believe in this kind of politics. That can be transformative, and that's something we're starting to think about how we build over time because we have built up such an exceptional network. We could probably just take all the people Liz just had on our four o'clock calls and see if we can get them in the next cabinet. We'd have a pretty good group to start with.

The second thing is, as you know we've never gotten involved in an endorsement on the presidential level. We all know the reasons for that. But you can see it's scenario getting towards 2024 where either it is at the end of president Trump's second term, he of course can serve again. Or, it's the end of Joe Biden's first term and he's 84 years old and he may not run again. In either case, there may be an opportunity, especially given the assets that the labels have built up in New Hampshire for us to pick a problem solver on both sides and see if we can't get a little wind in their sails.

That just brings us to our last slide. I think is a really important point to make. No Labels fortunately, although we like to think of ourselves as very scrappy in operating a startup, we are much further along than a startup. We have a proof of concept and it works, the House problem solvers. We have climbed that model to the Senate, and so we don't really have to wonder if the concept works. It does. We just have to take it to scale and put the proper amount of investments aside. With that, I'll stop there. Andy, hand it back over to you. I'm happy to open up our discussion.

Comments from Admiral Dennis Blair

Great. First of all, great job Ryan, very clear and thoughtful. Rather than opening up now, why don't I turn it over to our friend and leader Admiral Dennis Blair for his quick comments and then we'll take it from there. Admiral Blair?

Admiral Dennis Blair:
Good, thanks Andy. I think this is really a henge moment for No Labels in which we shift from a scrappy organization that knows in general where we're going and finds opportunities and jumps on them. We take that transition step to having an overall strategy to achieving our vision, to reaching our goals which is actually making improvements in these big, tough problems that the country faces. If it's to remain competitive in the world, if it's to provide a good living for it's people whether it be immigration, education, infrastructure, social security, the national debt. We all know those are the big things we have to fix in this country if this is going to be a country that continues to set the pace for the world or whether we just fade away after a few short years.

I think that now, we have an idea of how to get to a set of structures with problem solves in the House and the Senate, in the presidency and in the administration that we can actually cause an addressal of these huge problems that we have papered over, played politics with in the past. I think from a strategy point of view, for the first time, we really have a classic strategy which relates ends to means and achieves our vision, and it's just a case now of making our individual tactical decisions, fitting our efforts into the plan moving forward, and we're rewriting a very strong strategy here. I look forward to being a part of it.

Comments from Charlie Black

Thank you Dennis, great to have you with us. Let me turn it over now to Charlie Black who's been one of our great thinkers. Charlie knows more about how the machine inside the beltway works than just about anyone. Charlie, let me turn it over to you.

Charlie Black:
Thank you Andy. Let me just say that, it's a huge accomplishment to have gotten these eight senators for democrat support, republicans together and to agree to work together in the future no matter who has the majority in the Senate they will. Also very important is, the House problem solvers and our Senate group talk and meet together, and so they're not independently coming up with issue positions or trying to solve problems. But, they're working together on it so it's something that we can provide the swing votes for in the House. The senators will already be on board for that. This is a great accomplishment, we're moving forward.

My main message is that, the House problem solvers and these senators are being asked to stand up to the leaders of their own party. They have to do that to succeed. They have to have support from us to make sure that they can when they're on elections where the party leaders like them are not. Thank you.

Thanks Charlie. I want to open it up for questions. Just one thing I want to underscore in what Charlie said. What happens in the bicameralism's in some ways is quite magical. It really is what government and governing is supposed to be about. For any of you who have had an opportunity to observe, these are open and honest dialogues and as trust has built, meatier and meatier discussions take place. I know for some of you as you look at those eight who have aligned with us and other senators who join us periodically, some of them may not align with your own political preferences. They may not align with some of your beliefs. But what brings them together and what makes them individuals worthy of all of our support is the fact that they have committed to bipartisanship. They've committing to getting in the room and engaging in constructive dialogue leading to bipartisan problem solving.

Comments from Glenn Lipinski

That is what we are working so hard to support, and with your help we can provide that counterbalance to the polarization that we face. We're going to open it up now. Let me just give a hello to Dan Lipinski, one of our members of our problem solvers caucus. Dan, thanks for joining us. Great to have you with us. One last person I wanted to recognize and maybe we can get a few words out of him, Glenn Lowenstein, another one of our leaders who has played a [inaudible 00:12:52] role in building our regional cabinets. Glenn?

