A No Label’s candidate for president on the ballot in 2024 would heal not spoil

Question: What is the largest political party in Colorado?

Most guess Republican or Democrat, but it’s actually “unaffiliated” by a mile. Unaffiliated voters number 1.7 million, compared to 957,000 Republicans and around 1 million Democrats. And Colorado isn’t unique in this regard. Nationally, there are as many independents as there are Republicans and Democrats combined, and the number is growing as more voters reject the extremism in both parties.

It should go without saying that this commonsense majority deserves to be represented in our politics, but it hasn’t been for decades — until now. A group called No Labels is fighting to give the majority a voice in 2024 by establishing a ballot line for a potential independent Unity Ticket, which would feature a Republican and Democrat together as running mates. This is a direct response to so many Americans voicing strong concerns about another term for either Trump or Biden.

Every advocate for democracy should welcome this development, but they don’t. The D.C. establishment is seething mad because a unity ticket could threaten their “chosen one” — President Joe Biden. The latest self-proclaimed savior here to rescue us is former Senator Mark Udall, who argued in this paper that voters shouldn’t be trusted with a third option because they might accidentally throw the election to former President Donald Trump. How dare he presume to tell the unaffiliated voters of Colorado what they must do?

This is condescending, not to mention richly ironic. Senator Udall’s party has spent years telling us about Trump threatening democracy, painting themselves as its saviors, only to now use Trump as an excuse to undermine democracy themselves. It is hypocrisy and elitism at its most dangerous.

Colorado voters are smart enough to make their own choices without self-proclaimed oracles telling us what will happen, or worse, what our options should be in the first place. These voices from Washington are the reason our country is in its current mess to begin with. The two-party system has served up progressively worse and more extreme candidates year after year, abandoning the commonsense majority in the process. It is exactly why unaffiliated/independents make up the largest voting block in the United States.

The 2024 cycle is a case in point. The party establishments are likely nominating Donald Trump and Joe Biden again — two candidates that many didn’t want the first time, much less a second time. If Udall is such an enlightened pundit, he should be aware of the many polls showing that a large majority of voters, even within the two parties, are not satisfied with either choice, so much so that the Wall Street Journal started calling it “the election of dread.” Udall does know this, yet he is telling voters to shut up and be grateful for their choices.

In his op-ed, Udall also argued that No Labels may use its ballot access to run Senate candidates, thus “drawing votes away from Democrats in tight races.” Where is he getting this? No Labels is only working on the presidential ballot line, and that effort is not a “third party,” as Udall claims, but a one-time ticket at a unique moment in our nation’s history. Udall needs to stop the fear-mongering.

The truth is, a Unity Ticket is likely to pull from Republicans and Democrats evenly, like Ross Perot did in 1992, meaning it wouldn’t be a spoiler for either side. They also ignore the very important fact that No Labels has promised to only utilize its ballot line if there is a clear path to victory for the independent ticket.

Therein lies the establishment’s real fear — not that Trump would win, but that the third option might win. They are afraid of anything that disrupts the two-party status quo because the status quo is the source of their ill-gotten power. The two-party system has winners, it just isn’t voters. It’s elites who get their kicks by going to cocktail parties, rubbing shoulders with power, and cashing consulting checks. A movement of commonsense voters threatens those spoils, and they will do anything to stop it.

It’s easy for self-styled “champions of democracy” to be in favor of “the little guy,” because the little guy can’t disrupt their power. But unaffiliated, independent, commonsense voters are not the little guy — we are the majority. And the D.C. establishment, which Senator Udall has sided with, is terrified of any majority that stands against them.

In my view, they are right to be afraid.

Roger Hutson is a co-chair of No Labels Colorado, a board member of Colorado Concern, and the CEO of HRM Resources IV, LLC

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