No Labels Will Decide on the 2024 Election on March 8

Bill Livingood

Illustration: CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Imag

After months of suspense of whether No Labels might run an independent candidate for president, frightening Democrats who in particular fear such an effort would doom Joe Biden against Donald Trump, a senior official tells me the group will make a formal decision next week.

“No Labels has said for months that our movement plans to regroup shortly after Super Tuesday to evaluate whether we should offer our ballot line to a Unity presidential ticket – and that remains the plan,” the official said. “On March 8, we will gather our 800 delegates from all 50 states – who would ultimately approve a final Unity ticket – to discuss and vote on whether they want us to continue moving forward.”

That decision would come after Joe Manchin and Larry Hogan declined in recent weeks to run for president, leaving the group without a clear candidate in waiting. Their convention would presumably be virtual and thus reasonably efficient (while also raising questions about whom delegates represent). The timing, however, likely reflects a moment of clarity about a candidate even more alluring than those who have said no: Super Tuesday (March 5) is the date up until which Nikki Haley has vowed to continue her doomed challenge to Donald Trump in the Republican primaries. She is going to be crushed on Super Tuesday, likely in all 16 states holding contests that day. So this would be the appropriate time for her to reconsider reciprocating the interest in her that No Labels officials have repeatedly expressed.

Haley is the one available candidate that could give No Labels the kind of instant splash the group clearly craves, along with a tangible constituency composed of Never Trump Republicans, true independents, and perhaps even some disgruntled Democrats who have bought her recent self-description as a bridge over troubled partisan waters. There are problems with her as a proto-candidate, however. The most daunting could be the possibility that “sore loser” laws in eight states could ban her from appearing on anything other than the Republican ticket in November.

But if No Labels delegates give the presidential bid a green light (and many of them are likely under a lot of pressure to bag the whole effort out of fears that it will simply help Trump) and a ticket is actually formed and deployed (the group already claims ballot access in 16 states), the already-complex and fraught general election could get very weird.

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