Glenn Lipinski:
Yeah, thank you Andy. Just a few comments because what Ryan and Charlie and the Admiral talked about, and Andy was what's going on inside the beltway. I like that term, the machines inside the beltway. What we're really building is a machine outside the beltway. The tactical component that supports the courage that's going on inside the beltway. Just to give you a status, two years ago this was essentially four cities with a small group of donors. Today it's 16 cities and we just added San Antonio so 17 cities, with almost 300 donors.

The only comment that I want to make that I see happening every single time we're on a city call or [inaudible 00:13:50] call is, the trust between this group on the phone and the problem solvers in the House and eventually in the Senate is growing. Mulvaney said it the other day. When we asked him, would you give us any advice? He said, "Look, I was part of a group that held back Republican congressmen because they didn't vote the way we wanted to. You need to have their backs."

My only point on this is that, all of us that aren't involved in this inside the beltway have to really take that to heart if we want this to work. Thanks Andy.

Comments from Bill Galston

Thank you Glenn. Thanks for your terrific leadership. Here are the rules of engagement. You've got a chat button at the bottom of your screen. I know you're all Zoom experts by now. Just chat to Liz Morrison, let her know you have a question and then we'll call on you. But before we do that, there's only one individual I'm aware of who can match our friend David Brooks in terms of intellectual horsepower and clarity of communication and that's our own Bill Balston. Bill, let me just turn it over to you for a few comments and then we're going to open it up for questions. Bill?

Bill Galston:
Well, there've been a number of previous speakers. I'll keep it very short. You all know based on the presentation that Ryan gave backed by others what the strategy is. But you may be asking yourselves, "Why now? I've got a lot of other things going on including a bunch of candidates that I'm already supporting and want to continue to support. Why is this so important right now?"

Here's at least my answer to that question. To the extent that I have never seen before, our country is now enmeshed in a series of interlocking crisis'. A healthcare crisis, an economic crisis, a social crisis, and progress on those crisis' is being blocked by the fourth crisis and that is a political crisis. The inability of our institutions to get together across party lines to do what needs to be done to chart a steady, sustainable course out of our current difficulties.

Only the strategy that's been laid before you in the past few minutes holds out any realistic hope of doing that. Sustainable policy in the United States going back to the creation has almost always required cooperation across lines of partisan division. If policy is made by one party, it is likely to be undone by the next party as soon as that party has a chance. In the interim, the party that is holding the short stick will do everything it can to obstruct and delay.

You expect people to be together for the flight, they obviously have to be on board at the takeoff. That strategy is what our problem solvers are all about, what this new Senate block is all about, and what No Labels strategy is all about. And, it cannot possibly succeed and it certainly can't succeed fast enough without your own swerving support over the next six to 12 months which may be the most important six to 12 months in the history of the modern American republic.

The modern American republic, the stakes are that high and you have a historic opportunity to make a really big difference.

What happens in the case of a blue sweep?

Perfect. I will voice a concern that I guess I can turn into a question for Ryan and Charlie especially. I agree that we've been doing great work. I agree that everybody needs to get to all eight senate candidates regardless of whether they really agree with all eight Senate candidates. What I've been getting very concerned about the last couple of weeks is that, if all three branches ... I'm sorry. If the House, the Senate, and the White House do go blue that our job and the job of problem solvers caucus, the 25 democrats and the four democrats in the Senate is going to be that much harder because there is going to be enormous pressure on them from leadership, finally in the leadership and finally in the majority on both sides to conform very very strongly.

I think it's going to be a real test for us and for them as the first time that the organization has really been strong when there's one party in power to hold the line against that and I'd like to know your thoughts about that. In a sense what I'm saying is, as bad as things are right now for the country and for Congress, in a sense it's easier for us because they need each other. I'm extremely concerned about what happens when they don't need each other.

Great question Andy. Charlie, let me turn that one over to you if I could.

Charlie Black:
A very important question. The odds are if you voted today, all three branches of government would become democratic. There very likely would be a move by Senate democrats to change the filibuster rule to allow legislative policy, legislature to be passed with 51 votes instead of the 60 that's now required. With the 60 vote requirement, you'd encourage a bipartisanship and you almost always have some bipartisan activity on really big issues.

