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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

‘No Labels” Tanks

Not so long ago, many Democrats worried that the “No Labels” project could sink their party’s hopes for victory in the 2024 elections. There was speculation that the group would run a serious campaign for the presidency. The short-listers bandied about by the media as possible leaders of the ‘No Labels’ ticket during the last year included Sen. Joe Manchin, former U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney, former NY Mayor Michael Bloomberg, former Govs. Nikki Haley and Larry Hogan, former Sen. Joe Lieberman, RFK, Jr. and others, none of whom were much interested in fronting the effort. Instead, however, ‘No Labels’ just folded. Josh Fiallo reports the story in his article, “No Labels Finally Drops Its Quixotic Plan to Field a 2024 Candidate” at The Daily Beast:

The centrist political party No Labels announced Thursday it was calling off its plan to launch a third-party ‘unity’ ticket for November’s presidential election after it failed to find a candidate with a “credible path to winning the White House.”

In a statement, first obtained by the Wall Street Journal, the party said not putting a ticket together was the “responsible course of action” as it became clear nobody was near competing with Joe Biden and Donald Trump for the job.

“Americans remain more open to an independent presidential run, and hungrier for unifying national leadership, than ever before,” the party wrote in a statement. “But No Labels has always said we would only offer our ballot line to a ticket if we could identify candidates with a credible path to winning the White House. No such candidates emerged, so the responsible course of action is for us to stand down.”

For months, the party teased that it’d offer a ticket that’d appeal to centrist voters who were disillusioned with both Trump and Biden. Now, the party is only promising to continue fighting for those who find themselves somewhere between Biden and Trump’s politics.

“Like many Americans, we are concerned that the division and strife gripping the country will reach a critical point after this election, regardless of who wins,” No Labels’ statement continued. “Post-election, No Labels will be prepared to champion and defend the values and interests of America’s commonsense majority.”

Rahna Epting, the executive director of liberal activist group MoveOn, cheered the party’s announcement—and encouraged independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. to also bow out of the race.

“Millions of Americans are relieved that No Labels finally decided to do the right thing to keep Donald Trump out of the White House,” she posted to X. “Now, it’s time for Robert Kennedy Jr. to see the writing on the wall that no third party has a path forward to winning the presidency. We must come together to defeat the biggest threat to our democracy and country: Donald Trump.”

Reasonable people across the political spectrum have made cogent arguments for decades that a third party effort could serve as a worthwhile reality check for both parties, and perhaps encourage them to embrace a more conciliatory, centrist or bipartisan approach. ‘No Labels’ did have a catchy name for those who preferred not to formally affiliate themselves with either of the two major parties, and it got ballot access in 16 states. But ultimately, it was a hollow shell, lacking substance or even a legislative agenda. It was never quite clear what it stood for, other than serving as a hobby horse for political misfits and maybe playing a ‘spoiler’ role benefitting Republicans, which made it hard to build any kind of viable electoral coalition. It will not be missed by many.

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