How Much Money Does It Take To Be a Presidential Spoiler?
No Labels is spearheading a $70 million project that will very likely lead to Donald Trump’s re-election in 2024 if it succeeds. No Labels’ own polling has shown that their party’s candidate will lead to a Trump+5 national victory in a three-way race.
In a historical context, $70 million is an unprecedented amount of money for a third-party to raise in modern presidential campaigns. It certainly is more than enough to spoil Joe Biden’s re-election, because, as it turns out, it doesn’t take a treasure chest of resources to siphon off a sliver of the electorate and be a spoiler candidate.
In 2016, Jill Stein spent a mere $3.5 million in her presidential bid leading up to election day (or $4.4 million in 2022 dollars) and captured 1.4 million votes nationwide—the equivalent of $2.46 per vote, which is just about the most bang for a candidate’s buck of any third-party presidential candidate in recent election cycles.
With those limited resources, Jill Stein managed to siphon off more votes in each of the three rust belt battleground states than the margin by which Donald Trump won by in 2016. Trump won Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania by 77,000 votes, yet Stein managed to capture 132,000 votes across these three states.
By comparison, Gary Johnson spent $11.9 million in 2016 and spent $2.66 per vote—Johnson managed to win 425,000 votes across the three rust belt battleground states.
If No Labels has indeed raised $70 million in seed money to put up a presidential ticket at a nominating convention, they will have amassed 20 times as much money as Jill Stein spent in 2016 and six times as much as Gary Johnson–more than enough money to slice off as much of the vote as Jill Stein and Gary Johnson did in 2016, if not more. And the likelihood of No Labels raising even more money after their upcoming April 2024 convention, where they will announce their “unity” ticket, is extremely high.