This just means that if that happens that our group, our Senate block as we call it is even more important than ever. Now the problem solvers in the House, the democratic problem solvers in the House stood up to speaker Pelosi. They withheld votes from her becoming speaker until they got some very important rules changes in the House.

That wasn't popular with her. It wasn't popular with the left. Somebody mentioned that Josh Gottheimer had a very serious primary challenge, some of the other have too. But, they had the courage and the guts to stand up under that circumstance. I think the senators that we're talking about would do that too, but as somebody said, they got to know that somebody big has their back. Well that's us. None of these folks on our list are people that want real left wing stuff or real right wing stuff, they want to solve problems with compromise things.

If we just support their natural instincts, it might work.

What kind of support can we give beyond money?

I don't know if there's anybody else on who is a former member. The last time we had all three branches as I was, and I just want to echo ... Well first let me back up. I was elected without a single dollar from the democratic party or any majority leadership party, because they didn't think I could win because it was a republican district. I came in pretty unbound to the leadership, and because of the district that I had, I was a moderate then I'm a moderate now. The pressure to go with the majority is unrelenting.

I was a nobody freshman. I was invited to the White House all the time. I got calls from Ambassador Mondale who when I was his White House fellow, didn't know my name. It was unrelenting to vote for various administration and majority leadership bills. What I'm trying to say is that, it's not just the money. We have to figure out some strategy to shore up our no problems caucus members, our senators beyond just the money. There's got to be a safe harbor for them to go to.

Seven of us created our own atta boy, atta girl, hang in there. There's got to be more and I think we can do that. I can't come up with the answer right this minute, but I think we need to work on that. What kind of support can we give beyond money?

What understanding have the members of the Problems Solvers Caucus agreed to?

Yeah, there is great rules that have been put in place for the problem solvers could vote as a block. 75% of them agree that they all vote together, that they won't run against each other, but there's certain background understandings that they have. What background understanding if any has the eight senators agreed to?

Thanks Jay, great question. I'm going to turn it over to Ryan in just a second. I'd begin by saying, one of the most important observations is that there are two houses of Congress but they are very different in almost every way. With that said Ryan, why don't you provide your response.

Jay, that's a great question. Two quick points on that. As Andy noted, the Senate is a different animal from the house. For example, the Senate just does not have a caucus. For historic reasons there's fewer members. As one of the Senate members shared with us they said, "Look, every senator thinks they're their own pilot." I don't think it's a realistic expectation that for example, they'd get to some sort of voting threshold in the same way House members do. The Senate just doesn't look like that.

What I would say is, we are going to try to work them up a chain of growing accountability over time in the same way we did with the House problem solvers. What's that's going to be, we've talked about and Andy you know this, we've talked about the idea that they would agree to co-sponsor certain amount of legislation with colleagues and the House problem solvers talking, or there'd be a meeting [inaudible 00:25:04].

We absolutely want to move them up that chain of being more accountable to one another. If you think about the House problem solvers, the way they started, it just started with some meetings with really no strings attached. Suddenly, they started to work together and they formed this formal caucus and overtime, we sort of rationed it up that each step, what it meant to be a member in good standing of that caucus. We're still on the front end of that in the Senate, but we're going to get there.

I would add two observations to that. One is, what I think our senators have already seen is that, their power is enhanced to the extent they can present legislation that has bipartisan support in the house. Bill Cassidy has mentioned this on several occasions and I think he shared that with his [inaudible 00:25:54] that, this is a tool that the Senators can use to enhance their capacity and their stature.

I think the other thing that I am hopeful and optimistic will occur is, some of that policing is going to come from within. We have serious folks who have joined us from the Senate. They didn't join us because they needed us to market for them. They joined us because they think that this is a tool that could help them get legislation moving forward. My hope and expectation is, we're going to see policing from their own. We're going to see folks like Bill Cassidy and others stand up and say to their peers, "Look, we're here purposely. We need you not only to engage, but we need you to carry this out of position A or position B as it comes to the floor."

How do we expand the organization?

Thank you. Great presentation [inaudible 00:27:07]. My observation [inaudible 00:27:10]. This is great organization. What we've done is terrific and wholeheartedly behind it. What I wonder is, how we expand the organization and what the process [inaudible 00:27:24]. There may very be some [inaudible 00:27:24] but I'm not aware of it. I'm wondering whether that presentation that we just saw would be something that each one of us as [inaudible 00:27:32] bring one friend to who we may think may be involved.

