by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Americans may be forced in 2024 to choose between reelecting one of two unpopular presidents. With that looming fiasco in mind, the political vehicles that promise to steer an independent presidential ticket into the White House are revving their engines. One of those groups, the self-described “centrist, bipartisan” political organization No Labels, has been laying $70 million worth of groundwork for a “unity ticket” in 2024.
Given Trump voters’ loose attachment to a Republican Party that rejects Donald Trump as its helmsman, it’s reasonable to expect that it would be GOP loyalists who would object most strenuously to an ideologically amorphous third-party presidential bid. The Washington Post’s reporting, however, suggests it’s Democrats who are tormented by the expectation that a No Labels ticket would chew more into their party’s share of the vote.
“The Arizona Democratic Party filed a lawsuit to block No Labels from ballot access in that state on procedural grounds. Matt Bennett of the centrist Democratic think tank Third Way has argued that the plot is ‘going to reelect Trump,’ and Adam Green of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee has accused No Labels of wanting ‘to play the role of spoiler.’”
Former GOP strategist turned GOP critic Stuart Stevens called the No Labels initiative “dangerous.” Another repentant veteran of Republican electoral politics, Mark McKinnon, dismissed the prospect of a No Labels ticket, confessing his faith that the group would “do the right thing” in the end. But even the group’s flirtation with this project led Brookings Institution scholar William Galston to resign from it in protest. …
… Unspoken but undeniable in the subtext of these displays of handwringing is that Joe Biden’s record in office is not one we would associate with an unstoppable political juggernaut. If that’s the assumption under which No Labels’ critics are operating, it’s hard to argue against it.