Two groups aligned with the Democratic Party are pressuring elected officials to denounce any potential third-party presidential campaign by the centrist No Labels movement.
On Tuesday, the Democratically-aligned MoveOn and Third Way began circulating a pledge denouncing No Labels, seeking signatures from elected officials. The pledge raises concerns that a third-party campaign led by No Labels will only split the Democratic vote in the 2024 election to the benefit of the Republican Party.
“We, the undersigned elected officials, recognizing the urgent and unique threat to democracy in the form of right-wing extremism on the ballot in 2024, call on No Labels to halt their irresponsible efforts to launch a third-party candidacy,” the pledge leads. “Their candidate cannot win, but they can and would serve as a spoiler that could return someone like Donald Trump to office. I, therefore, commit to opposing a No Labels third-party ticket in 2024 for the good of the country.”
MoveOn describes itself as a politically progressive public policy advocacy group, while the Third Way describes itself as promoting center-left ideas.
The pledge from the two left-leaning organizations comes about as incumbent Democratic President Joe Biden has seen polls indicating low approval ratings and large sections of the voting public who don’t want him to run again in 2024. An April Associated Press-NORC poll found 26 percent of all respondents and 47 percent of Democratic voters wanted to see Mr. Biden run again in 2024. According to a polling analysis last month, Mr. Biden’s approval rating dipped to the lowest point for any presidency in 70 years.
Mr. Biden has also seen primary challenges from Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Marianne Williamson. Left-wing political commentator Cornel West has also launched his own third-party run with the People’s Party, heightening concerns of division within the Democratic voting block.
The pledge also comes about as No Labels has spoken openly about running a third-party candidate in 2024. Last month Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) gave a keynote address at a No Labels town-hall-style event. Mr. Manchin’s appearance came about as his voting record has frequently broken with other Democrats in the Senate. Mr. Manchin has been rumored to be considering a presidential run, but neither confirmed nor denied such an effort at the No Labels event.
While Third Way describes itself as center left, it has shared specific statements in opposition to Mr. Manchin, a moderate Democrat, running under the No Labels ticket. Third Way had once named Mr. Manchin as an honorary senate chair for the organization, saying he had “a proven track record of working across the aisle to get results and advance pragmatic, commonsense solutions.”
Skepticism of the No Labels Party
MoveOn and Third Way have been raising skepticism of the No Labels movement for months. No Labels has attracted support from and has endorsed political figures from both the Republican and Democratic parties, but the funding it has taken from donors who typically favor Republicans has been met with scrutiny by left-leaning organizations and publications.
Currently, No Labels has been working to register as its own party and gain ballot access across states throughout the country ahead of the 2024 election.
In May, Democratic Maine Secretary of State Shenna Bellows sent a cease-and-desist letter (pdf) to No Labels, alleging the group deceived voters into changing their voter affiliations to the No Labels when voters instead thought they were simply signing a petition. Ms. Bellows also sent letters (pdf) to voters who had signed on with No Labels, questioning whether they actually intended to sign on with No Labels as it seeks to register as a party in Maine.
Former Democratic Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman—a supporter of No Labels—criticized Ms. Bellows’ actions, saying she cast aspersions on the No Labels movement’s efforts to gain ballot access in Maine and her letters to voters “unnecessarily intimidated” them.
“No Labels gave detailed written guidance to all our organizers and volunteers in Maine on following all the laws,” Mr. Leiberman said in defense of No Label’s voter registration efforts. “The form they used was provided by the state and featured ‘MAINE VOTER REGISTRATION APPLICATION’ at the top in all-capital bold letters.”
Mr. Leiberman also wrote that No Labels had asked Ms. Bellows to elaborate on the alleged instances of deceptive voter registrations but that she did not respond.
In June, MoveOn sent letters to secretaries of state in all 50 states, citing Ms. Bellows’ cease and desist letter and urging the other election officials to similarly scrutinize No Labels.
“Reports that No Labels is misleading voters and potentially violating election laws, are deeply concerning and call into question the group’s entire operation,” MoveOn Political Action Executive Director Rahna Epting said in a June 28 statement. “We urge election officials in every state to ensure voters are protected from No Label’s deception. No Labels should practice what they preach about uniting the country, stop misleading voters, and end their ill-advised and dangerous dark-money-funded third-party ticket.”
In turn, No Labels issued their own letters to the various secretaries of state, accusing MoveOn of making false claims about their efforts to gain ballot access throughout the country.
“They are trying to enlist you and other Secretaries of State in their partisan attacks. They are asking you to violate your obligation to ensure ballot access and join their efforts to suppress voter choice in your state,” No Labels wrote, according to a copy of their letter obtained by The Hill.
NTD News reached out to No Labels about the recent petition from MoveOn and Third Way but did not receive a response by the time this article was published.
MoveOn and Third Way also did not respond for comment by the time this article was published.