I know several people I've talked to about this. I got into this because Greg Mutz interviews me in Chicago [inaudible 00:27:40]. I'm wondering how we expand deep in the organization practically speaking and at the same time, provide a more financial [inaudible 00:27:49].

Glenn, why don't I turn that over to you. You're spearheading and good with the effort in terms of building out these cities. What are your thoughts on that topic?

Glenn Lipinski:
It really boils down to the city structure. What we have going right now in the 617 cities is, there's a city leader. That city leader generally reaches out to three to six people and that becomes the core of the city nucleus. Those three to six people are reaching out to eight to 10 people. It's a great question because we're building this train as it goes. The Admiral described the overall strategy. The machine outside the beltway is literally being built as we're moving. That's what we have in place now and there's questions about how much do we market? How broadly do we market?

Right now where we are at, it is a word of mouth city by city, person by person, hand to hand combat model. I'm just going to throw this out there. We haven't really discussed this, but I think maybe there does need to be a small group of people who are specialists in marketing outside of the beltway to help with this process. This fundraising, the city creation is about eight months old. In the totality, there were a few cities before. I think that's the status and where it goes from here will be work in process.

Thanks Glenn. I'd just note, it's not just about the money. The money obviously is the fuel that drives the car, but having folks like each of you around the country that demonstrate to our colleagues and Congress that we have supporters coast to coast, city to city, business leaders, community leaders, people formally perhaps in government who are committed to this cause is a powerful statement. There's an opportunity as many of you have experienced to engage directly with these congressional leaders to bring them your point of view from the field.

I think an important part of what we're talking about and Lynn sort of referred to it as well in her comments. We can show support in many ways and there are going to be opportunities to do so. Obviously the money is important, but having this national network built and demonstrating support in town halls when they come home and otherwise is an important role for all of us to play.

What issues have come up when recruiting young congresspeople?

What if any issues are you having recruiting young congresspeople, men and women and has it been difficult? The more diversity the better is a place that I think is really important to get to within and without. Talk to me about what's going on with those two things, youth and diversity.

Sure, I'll give you a few thoughts and I may ask Nancy to comment here. But in some ways, it's allowed us to get our young congressmen and our old ones. What I've seen in the newest class of members of the House is that, they are disproportionately represented by young people who have grown up serving the country in government roles, in the military, in the CIA and the FBI, and they are genuinely committed in a very authentic way to giving back and to serving the country.

They come to Washington with that mindset and it's powerful. I think many of them get frustrated immediately with the recognition that what they've sort of identified in their minds as their purpose is blocked at the door because of the control of leadership. We've become a natural magnet for particularly young emerging leaders who want to get things done. I can just tell you from my own experience, among our strongest leaders are women in the House.

We have some extraordinarily talented women, two in particular that I'll mention to you Elaine Luria and Abigail Spanberger both of Virginia, both first-term congressmen. Elaine was a long career in the military, commanded naval vessels. Abigail Spanberger spent the first part of her career in the CIA. They came to Washington to continue their service with those backgrounds, they came with steel skins and ice water in their veins and they have just been powerful leaders in the caucus. Nancy, do you want to comment any further on the challenges in recruiting members?

Members, I think you're right. In terms of this network, we're really focused on this and I know Glenn, that's just something that we like to think a lot in terms of our city leaderships. How do we get more women, minorities, other people, young people? I don't think we've figured it all out yet, and if anybody has ideas please email me directly. But Glenn, I think it's something that we're going to be talking more and more with our city leaders to start this on a city level.

Do you want to comment Glenn?

Glenn Lipinski:
Yeah. When I say, [inaudible 00:33:45] I really need two things. I need money and relationships, because a lot of people are coming to No Labels with a lot of existing relationships. Even as we speak right now in Texas, under the No Labels umbrella, there's a new [inaudible 00:34:08] Senator Cornett. It's a fabulous thing because what he's seeing is all the people involved in this mission and bipartisan legislation is lasting legislations. He gets a check and I think Andy's point is right. It doesn't his life to ensure the people with the check and the message is really powerful for him and it'll be for the other donors. It's a combination of both.

But Joey, I'd just say this. You're new to us so I don't know you. I'd love to connect with you, I'd love to continue that conversation. I think we've got to focus more on that effort of bringing in more diversity. Anybody else that's interested, I'd love to have a conversation with you and start [inaudible 00:34:52].

