No Labels Response to Thomas Edsall’s New York Times Column
This week, New York Times contributing columnist Tom Edsall wrote a piece asking if No Labels had become a stalking horse for Trump. Over the past year, bad-faith actors have maliciously spread lies about No Labels’ effort to give the American people what they’re asking for in 2024: a better option. We are pleased to announce a new feature, Setting the Record Straight, correcting common misconceptions about No Labels and our mission.
Edsall sent No Labels questions for this op-ed that includes many of these misrepresentations, quoting groups with questionable histories. Here are the answers that we sent Mr. Edsall, adapted only for clarity here.
1. Is No Labels a political party? What kind of organization is it in the IRS system?
A political party committee like the Democratic National Committee or Republican National Committee:
- fields candidates up and down the ballot;
- engages in election activity year after year; and
- spends resources during the general election to help their nominees win.
No Labels, Inc. is a 501(c)(4) social welfare organization and does not do any of this.
No Labels, Inc. has and will always spend the majority of its time and resources on issue advocacy and movement-building efforts rather than elections. No Labels, Inc. is only doing ballot access work for one office and for one election. And if No Labels, Inc. does end up offering its ballot line to an independent Unity Ticket, it will not help fund or run that campaign. The law and the courts have been clear that an entity like No Labels, Inc. that is focused only on ballot access, and not on advocating for any clearly identified candidate, is not a national political party committee.
As part of its ballot access work across the country, No Labels, Inc. funds petition and registration drives, facilitates the completion of paperwork and recruits state leaders to organize state-level affiliates. In some places, the leadership of state-level affiliates register with state election officials as political party committees for ballot access purposes (e.g., No Labels Party of Arizona), but No Labels, Inc. itself does not and is not required to do so. State-level affiliates will grow and develop over time, with an initial focus on recruiting citizens to serve as presidential electors and national convention delegates.
2. How many states does it have ballot access in, and which states are they? How many does it expect to have ballot access in for the 2024 election?
The No Labels movement currently has ballot access in 12 states (Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Mississippi, Nevada, North Carolina, Oregon, South Dakota and Utah) and plans to secure ballot access in 34 states by next year. The remaining 16 states and the District of Columbia are ones that either require the candidate’s name to be listed on the petition or have requirements that are much easier for a candidate to get on the ballot through an independent petition instead of a state party being formed (for example, a much lower signature threshold). If No Labels offers its ballot line to a Unity ticket, the campaign would be responsible for getting ballot access in these final 16 states and the District of Columbia.
This would enable a Unity ticket to compete in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. It’s important to note that some states don’t even open their window to obtain 2024 ballot access until next year. So, No Labels is meeting all our ballot access goals, and we’re active in gathering petition signatures in every state where it’s allowed.
3. How many members does No Labels have? How many members pay dues and what are the dues?
No Labels, Inc. has nearly 100,000 members who either pay dues or take various actions on behalf of the organization, and we have 836,504 email subscribers.
4. Why don’t you disclose the names and amounts given by donors? You say you want to prevent harassment, but all political parties reveal their donors? Shouldn’t the financial supporters of a movement that could elect a president or significantly influence the outcome of the next election be a matter of public record?
No Labels, Inc. was launched as a 501(c)(4) 14 years ago, and we have never disclosed the individual names of our supporters because they have a right to privacy. Again, No Labels, Inc. is not a political party and we do not participate in elections, so therefore we do not have a responsibility to report our funding.
We note that if No Labels does offer our ballot line to a Unity ticket next year, that campaign will need to disclose the names of individual supporters as mandated by the Federal Elections Commission.
5. How will the No Labels presidential candidates be chosen? What are the alternatives? Have you ruled out the $100 donor proposal?
We are still determining the process for how we would select a Unity ticket.
No one will have to pay to be part of the process.
6. Who wrote the No Labels platform and how did they do so?
The No Labels Common Sense policy booklet was a comprehensive process that was led by No Labels’ chief strategist Ryan Clancy. The ideas were drawn from two years’ worth of surveys and conversations that No Labels conducted with voters to better understand the concerns and policy priorities of America’s commonsense majority.
We believe this booklet accurately represents how most Americans feel about most issues, and we believe it could provide a jumping off point for a Unity ticket policy platform.
7. How likely is it that a No Labels ticket would prevent any candidate from getting 270 Electoral College voters, thus making it a contingent election thrown into the House.
Some of No Labels’ critics have lately been spreading a false rumor that No Labels is actually planning to trigger a contingent election. This isn’t true.
We are singularly focused on getting ballot access so we can provide a choice that voters clearly want and that our major parties refuse to provide. Critics’ fear mongering about a contingent election is just a ploy to deny voters this choice.
No Labels will only offer our ballot line to a Unity ticket if we believe it has the chance to win outright in the Electoral College. We believe this is possible, as we have done extensive polling and modeling in all 50 states featuring surveys of tens of thousands of voters, with representative samples from every state. This shows a potential path to victory for a Unity ticket in 25 states, representing 286 electoral votes.
8. Does No Labels still plan on holding a nominating convention in Dallas in April 2024?
See answer to number five. We are still developing the process for selecting a Unity ticket.
Ryan Clancy is chief strategist at No Labels.