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President Joe Biden in Washington on June 14, 2023.
President Joe Biden in Washington on Wednesday.Andrew Caballero-Reynolds / AFP - Getty Images

No Labels vows to end presidential effort if polls show Biden 'way' ahead of Trump in spring

The group is facing strong criticism from Democrats and some other anti-Trump forces about potentially fracturing the vote against Trump in 2024.

By and

The co-chair of No Labels, the political organization trying to mount a third-party presidential campaign in 2024, vowed on Thursday to end the group’s effort if polling next spring shows President Joe Biden “way, way out ahead” of former President Donald Trump

“No Labels is not and will not be a spoiler in favor of Donald Trump in 2024,” said Dr. Ben Chavis, the Democratic co-chair of No Labels, in an interview on Thursday.

The group, which is preparing to gather next April to choose a presidential "unity ticket" that will include a Democrat and a Republican, contends that it will be able to compete in more than two dozen states if next year's general election is a Biden-Trump rematch.

However, a collection of national Democrats are wary that the presence of a No Labels ticket could shift the election in favor of Trump. No Labels disputes those assertions, and one of its co-chairs now says the group would be prepared to “stand down.”

“After Super Tuesday next year [and] before the [No Labels] convention in Dallas in April, there will be a decision,” Chavis said. 

“If we find that the polls are changed and Joe Biden is way, way out ahead, and the person who the Republicans may choose — and if they continue to choose Donald Trump, even though he’s been indicted — then No Labels will stand down,” Chavis continued. 

On Wednesday, the Washington Post detailed a meeting of dozens of Democratic strategists and other notable Trump critics focused on the potential ramifications of a No Labels ticket.

“The No Labels team is pushing the idea that Biden versus Trump is a true black swan moment and opportunity [for a third-party ticket], but no one else is seeing that,” said Lucy Caldwell, a political strategist and former Republican who was on the call. 

“There’s a growing concern among people who are concerned about democracy,” Caldwell said, asserting the No Labels ticket would boost Trump’s electoral prospects in a close race.

No Labels is promoting what would amount to a more centrist ticket. West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin has not ruled out a potential presidential run under the No Labels banner. 

“We are not the enemy,” said Chavis, who is the president of the National Newspaper Publishers Association and a longtime civil rights activist who is one of the Wilmington 10. “In fact, we support democracy. We support Democrats and Republicans working together. Who would be against bipartisanship?”

The group has already met the signature thresholds in five states to get on the presidential ballot as a new political party, and it intends to have qualified in 20 states by the end of the year. 

The group is facing a lawsuit in Arizona, however, brought by the Arizona Democratic Party, as well as criticism in Maine from elections officials expressing concern that the group is unwittingly registering voters in that state to belong to the party. 

In 2016, third-party candidates garnered significant shares of the total vote in the presidential election over Trump and Hillary Clinton, including in Arizona (6.1%), Michigan (4.7%) and Wisconsin (4.6%).