Nancy Pelosi Targets No Labels’ Third-Party Presidential Ambitions

3 November 2023
Tracy Park

In a significant public stand, Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi vehemently voiced her concerns regarding the centrist group No Labels’ aspiration for a third-party presidential bid. Speaking at a breakfast event orchestrated by Democratic-centrist assembly Third Way, Pelosi termed the intentions of No Labels as “perilous to our democracy.”

Drawing attention to the name of the group, Pelosi quipped, “They indeed have labels: no taxes for the affluent, no child tax benefits, and attempts to dismantle the Affordable Care Act.” She also highlighted her previous indifference towards No Labels, even when she was in their crosshairs as the Speaker of the House. However, the impending 2024 elections have made her reconsider her stance. She voiced her concerns about the group’s potential to endanger President Joe Biden’s reelection.

Countering Pelosi’s statements, Larry Hogan, No Labels national co-chair and former Governor of Maryland, accused her of misconstruing the group’s positions for her political gains. He emphasized that No Labels never embraced the views Pelosi mentioned.

The core proposition of No Labels, currently functioning as a donor-concealed nonprofit, revolves around a unity ticket. This ticket aims to have a joint leadership of a Republican and a Democrat. The organization believes that the existing atmosphere, marked by diminished popularity of both President Joe Biden and ex-President Donald Trump, fosters a unique inclination towards a third-party candidate. Pelosi, however, remains skeptical, expressing confidence in voters rallying behind Biden once he’s more active on the campaign trail.

Fueling concerns of organizations like Third Way is the apprehension that a marginally successful third-party contender could skew the electoral college votes. Such a scenario could lead to neither of the major party nominees obtaining the requisite majority to clinch the presidency. The implications are profound; the presidential election’s fate could be sealed by congressional delegations, where Republicans currently hold an edge.

Ryan Clancy, No Labels chief strategist, communicated that while they’re gearing up for such an outcome, the organization won’t endorse a ticket unless they believe it can secure an outright win.

The discourse has also witnessed participation from other quarters. During a debate organized under the Open to Debate banner, Rahna Epting, the executive director of progressive faction MoveOn Political Action, confronted No Labels about their current nonprofit status and donor confidentiality, emphasizing the need for transparency. Ryan Clancy defended, arguing that such critiques are mere smear tactics.

Initiated in 2010 with a vision to champion bipartisan collaboration, No Labels is under fire, especially from Democrats who view its third-party bid skeptically. This suspicion has grown stronger with reports suggesting No Labels’ inclination to lead the 2024 presidential ticket with a moderate Republican. Pelosi’s reservations echo those of former House Democratic Leader Dick Gephardt, who has even initiated a super PAC specifically to counteract No Labels.

The shifting landscape of 2024, with formidable players like Robert F. Kennedy Jr. emerging as independent candidates, renders the political dynamics even more intricate. Pelosi remains convinced of the group’s conservative underpinnings, concealed under a nonpartisan façade. No Labels, in its defense, cites its bipartisan track record and diverse leadership.