Tue. Apr 23rd, 2024

Potential 2024 candidates keep telling it no. But No Labels is pressing forward.

By 37ci3 Mar19,2024


No Labels is still working on finding its coveted third-party presidential ticket for 2024 — but there’s a problem: It keeps getting rejected.

The deep-pocketed centrist group once envisioned strong public competition to join its ticket, which it plans to put on the ballot in all 50 states. Instead, it was rejected by at least a dozen prominent figures from across the ideological spectrum, and has so far been granted access to the ballot in only 17 states. said It hoped to be on 27 state ballots by the end of last year.

Among the Republicans who said no after the group’s approach: former Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney, former Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, former Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels and New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu, according to public statements and sources familiar with their responses. The group was still trying to get Sunuu on the ticket for the past two weeks as Sunuu, an outspoken critic of former President Donald Trump, went after the presumptive GOP nominee, Trump.

No Labels has also made it clear that it is interested in former UN ambassador Nikki Haley, who has publicly ruled out any possibility of running on a third-party ticket. interview earlier this month.

On the Democratic side, Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick rejected No Labels’ pleas, as did Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, a Democratic independent. The group also engaged former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.

Photo: Sen. Joe Manchin III headlines in New Hampshire with no tags
Sen. Joe Manchin, DW.Va., right, at an event sponsored by the bipartisan group No Labels in Manchester on July 17.John Tully for The Washington Post via Getty Images file

Businessman Mark Cuban and retired Navy Adm. Prominent non-politicians such as William McRaven also did not respond to No Labels’ interest. No Labels search went far and wide – even trying to make overtures to Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.

The latest rejection on Monday came from former Georgia Lt. Geoff Duncan, an anti-Trump Republican who was reportedly being considered to lead the No Labels ticket. But Duncan This was reported by The Atlanta Journal Constitution he said he was ignoring himself to focus on “healing and improving the Republican Party.”

No Labels’ recruiting woes point to a paradox at the heart of its plans: Founder and CEO Nancy Jacobson believed she had a stronger case than anyone in the past century to create a third-party, independent presidential ticket — one that would empower the masses. Americans are disillusioned with both Trump and President Joe Biden.

However, the actual people No Labels leaders might want to wear this ticket to, have repeatedly walked away from the group, not seeing the same opportunity. Those who reject the group’s plan to nominate a ticket anyway and its insistence that there is a path to victory are slowing down, but not stopping.

“It’s Nancy’s decision and hers alone. If he wants tickets, we buy tickets,” said a source familiar with the group’s internal discussions.

No Labels did not respond to requests for comment for this article.

Downsizing plans

During the 2024 election cycle, No Labels’ ultimate goal remained unchanged – but along the way a number of big plans were scaled back.

No Labels did not plan to organize a bus tour of several potential candidates in key states this spring. The band even intended to hosts debates among these prospects looking for a chance to appear under his banner.

It had to be all it culminates in April With a major national convention in Dallas this summer that will rival the Democratic and Republican national conventions.

Jacobson allocated a multi-million dollar budget to hire a “best-in-class” production team. According to a source familiar with Jacobson’s intentions for the event, No Labels is not planning to call 2,000 “delegates” who will pay their own way to attend in person.

But last fall, the band canceled the Dallas affair.

“They knew they couldn’t get that many people,” the source said.

Instead, No Labels now plans to convene its representatives virtually via Zoom. The group says it has recruited 800 delegates from all 50 states, but it is unclear who most of those appointees are.

The group said the list includes donors and others who have expressed support for No Labels in the past, but the organization would not release their names or authorize them to speak to the media.

Last week, No Labels announced a new step in its selection process: a “party over country” committee aimed at vetting potential candidates. But the names of most of the participants are kept secret.

Secrecy has been a feature of all of No Labels’ presidential efforts, frustrating some allies and angry critics who have called for the group to disclose its donors and be more transparent about the selection process.

Internally, Jacobson instituted strict adherence to nondisclosure agreements, preventing employees and others associated with the group from openly discussing their experiences with No Labels.

“You’re constantly being asked to sign NDAs at that organization,” said one person, who spoke on condition of anonymity, referring to agreements that prohibit going on the record to speak candidly.

A series of departures

No Labels’ push for 2024 also coincided with a group of staff and supporters leaving the organization over concerns about its governance and political viability.

