In a recent meet-and-greet event in New Hampshire, Rep. Dean Phillips (D-Minn.), a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, addressed the possibility of mounting a third-party bid under the banner of the centrist group, No Labels. Phillips refused to rule out the option, stating that he would do anything it takes to prevent former President Donald Trump from winning again if the data supports it. He also mentioned the prospect of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) using unfair tactics to prevent fair competition in the presidential primary as a factor in considering a third-party bid. Phillips expressed concern over the DNC's practices, which he deemed as anti-democratic, despicable, and possibly even illegal.
Phillips, a member of No Labels' moderate, bipartisan bloc in Congress called the Problem Solvers Caucus, has strong ties to the group. No Labels has faced criticism from Democrats across the spectrum, including the moderate group Third Way, who argue that a third-party candidacy would threaten President Joe Biden's chances of winning. Critics believe that a moderate compromise candidate would take more votes from Biden than from Trump, who already has a loyal following and little support from moderate voters.
No Labels is currently struggling to obtain ballot access in all 50 states. Last week, the group asked the Department of Justice to investigate Democrats' alleged interference with its efforts. Former Sen. Joe Lieberman, the group's founding chairman, also mentioned the possibility of nominating former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley as their presidential candidate if she falls short in her bid for the Republican nomination. However, Haley's campaign promptly dismissed the idea, stating that she has no interest in No Labels.
Phillips reassured his audience that No Labels would only activate if Biden and Trump were the major parties' respective nominees. He emphasized that voting for him would end the conversation about a third-party candidacy. A recent poll showed Phillips trailing Biden in the Democratic primary, but it did not account for the difficulty of writing Biden's name in on the ballot.