Labeling the Third-Party Movement

Happy Tuesday! Let’s set the record straight: The 2026 Men’s FIFA World Cup final will take place in New Jersey, not New York. For Manhattanites looking to make the trek out to see the game, we know a guy who can show you the way.

Quick Hits: Today’s Top Stories

  • The Iran-backed Islamic Resistance in Iraq claimed responsibility for an attack near a U.S. base in Syria on Monday that killed six members of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a U.S.-allied militia. The SDF reported that a drone struck a training facility at the al-Omar base, the first major attack from an Iranian proxy since the U.S.’s counterstrikes in the region over the weekend. No Americans were killed in Monday’s attacks.
  • U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres appointed a panel on Monday to investigate the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) following reporting that a dozen staff members in Gaza were involved in Hamas’ October 7 terrorist attack in Israel. The independent review group, led by former French Minister of Foreign Affairs Catherine Colonna, will assess whether UNRWA is working to “ensure neutrality and to respond to allegations of serious breaches” related to its work in Gaza. Israel has alleged that 10 percent of the agency’s staff is tied to Hamas.
  • Members of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s Fidesz party on Monday boycotted a parliamentary session in which a vote was scheduled to ratify Sweden’s accession to NATO, further stalling the Nordic country’s entrance into the alliance. The ruling party has delayed Sweden’s NATO bid since the summer of 2022, and Hungary now stands alone in preventing Sweden’s membership after Turkey’s January approval.
  • House Speaker Mike Johnson, Majority Leader Steve Scalise, Majority Whip Tom Emmer, and Republican Conference Chairwoman Elise Stefanik released a statement on Monday explicitly denouncing the Senate’s bipartisan immigration bill, declaring the legislation “DEAD on arrival in the House” and warning that “America’s sovereignty is at stake.” Multiple Senate Republicans—including John Cornyn of Texas and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina—expressed their concern with the bill Monday, and Sen. Steve Daines of Montana indicated he would vote against the measure. Former President Donald Trump also panned the potential legislative deal in a post on Truth Social. “Only a fool, or a Radical Left Democrat, would vote for this horrendous Border Bill, which only gives Shutdown Authority after 5000 Encounters a day, when we already have the right to CLOSE THE BORDER NOW, which must be done,” he wrote. “This Bill is a great gift to the Democrats, and a Death Wish for The Republican Party.” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on Monday reportedly recommended his party vote against advancing the compromise bill, citing the political mood in the country.
  • Rep. Victoria Spartz, a Republican from Indiana, announced on Monday that she will run for reelection to the House of Representatives, reversing her previous decision to retire. “Earlier last year, I decided to take some time off from running for public office to recharge and spend more time in Indiana with my family,” Spartz said in a statement. “However, looking where we are today, and urged by many of my constituents, I do not believe I would be able to deliver this Congress, with the current failed leadership in Washington, D.C., on the important issues for our nation that I have worked very hard on.”
  • Buckingham Palace announced Monday that King Charles has been diagnosed with a form of cancer, discovered during a recent procedure for a benign enlarged prostate. The king began treatments Monday and has postponed public duties while undergoing care. King Charles “remains wholly positive about his treatment and looks forward to returning to full public duty as soon as possible,” the Monday statement read. “His Majesty has chosen to share his diagnosis to prevent speculation and in the hope it may assist public understanding for all those around the world who are affected by cancer.”
  • Country singer Toby Keith died on Monday, according to a statement from his representatives, after a months-long battle with stomach cancer. The artist behind songs like “Should’ve Been a Cowboy,” “Made in America,” and “Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue” was 62 years old.

No Labels, No Problems

The launch of the unaffiliated political organization known as No Labels at Columbia University in New York City on December 13, 2010. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

In 2020, the San Francisco 49ers faced the Kansas City Chiefs as then-President Donald Trump and then-former Vice President Joe Biden geared up for a high-stakes presidential campaign. Four years later, we’re looking at a double rematch. But lurking on the sidelines this time is No Labels—a group that can’t do anything about the Super Bowl rerun but is aiming to upset the Republican and Democratic dynasties and their deeply despised candidates.

Third-party presidential candidates historically have had terrible odds, but No Labels isn’t the typical third-party effort of recent years (e.g., the Green Party). Nor is it an attempt, à la Evan McMullin in 2016, to deny the two party candidates a victory in the Electoral College and throw the election to the House of Representatives (although some No Labels opponents would argue otherwise). Founded in 2010 to encourage more bipartisanship and common-sense policy making, the group says 2024 may get weird enough for a non-major-party candidate to win: If—and only if—polling shows a path for a successful independent bid, the group will field a unity ticket likely consisting of a centrist Republican and Democrat.

The group’s theory of victory hinges on the fact that Biden and Trump are incredibly unpopular. A January NewsNation/Decision Desk HQ poll found that 59 percent of respondents were not enthusiastic about a Trump-Biden rematch. What’s more, 63 percent of American adults believe that the Republican and Democratic parties do such a poor job of representing the American people that a third major party is needed, according to an October 2023 Gallup poll—the highest level since Gallup began asking the question. No Labels itself has conducted extensive polling and modeling that show, at least on paper, an opening for a centrist ticket. The group commissioned a December 2022 national poll in which 59 percent of respondents said they’d be open to voting for a “moderate independent” for president if the alternatives were Trump and Biden. A similar poll in eight battleground states released last summer found that even more voters would consider such a candidate.  

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