Exploring the impact, risks, and opportunities of a third-party challenge in 2024
By Lorne Davis
No Labels announced several months ago that they are seriously looking at running a "Unity Ticket" (a Republican and a Democrat for President and Vice President) in 2024. No Labels has conducted extensive polling that indicates the appetite for a third party is greater now than ever, and a third-party win for President could be a reality.
In fact, a Gallup survey earlier this month shows that those who identify as Independents are now at 43%, while the Republicans and Democrats are tied at 27%. In a three-way race for President, the winner could walk away with only mid-30s percent of the vote.
No Labels plans on finalizing their intentions – to run or not to run – by the end of March, and if running, to choose their ticket around the same time.
The last time a candidate other than a Democrat or a Republican won the presidency was in 1850! So why do we care? Why should we take this run seriously?
According to the polling aggregation site FiveThirtyEight, Joe Biden’s favorability is under 40%, Donald Trump’s in the very low 40s. Few voters want to see this matchup again. Their parties don’t poll much better. If an independent run for the Presidency even came close to winning - let’s say won 20% or more of the electorate – it would validate independent party efforts at all levels – Federal, State, and Local. That is the biggest reason we at the North Carolina Forward Party should care.
Interest in running for independent parties would naturally go up. Consideration for voting for independent parties would become serious and real, not to mention donating to and volunteering for those parties would increase – leveling the playing field at least a bit. The NC Forward Party would likely contest a lot more races up and down the ballot...and WIN some! That 'gravity' would pull even more support, leading to a greater presence and more wins over time.
Now, there are valid concerns that an independent run, like No Labels, for President could act as a spoiler. Many, particularly Democrats, are concerned that No Labels could ultimately help Donald Trump become president again with the controversy and potentially serious risks that come with him. It is a tough personal call.
For me, I have been looking for a viable third party for a long time. I have been a member of No Labels for 10 years (in fact, I will be an NC No Labels elector) and have asked over the years why they don’t consider contesting races for office. It was natural for me to join the North Carolina Forward Party early on – I did it in August 2022. We need vibrant third parties that better represent our interests – our current political environment (some would say "mess") is a testament to that.
So, to quote Michael Smerconish of the Sirius/XM POTUS channel and CNN, "if not now, when"?
Lorne Davis serves on the North Carolina Forward Party Executive Committee and as Treasurer. Click HERE to read his bio.