Remember that sinking feeling when you realized Woody Allen wasn’t the lovable loser you thought he was? Well, get ready for another rude awakening.
What’s The Issue: No Labels, the so-called “unity ticket” third-party group, is funded by dark money with deep ties to corporate interests. It may play the role of spoiler in 2024.
Fill Me In: No Labels claims to be trying to prevent another Trump presidency, but their actions suggest otherwise. The group says it’s not interested in running a presidential campaign. However, check out some of the ways they are moving forward. They are raising $70 million to gather signatures and qualify for the ballot in 2024. In an interview with NYT’s columnist David Brooks, No Labels raised over $46M as of September 2022. The organization is setting Senator Joe Manchin up to run for President on its platform. In Arizona, No Labels could offer political party-less U.S. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ) a new platform for her seat. And so far, No Labels has gained access to the ballot in Arizona, Colorado, Alaska and Oregon. The drive is now targeting Florida, Nevada and North Carolina. The silver lining – if there is one- is that both moderate Republicans and Democrats alike are concerned that No Labels could be a spoiler — especially as polls have shown low poll numbers for President Biden and former President Donald Trump. Democrats, in particular, have warned that a third-party bid would actually help elect Trump to another term. Recently, Third Way, a centrist Think Tank, has come out against No Labels and has written a strong memo, The No Labels Third-Party Bid: A plan that will Re-elect Trump, that besides its catchy title, lays out clearly what could happen if No Labels runs a Third Party candidate. In fact, quite a few moderate elected officials, who might have supported a No Labels candidate in another time, now see any scenario as dangerous and anti-democratic.
“No Labels is wasting time, energy, and money on a bizarre effort that confuses and divides voters, and has one obvious outcome — reelecting Donald Trump as President.”Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-Va.)
Why It Matters: The concern for a “spoiler” is a real threat. Just consider the elections where Third-Party candidates have taken just enough Democrat votes to determine the Presidential election in 2000 (Al Gore) and 2016 (Hillary Clinton). Republicans say the same thing about Ross Perot’s role in blocking George H.W. Bush’s re-election in 1992. No Labels is setting itself up to play spoiler. It has raised or received commitments for tens of millions of dollars for its “unity” ticket that it is considering running next year, if it deems both the Democratic and Republican presidential candidates to be too extreme. The real question to ask is who is funding this Third Party run? As a tax-exempt nonprofit, No Labels does not have to disclose their funding sources. However, investigations in the past, appears to show that No Labels is influenced by pro-corporate donors, which include Clarence Thomas’s benefactor Harlan Crow. In 2018, it was uncovered that No Labels had solicited funds from major right-wing donors, including the Koch brothers and Peter Thiel. Clearly, the lack of transparency of its funders raises many questions as to who is backing the organization and this should concern any one who cares about protecting our democracy.
“If No Labels runs a Joe Manchin against Donald Trump and Joe Biden, I think it will be a historic disaster, and I speak for just about every moderate Democrat and frankly most of my moderate Republican friends.” Representative Dean Phillips (D-MN)
How We Can Take Action: Spread the word about (No!) No Labels and support the fight against dark money in politics. It’s time to expose No Labels for what it really is: a wolf in sheep’s clothing.