Question (cont'd):
Plus too, I also wanted to say I felt the suggested that tell a friend. I just learned about you a week ago because of Cathy Jones. I immediately said, "Wow, what a great name. What a great effort." I've told two people and they say, "Tell me more." Just the idea of what you're doing in the circumstance that we're living right now is, people are really interested.

The one thing I say Andy is, next Tuesday and 3:30 will be our first introduction to the four of the eight Senate partners and so, we would really love all of you to bring a friend to witness this. This'll be the first time they meet our group. My hope is, we'll have 200 people on but that'll be a great opportunity to bring people. [inaudible 00:35:45] send out info.

Clarification Around "75%"

Hi. I have one very quick comment. I think on the slide with the 75% role, I think it needs a little bit more depth on that one because all of us know what the role is, but I think if you look at that slide, I think it just says 75%. If you show it to somebody else, it doesn't [inaudible 00:36:09]. I think it needs to be more words on there to explain.

The other thing Ryan said that this was like [inaudible 00:36:16] a year, a year and a half and I'm in a little pain of putting on my No Labels hat here because there's some really good people I care about [inaudible 00:36:26]. Frankly, they're endangered. I'm not sure that this is a deck that we're using to help us get through. I think keeping them [inaudible 00:36:36] campaign for us, or is it a year or longer? I'm not sure that slide would be as appropriate.

Thanks Steve. Ryan, you want to comment?

Yeah Steve, thanks. That's great feedback. We can absolutely put a little more detail in that 75% slide number. Yeah to be clear, we are still very much in a sprint to get the support we need for these numbers to get through November. Of course our group of eight has a lot of members that if they don't get through, they won't be with us. We all know there's a couple of those senators Senator Collins in particular who have a really tough race. We've got to do everything we can to support them.

Has there been interaction with Young Republican/Young Democrat organizations?

Hi. Thank you for this. I tell you, No Labels is the highlight of my week. I have a question. Has anybody ever reached out to the young republican organizations, young democrat organizations which are made up often on campuses and colleges and universities? I would think that that might be an interesting source if anybody knows the leadership of those two organizations, or similar organizations where young people are involved politically.

Nancy, do you want to take that?

Yeah. That's a great idea and that's something Liz, we should look on to do. The question is, do we start offering separate programming and create a whole separate channel which we could do? We've never tried that and Liz, that is something that we should think about especially in this period of right now where kids aren't necessarily in school, they may want to come together in a Zoom format. We'll followup on that. Thanks for that.

Question (cont'd):
That also includes by the way, there are organizations of minorities. There's organizations of young black conservatives and young black democrats that might be very interested in this. They're walking in the middle of the road also, so ...

Any help that you want ... As you you'll see, everybody that you've heard from [inaudible 00:39:02] maybe Ryan, we're all volunteers. We definitely look for people to get in here and come alongside us, so if that's a project you want to help work on with us, we'd love it.

Pamela Humphrey:
I'd be happy to.

Pamela, thanks for that notion.

Lynn Shank:
Could I just interject on that because I did do it?


Lynn Shank:
I tried on the campus here in San Diego with the young democrats, and let me just say, it was not successful that they were very very adamant about supporting what now we call progressives and progressive agenda and we're not interested in compromise. In fact, booed me when I talked about consensus compromise negotiation, trying to give them a feel of what it's like ... Maybe that was just this one campus and maybe you'll find something else somewhere else, but it was a huge of waste of time in terms of what we're trying to achieve unfortunately.

How effective can No Labels be in a one party government?

Thank you so much. You asked me to speak right after Lynn because our comments wouldn't be similar or they might as well be a question. No Labels as I perceive it, it's primary raise in [detra 00:40:32] is as an anecdote to gridlock. It makes a lot of sense. It is a perfect anecdote to gridlock. In a likely result of this upcoming election is not gridlock, it's one party government. My observation, I'm neither a democrat or a republican, I'm libertarian. That's kind of irrelevant but how effective ... No Labels, it's whole reason for existence is not as a counterbalance to one party government.

One party government doesn't need any help and it has the tool or [inaudible 00:41:20] to brush away like an annoying little gnat anybody who is not in the program in a primary. They have enormous tools, enormous wealth to counter even, counter extremism with [inaudible 00:41:38]. How effective could No Labels be when they're trying to be a cure for one party governance versus a cure for gridlock where I would pray for gridlock in the next election?