Over the past year, No Labels has lost its vice president, two vice presidents, two national co-chairs, its head of digital operations, director of its political field program, and more.

Most recently, former co-chairman Pat McCrory, a former Republican governor of North Carolina, abruptly resigned from No Labels this month after defending the group in national television interviews.

“If they get that ticket, I still believe they have a chance to win it. If they don’t do it, we shouldn’t do it,” McCrory, who supports No Labels, said in an interview. “It’s a start-up operation, and the cynicism — the people who say it’s not going to work — are the ones fighting to make it work.”

William Galston, an academic and political operative who helped Jacobson start No Labels in 2010, left the organization last April because of his opposition to the presidential ticket operation.

“I do not question the motives, patriotism or integrity of anyone involved in this endeavor.” Galston told NBC News last summer. “My opposition is a matter of simple political analysis. I believe there is a gap between what No Labels wants to do and what their efforts will actually achieve.”

Galston, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution who worked in the Clinton White House, said he feared the No Labels effort would end up being a spoiler for Trump.

“I can’t see a serious possibility of an independent, bipartisan, centrist, third-party ticket succeeding and winning the presidency,” Galston, a Democrat, said. “I’m afraid that, despite his intentions to the contrary, if this continues, it will end up helping Donald Trump.”

Changing goals

In the interview last summer, Jacobson repeatedly argued that the No Labels ticket could win the presidency outright. “The only reason to do it is to win,” he said.

But by December, there was a group expectations began to changesuggests that a “conditional election” could be a possible outcome.

In this scenario, the No Labels ticket would capture some states and their Electoral College votes, preventing both Biden and Trump from getting the Electoral College majorities needed to win and send the election to the House. No Labels leadership said this would either lead to their ticket being elected by Congress or bartering concessions with Trump or Biden in exchange for Electoral College votes won by the No Labels ticket.

Critics criticized this script that has not been played in 200 yearsas potentially dangerous, not imaginary.

“I think he’s in the box,” said anti-Trump Republican strategist Rick Wilson, co-founder of the Lincoln Project, of the current status of Jacobson and No Labels.

Wilson called Jacobson “a world-class salesman” and noted that his group and he share some donors, which is why he was initially interested in his pitch.

But he and other Lincoln Project officials were more confused than last year’s briefing because, he said, officials couldn’t tell a reliable way to the 270 electoral votes.

“I’ve been in politics for a long time and I’ve never had to deal with lying and self-deception on this scale,” he said. “It was all based on lies he told himself and what he told others.”

Other critics have disputed the numbers No Labels cites to dispute its claim about the credibility of the election.

No Labels consistently turned to a survey firm to do this: HarrisX, whose parent company is owned by Jacobson’s husband, Mark Penn. Dritan Nesho, Penn’s longtime deputy, has been on and off described As chief interrogator of No Labels.

“Poll after poll shows No Labels has no way to the White House, but they will be spoilers in favor of Donald Trump,” said Lucy Caldwell, a political strategist who is Republican Joe Walsh’s 2020 campaign manager. A major effort against Trump. He added: “You have a situation where No Labels announces this decision in 2024 but doesn’t make it public. [all] the data they rely on to get there, and that’s because the data isn’t there.

Joel Searby, the longtime (and now former) Republican political strategist who, along with Wilson and former Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol, led a serious effort to recruit potential candidates for a third-party ticket, says No Labels is likely to be tight offered to meet. pressure from the most important financial backers.

“We tried to find people in 2016, and I’m guessing they have a similar problem: You probably have a few donors who signed a bold union ticket. If they don’t have that, it’s going to take a lot of wind out of their sails on the financial side,” Searby said. His 2016 effort ultimately led to former congressional staffer and CIA agent Evan McMullin, whose independent presidential campaign qualified for the ballot in 11 states.

“If they come in with a recently retired senator or governor and act like it’s going to be a game-changer, you’re going to have some donors who say, ‘This is not what we signed up for,'” Searby said.

Still, No Labels marches on. Over the weekend, he declared himself eligible for the ballot in another state. It created a political action committee called TeamUnity2024 last month, according to the Federal Election Commission. The website’s landing page explains to potential donors that all money raised in the fund will go to No Labels candidates if and when the ticket is selected. But there is a catch.

“Your contribution will be refunded if the Unlabelled Candidate is not nominated at the Convention,” the site says.



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