The No Labels Party’s Radical New Plan to Force a Contingent Election
Since they launched their third-party presidential effort last year, the No Labels Party has repeated a central refrain: “our bipartisan ticket, led either by a Democrat or a Republican, will not be a spoiler—we are in this to win.” But that has now changed. No Labels has made clear that their new plan is to put a Republican at the top of their ticket. And because they can’t win the presidency outright, they’ve indicated that their intention now is to exercise leverage over the winner by denying both major parties 270 Electoral College Votes (ECVs). That radical new plan would ensure a second Trump term.
None of this is speculation. No Labels put out a chart based on their new polling that shows their candidate (from either party) can’t win and would be a spoiler helping Trump. The New York Times reported they are intending to nominate a Republican. And their Chief Strategist said in an interview (supported by a No Labels explainer) that they are interested in denying the major party candidates 270 ECVs, thereby throwing the election to the House of Representatives.
Here's the evidence—based entirely on things No Labels has written and said—of their radical shift in strategy and the dire consequences for the country. This is a new path for their third-party effort, but the destination would be the same: the election of Donald Trump.
Their Bid Blocks Biden from Winning
- No Labels’ poll shows that Biden is in the driver’s seat in a close two-way race. Their data has Biden ahead in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Nevada, and North Carolina within the margin of error, indicating a tight but winnable race, especially over a year out. If Trump won the other states on the chart and the non-battlegrounds remained the same as 2020, Biden would win 282 electoral votes and the White House.
- Their data shows No Labels spoils the election and helps Trump win. Whether a Democrat or Republican tops a No Labels ticket, Donald Trump wins – but in different ways. When a Democrat is at the top, No Labels throws seven battleground states to Trump. With a Republican leading their ticket, No Labels prevents Biden from winning any battleground outside of Pennsylvania, while Trump wins three battlegrounds and nearly reaches 270 ECVs. In this scenario, No Labels believes their GOP-led, third-party ticket wins a handful of electoral votes. Thus, no candidate has the requisite 270 ECVs to claim the presidency outright.
They Intend to Pick a Republican
- No Labels is telling people that’s their intention. The NY Times reported that CEO Nancy Jacobson “has told potential donors and allies that the No Labels candidate will be a moderate Republican, according to three people familiar with the conversations.”
- Their data makes it obvious. No Labels is telegraphing this decision with their chart, which shows Trump rolls to victory in the battlegrounds with a third-party ticket helmed by a Democrat.
They are Planning on Triggering a Contingent Election
- Their data makes clear No Labels cannot win 270 electoral votes. Their map to 270 has always been preposterous, and their new chart demonstrates, however unintentionally, that they can’t do it. If they are unable to win swing states decided by less than two points in 2020, they obviously cannot win states Biden won by 10 to 3o points in 2020 such as Delaware (Biden +19) or Illinois (Biden +17). Nor can they win deep-red Trump states, like Missouri (Trump +15) or Tennessee (Trump +23).
- Since No Labels cannot win, they are seeking to trigger a contingent election. Their chief strategist has said publicly they are preparing for a contingent election in which they try to win a few states and deny Trump and Biden 270 electoral votes. This, No Labels believes, would give them leverage to cut a deal by promising their electors’ support to whichever major party candidate they deem more worthy.
- A contingent election in the House would create chaos. In the wake of the Big Lie and the January 6th insurrection, the danger of a scheme designed to pressure faithless electors into voting as they’re instructed by a small group of elites is self-evident. Moreover, it would almost certainly trigger a 12th Amendment provision whereby the new president would be chosen by the new House, voting by delegation.
- A delegation vote would elect Trump. Currently, Democrats control 22 delegations and Republicans control 26. Democrats haven’t held a majority of delegations since the 2008 election. Even if House Democrats do extremely well in 2024 and regain the majority in the House, they will not control a majority of delegations. After districts are once again redrawn in 2024, it will be all but impossible for Democrats to win 26 state delegations, even under the most favorable circumstances. On top of flipping red districts in four states, which is unlikely, Democrats would have to hold their delegations in six more where the margins are ultra slim (AK, MI, NV, NH, PA, VA). That is not going to happen.
To be clear, No Labels’ polling seems to fall somewhere between unreliable and fixed, as even a former HarrisX employee has said “there’s a reason they don’t detail their methodology and you shouldn’t trust a single thing they release.” So, one can safely assume that these figures are the very best case that No Labels can make for their GOP-led ticket. Their own data demolishes their founding premise that a unity ticket, drawn from either party, would win 270 ECVs.
No Labels’ new direction is even more dangerous and divisive than their original scheme. No one who cares about defeating Trump and defending our democracy should have anything to do with it. We urge the No Labels Party to stand down.