Robert, that's a great question. Bill, can I put you on the spot and ask you to give your thoughts?

Bill Galston:
You sure can because I was actually going to volunteer to take that question. Let me just do a little political history. A lot of us has studied the new deal where one party got into the seat of power and pretty much stayed there for 20 years. The American politics doesn't work that way anymore. Let's just review the bidding. Bill Clinton was swept in 1993 as the head of the unified government. That lasted precisely two years. The same thing happened with George W. Bush was re-elected in 2005. He took that as a mandate to do some things that weren't terribly popular with the country like privatizing social security. His second term lasted for two years.

Barack Obama came in as the head of a unified government, that lasted exactly two years. Donald Trump came in as the head of a unified government. That lasted two years. Noticing a pattern here? American politics now has a new default setting and that default setting is divided government because one party government typically goes off the rails in one direction or another, and the American people pay attention and they punish it.

The problem with this two years and out scenario is that it makes it extremely difficult to govern the country on a sustained basis. We really have paid the price for that as a country. One party government does not in any way end or contradict No Labels mission, it's just another form of it because the need for bipartisanship plays out over time in that scenario, and we've learned what happens when a party gets the bit between its teeth and ignores the existence of 40 or 45 or even 48% of the country. It does not last. It cannot last, which is why making sure it doesn't happen even under unified government, it's a very important contribution that we can make to the steady sustainable legislative course and policy course we need now more than ever.

Are there "easy wins" for No Labels to pursue?

Yeah, thank you. My question actually is, looking at some easy wins that can push the name of No Labels in a greater scope. Are there some projects or some ideas that No Labels can establish and push forward, especially across the caucus and the rest just to get easy chalk ups ... One thing I'm thinking about are [inaudible 00:45:17] voter registrations. On the binational of another country where if you don't vote, you get fined and eventually you end up in jail. I find that when more people vote, more compromises are made between government.

My question basically is, are there easy wins we can adopt in this ballot and carry forward which will help spread the message?

Thanks David. Ryan, I'm going to turn over to you in a second but I'd just like two comments. One is, I don't think there are any wins that are easy. That's just the nature of where we are. Things that, if we all voted and we decided, "Is this particular issue partisan?" We would all vote no and it would end up nonetheless being a partisan issue.

Secondly, one of the remarkable things we've seen in the problem solvers caucus of this vintage is, they don't shy away from the [inaudible 00:46:12]. I think part of the mantra is, "Look, if we're going to spend our time on something, let's spend our time on something that matters." They largely set the agenda at least in the problem solvers caucus about where they think there's an opportunity. They don't shy away from the tough ones, but Ryan let me turn it over to you for maybe a more wholesome response.

Sure Andy. The two things I'd add is, we've learned pretty well in this organization that some of the really boring and inside baseball parliamentary things have really outside impact on policy outcomes. Everybody here knows we had a lot of success with the rules package that the problem solvers pushed through in the last conference, most notably the 290 rule which allows any bill with 290 [inaudible 00:47:06].

Number one, the House problem solvers are starting to think through now, what is a subsequent package of rule changes that they could try to push for that would just as the previous rule change, make it easier to get by bipartisan bills on the floor, to get bipartisan amendments, and ultimately to get a bipartisan bill.

We are starting to talk about a similar effort in the Senate. I know there's been a lot of talk about the filibuster. One of the things that we actually saw with this policing reform issue is I think as some of you know, there's two points where you can filibuster a bill. You can filibuster it right before it becomes law, or you can filibuster the debate and prevent it from even happening. That's what actually happened with the policing bill in the Senate sponsored by senator Scott.

We've been talking to some of our Senate members about, what could some potential filibuster reforms look like? I think that if you look in the near term, "Look, congress needs to get this coronavirus relief bill. Maybe they can get a policing bill done. Our group is talking about that." Then you're really into the election and months past legislation. I think looking over the horizon or as Andy noted, all the winds are tough but they're a little smaller. Some of these ruler forms could make a big difference and our groups are looking at them.

Thanks Ryan. Let me just make one maybe tangential comment. One of the more important roles that we play at No Labels as I reflect the maturing of the credibility of this organization is, we have become the convener. The truth is, we can bring people into the room in a fashion that I think is increasingly rare in Washington. As Ryan mentioned, the policing issue and more broadly racial justice we had at our last bicameral Tim Scott joined us for what was a very thoughtful conversation with a number of his senecalities, our senators, and members of the House.

