by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
The prospect of a third-party candidate in the 2024 presidential contest isn’t worrying both parties equally.
Based on early polling, Democrats are much more concerned that a bid from the centrist organization No Labels could hurt their candidate than are Republicans.
Center-left think tank Third Way has released data showing that a major third-party ticket could be a “spoiler” that ruins President Joe Biden’s chances of keeping the White House. The group, along with progressive organization MoveOn, will brief Senate Democratic chiefs of staff on July 27 about their concerns.
No Labels disputes this line of thinking and the data behind it, saying it has a realistic shot at having an effect, as evidenced by constant polling that shows voters do not want a rematch between Biden and Donald Trump.
“Both our polling and theirs shows an overwhelming opening for a third party ticket before names are even announced and any campaign communicating the vision and issue positions is run,” No Labels chief pollster Dritan Nesho said in a statement to the Washington Examiner. “Our data also shows there are a lot more undecided and disaffected voters in the country. Elections are about choices, and an independent unity ticket has a lot of room to grow.”
Discussions about nontraditional presidential candidates crop up every election cycle, but No Labels is seeking to break through in a larger way thanks to its $70 million campaign to secure ballot access in all 50 states and the prospect of a presidential rematch, which has not occurred since 1956.
Third-party candidates have made noise in the past on occasion. Self-made billionaire Ross Perot garnered nearly 20 million votes in 1992, and some have claimed that Green Party nominee Ralph Nader handed the 2000 election to George W. Bush by siphoning off would-be Al Gore voters in Florida.