No Labels wants a Republican to help take down Trump, but it could still backfire

No Labels is looking to a Republican-led unity ticket for the 2024 election to help prop up President Joe Biden in his rematch against former President Donald Trump.

Joe Lieberman, founding chairman of No Labels, told the Washington Post that the group is not hoping to boost Trump this election cycle, saying that stopping Trump “from being reelected is a goal even greater than restoring bipartisanship to Washington.”

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The centrist group could tap Geoff Duncan, former Republican lieutenant governor of Georgia, to lead the unity ticket, according to reporting from the Wall Street Journal.

No Labels did not respond to a Washington Examiner request for comment.

But political experts remain skeptical that the third-party efforts will prove successful in November for many reasons, including lack of a national figure to entice voters, failure to reach ballot access in all 50 states, and the possibility that any third-party run could sink Biden’s reelection efforts.

“I think whatever No Labels is attempting to do, the whole thing is wrong,” said Sarah Chamberlain, the CEO and president of the Republican Main Street Partnership. “Third-party candidates are not going to win. The system is not built for a third-party candidate.”

Voters have long said they are not sold on another election rematch between Biden and Trump due to weariness from the chaotic aftermath of the 2020 election that is still being litigated and concerns about the ages of 81-year-old Biden and 77-year-old Trump.

Both candidates easily defeated their primary challengers and surpassed the delegate thresholds for both of their parties to secure their nominations this week.

“American people can say they love a different option other than Biden and Trump,” Chamberlain continued. “But the reality is when they go in there in November to vote, they usually go home. A small percentage may vote for the independent or the third party. But pretty much they go home to their Democrat or Republican party.”

Other strategists pointed out that Duncan is a little-known Republican figure who does not bring the heft needed for a national scale. More prominent Republicans, including former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT), and former Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan have all passed on joining No Labels’s ticket. Centrist Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) also declined to join the ticket.

“I’m not sure if putting up a former Republican lieutenant governor who nobody knows is really going to have that much influence,” said a Republican consultant, who requested anonymity to speak freely. “If you had somewhat of a national name on there, that would be very different than just an essentially what is an anonymous Republican.”

Despite its struggles to attract a candidate for a third-party run, No Labels is pushing forward. After a closed-door vote last week, delegates for the group decided to continue its quest for a unity presidential ticket.

No Labels announced the Country Over Party Committee late Thursday night that will select a presidential candidate for the group. Lieberman said an announcement on a candidate could come as early as March 21.

The announcement comes as the third party’s national co-chairman, Pat McCrory, is resigning from the organization.

Jay Townsend, a political consultant based in New York City, was blunt in his assessment of No Labels’s 2024 efforts.

“My impression at this point is that No Labels is having trouble telling the time of day. They don’t have a candidate,” Townsend said. “They’re now looking in a much lower tier of candidates that they might have run, perhaps be that Chris Christie or Liz Cheney. They’re running out of stars to put at the top of their ticket.”

Democrats have fretted over the efforts of No Labels and other third-party candidates, such as Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who could siphon enough votes away from Biden.

A newly announced super PAC, Clear Choice, aims to thwart these candidates, as will the Democratic National Committee’s just-created team involving Democratic operative Lis Smith, Mary Beth Cahill, and Ramsey Reid.

Merrill Matthews, resident scholar at the Institute for Policy Innovation, claimed that a credible No Labels candidate could hurt Biden instead of Trump.

“The way I generally put this is that Biden supporters are a mile wide and an inch deep, whereas Trump supporters are an inch wide and a mile deep,” Matthews said. “Trump supporters for the most part are very, very pro-Trump. I’ve never seen any groups sort of so strongly pro their president candidate as we’ve seen with Trump, whereas Biden has an awful lot of people who were just, ‘You know, he’s not Donald Trump, so I’m voting for him.’ And he could lose those votes fairly easily.”

A RealClearPolitics poll average shows Trump leading Biden in matchups by 2.1 percentage points.

Matthews also warned that if the group costs Biden or Trump enough votes in the general election, it could lead to another election cycle of election denialism. No Labels is on the ballot in 16 states and is securing ballot access in 33 states.

“The worst thing here is if you have a third party ends up winning two or three of the swing states and either Trump or Biden feels like that cost them the election. You might have election deniers on both sides,” Matthews said.

And until a candidate is announced who could credibly compete against Biden and Trump, the strategists are unimpressed.

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“I think it’s really too early to say this is going to help Biden or hurt Trump or vice versa,” the Republican consultant said. “There’s so many other factors that go into this equation before you can really game this out.”

“I think they should quit talking until they’ve made some real decisions and have a party platform to put on the ballot,” Townsend said.



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