We had secretary Mnuchin join us just a week ago for a very good conversation where a number of our members of the bicameral suggested elements of the face for or elements that should be thought about in the context of the face for legislation. In the past, we've had our good friends Governor Larry Hogan who aside from being a very confident governor in Maryland is the chair of the National Governors Association and can bring that constituency to us.

We are able to convene thought leaders and political leaders from across the spectrum to join us in these conversations, and I think for all of you, I wanted you to know just how important that is and I think what a credit it is to Nancy and her team to enable those kinds of conversations. We've got time for a couple last questions. Let me turn it over to Richard Davis. Richard, you're up.

Concerns from No Labels Members

This may be a little bit of a contrarian question in the sense, and I think it's important in how No Labels can address the following group of supporters. I'm somebody as Nancy knows has been involved in No Labels since day one, the very first meeting. But I'm also somebody who believes that the greater threat to our democratic society and to our institutions is Donald Trump and bipartisanship is second. How do we address the concerns of people like me who feel it very difficult to support and indeed may be compelled from their own perspective to want to oppose even problem solver [inaudible 00:51:14] where they feel have not really stepped up to meet the moral challenge of our time?

Charlie, you look like you're ready to answer that question. I'm going to turn that one over to you.

Charlie Black:
Well first of all, no one of us is going to agree with all these senators on a lot of issues. They disagreed themselves on a lot of issues. I must say that Susan Collins has been a friend of mine since before she came to the Senate. She has the courage to stand up and do what she thinks is right. When it comes to the president, she's had plenty of occasions to differ from him and to criticize him.

Now, the same thing could be said of other senators I suppose. There may be somebody on this call that's a Trump person that will want to defend him. I won't. But it's very likely, whoever is president doesn't matter to us if we have our bipartisan coalitions in both the House and the Senate. We can almost always be the fulcrum for getting compromise, problem solving legislation. If I were you, I'd go out and work hard against Trump but look at the long-term and say, "I ought to be for these eight senators."

Question (cont'd):
Well, I wish I could agree with you but how Susan Collins conducted herself, but I appreciate your view and the view of others. As I say, I've been a strong supporter of No Labels since day one in varying capacities was an early recruiter of members. The mission is critical whatever happens.

Charlie Black:
Thank you Rich.

Sign Off with Bill Galston

Bill Galston:
Yeah. Well I have to say that one of the questioners Pam Humphrey made my day. When she said that these No Labels meetings are the "Highlight of her week," and given the eternal groundhog day that we're all trapped in, that's a much lower bar than it used to be. But, I'm glad that we're crossing it and I hope it's with room to spare. I hope in the years to come that you'll have other highlights of your week and you won't be so dependent on this God willing.

Let me just conclude by amplifying a point that Andy Burske, who is a superb moderator of these sessions by the way thank you made and that is that, to our surprise, we have turned into a real convener for serious legislative effort. Let me give you two examples that are alive and well and in real time right now. We've known for two months that the democratic party bill calls for a trillion dollars in a additional assistance to state and local governments.

We've learned in the past 24 hours that the republican countered to that bill, will budget exactly zero dollars for that purpose. Guess what? There's only one organization that has created an alternative to those two positions in both the House and the Senate and an alternative that is likely in my judgment to carry the day or something very much like it during the give and take of the legislative process. We've done that. Our problem solvers caucus and one of our key senators Bill Cassidy in partnership across party lines with Bob Menendez of New Jersey have come up with the only strip that this particular airplane can land on in my judgment.

Here's a second convening that's going on in real time. We just learned yesterday that a bill that I had given up for lost frankly, the police reform bill which is a really important part of the effort to address fundamental social problems in this country, is being negotiated not only between democrats and republicans in the House, but also involving key senators as well. One of the chairs of the problem solvers caucus said that things had moved much farther in a good direction than he had imagined possible. That there was now a serious shot that a compromise can be reached.

If that happens and I will clean up Joe Biden's verbiage here, that would be a really big deal. The problem solvers would be the heroes of that effort. The people who made sure that police reform did not die in 2020. This is a long-term strategy that we're talking about today, but it's as real as legislation that matters for every American right here and right now. If not us who? If not now, when? Thanks so much.

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