Bringing Leaders Together

Nancy Jacobson created No Labels to help representatives chart a path out of the partisan “morass” in Washington.

nancy-jacobson
No Labels founder, Nancy Jacobson

By now, few disagree that the national political process is crippled by deep partisanship. “Leaders seem reflexively determined to govern by steamrolling the other side,” wrote Nancy Jacobson ’84 BA (PSc) recently in The Hill. “Big policy ideas . . . are either enacted with support from a single party (to the exclusion of the other) or left for dead.” Jacobson is the founder of No Labels, a nonprofit working to encourage political bipartisanship — in Congress particularly. New York Times columnist David Brooks called it “the most active centrist organization” in politics.

Among its initiatives is the Problem Solvers Caucus — cross-party get-togethers that built into a group of 48 representatives, evenly split by party, who are committed to negotiation and compromise on policy issues; to date, they’ve introduced nine bipartisan bills. No Labels also advocates to reform House rules that, they claim, reward inflexibility and extremism, and supports Congressional leadership who embrace bipartisanship. The group identifies and promotes policy favored by broad swaths of the electorate and candidates they deem productively bipartisan.

Jacobson is a former long-time political advisor, business networker, and fund-raiser who created No Labels in 2010, committed to the notion, she says, that “bipartisanship is the only tangible way out of the morass.”

This article appeared in the winter 2019 print edition of Maxwell Perspective © Maxwell School of Syracuse University. To request a copy, e-mail dlcooke@maxwell.syr.edu.