by Jennifer Bendery at huffpost.com
No Labels, the centrist political group planning to offer a bipartisan “unity ticket” for the 2024 presidential election, may not actually have a Democrat on its ticket, one of its top leaders said in a video recording of a recent event that was obtained by HuffPost.
“One of the things we’ve also gotten asked about is there’s, of course, Republicans, Democrats, there’s also independents and their presence on the ticket,” Ryan Clancy, chief strategist for No Labels, said in a Dec. 20 Zoom event titled “Common Sense Talks With Ryan Clancy.”
“And what if it’s a Republican and an independent? I think that’s certainly possible,” he said.
Clancy was responding to an attendee who raised a concern shared by many Democrats as No Labels prepares to launch a third-party presidential candidate: They will function as a spoiler, taking Democratic and independent votes away from President Joe Biden and boosting presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump.
It’s clearly a touchy subject for the group, which for much of the past year has been fending off growing fears that it would tilt the election to Trump.
“We’re not spoiling anything,” former Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon, a Democrat who joined No Labels last year to coordinate efforts to get on state ballots, told The Guardian on Saturday.
Nixon said at the Zoom event that the group has so far secured a slot for a No Labels presidential candidate on 12 of the 50 state ballots.
“Right now we’re on our way to moving forward,” he told event attendees. “And we will.”
But Clancy’s squishiness over which party or parties will even be on its ticket certainly suggests that No Labels is scrambling to figure out what, exactly, it will ultimately offer the American electorate. This comes after the group announced in November that it was abandoning its in-person presidential convention, originally set to kick off after Super Tuesday in March, and instead is opting to carry out its candidate selection process virtually, giving itself more time to sort itself out.
And amid this vague sense of movement, it was clear from the December Zoom event that even No Labels’ supporters and financial backers are worried they’ll end up helping Trump.