Manchin and Huntsman team up to talk platform for No Labels 'unity' ticket that could run in 2024

No Labels is unveiling its policies in New Hampshire.

ByKelsey Walsh ABCNews logo
Monday, July 17, 2023
No Labels prepares independent White House bid as an insurance policy
Over the weekend, No Labels released a policy manual called Common Sense which serves as the party's platform.

No Labels, the third-party bipartisan group that is considering launching a "unity" campaign in the 2024 presidential race, on Monday will host a major event to discuss its platform -- and will be joined by two notable politicians from across the aisle.

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr., a Republican, will speak at the group's "Common Sense town hall" at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire.

The event is being described as the first public opportunity to highlight the group's policies.

Manchin and Huntsman foreshadow what a potential No Labels ticket could look like next year (and Manchin has conspicuously not closed the door to running for president). However, Monday's event is not the debut of No Labels ticket, and the group hopes that any candidates chosen would conform to their new platform.

Over the weekend, No Labels released a policy manual called Common Sense which serves as the party's platform and draws direct contrasts with president Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump, who could be the Democratic and Republican nominees next year.

The booklet was released in hopes that the ideas will help popularize a centrist third-party White House run.

"We see our two major political parties dominated by angry and extremist voices driven by ideology and identity politics rather than what's best for our country," the introduction to the platform argues.

The 30 policy ideas outlined in the manual are organized into 10 categories, offering brief solutions to issues regarding Social Security, the national debt, abortion access, guns, education and more.

Joe Lieberman and Doug Jones debate impact of third party candidates

Former Democratic Senators Joe Lieberman and Doug Jones debate the impact of a third party candidate on the presidential election.

The proposals include universal background checks for gun purchases, limits -- but not bans -- on abortion and securing the southern border while protecting so-called "Dreamers," or young immigrants who were illegally brought to the country as children.

The manual takes its name from Thomas Paine's famed Revolutionary War-era pamphlet, with No Labels describing their version as "optimistic" and a "triumphant voice of America's commonsense majority."

"The goal is to kickstart a very long overdue national conversation about how we start to solve the problems most Americans actually care about," No Labels chief strategist Ryan Clancy said.

At Monday's town hall, Manchin and Huntsman are expected to discuss issues from the policy manual as well as their own histories.

No Labels intends to schedule a yearlong tour, with Monday as the first stop and more speakers to come.

While the group sees its pitch as designed to attract moderate Democrats and Republicans, it has also attracted criticism from figures in both parties who say it has no legitimate shot at third-party success and could instead serve as a "spoiler" in the race by peeling off voters from another candidate.

"There is no way on God's green earth that they can get to 270 electoral votes," former Sen. Doug Jones, an Alabama Democrat and staunch Biden ally who has joined a group to counter No Labels, said Sunday on ABC's "This Week."

Former Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman, a Democrat-turned-independent and the founding chair of No Labels, appeared on "This Week" with Jones and took another view. "The problem is the American people are not buying what the two parties are selling anymore. And I think the parties would be wiser to think about that," he said.

"We've been very explicit ... If the polling next year shows, after the two parties have chosen their nominees, that, in fact, we will help elect one or another candidate, we're not going to get involved," Lieberman said.

No Label's work on a potential ticket has included conducting polls and running models across the country while attempting to gain nationwide ballot access, where they have so far been successful in five states.

Greg Schneiders, who worked as President Jimmy Carter's deputy assistant for communications and founded the Prime Group, a research firm, has conducted polling for the anti-No Labels group that includes Jones.

Schneider maintains that their plan is "fantastical and not credible."

"No third-party candidate in recent history, or perhaps any history of third-party candidates, has improved their standing once they went from kind of being the generic option to being a particular individual," he said.