Democrats and Republicans met to subvert a third party option. So much for caring about what voters want

This week, it was reported that a group of leading Democratic strategists and former officials — including President Joe Biden’s former chief of staff — met recently with anti-Trump Republicans to hatch a plan to “subvert” a third option for the 2024 presidential race from the group No Labels, which I lead.

To be clear, this was not a meeting about how to beat No Labels on the merits (which we would welcome). Rather, it was a meeting about how to find and exploit legal technicalities, silence supporters interested in our approach and raise money for a campaign against us.

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This collusion between leading members of the two parties is, in truth, not all that surprising. It proves what many of us have been saying for years: that instead of working together to solve actual problems, these leaders and operatives are aligned only when it comes to protecting their duopoly in a bitterly polarized country.

But Americans want to see more choices. A record number of voters are now abandoning the two parties in search of a better option. The percentage who identify as independent is now equal to the percentage of Republicans and Democrats combined. So why aren’t independents already gaining power? Because no independent candidate has proved capable of organizing and building the infrastructure required to mount a successful national movement. This is a problem No Labels is attempting to solve.

We are working to get on the ballot in all 50 states to create the opening for a potential independent unity ticket in 2024, which would feature a Democrat and a Republican as running mates. We will only utilize our ballot line if the two parties continue to abandon the common sense majority. If most Americans are satisfied with one or the other major party nominee, we will stand down. We would also back down if the polling indicates we would be a spoiler for either party.

So far, the two parties appear likely to deliver a rematch between Trump and Biden in 2024, which two-thirds of voters do not want. Record numbers of voters say they would support a third-party candidate for president if given the chance. Democrats and anti-Trump Republicans are working to deny them that chance.

The private meeting could have been purposed around coming up with ideas to improve the two parties and make No Labels unnecessary. This would have accomplished the same goal. Instead of embracing competition, those strategists and think tank leaders dedicated their attention to devising ways to block us and limit voters’ choices.

This reaction of “How dare they challenge us?” is common among incumbent powers in the private sector too. When a powerful industry is threatened by an innovative start-up, the established companies often seek to block the start-up with lawsuits rather than simply improving their product offerings.

Think of the taxi companies suing to stop Uber, or cable companies fighting streaming platforms, or the hotel industry trying to block Airbnb. We know how these disputes ended.

We’re confident that the will of voters will prove just as hard to suppress as the will of customers. No Labels has already proved in Congress that our strategy of common sense solutions can lead to results. We helped establish a bipartisan group of lawmakers called the Problem Solvers Caucus in the House, which has helped achieve numerous victories such as the infrastructure bill in 2021.

Today, the two-party status quo is a stale system that is not working for the people it is designed to serve. The best way to refresh a stale system is through competition, by forcing complacent incumbents to improve their ideas to survive.

The two parties, sadly, would rather seek to quash our effort than compete against it. They don’t seem to realize that by trying to suppress our movement they are showing the country exactly why we’re needed.