No Labels, a US political group founded in 2010 as a “common sense” centrist alternative to the two-party US political system, announced on Thursday that it will not be launching an independent US presidential campaign this year.

The move comes after months of attempts by the group to recruit candidates for a bipartisan “unity ticket” that would challenge the Democratic and Republican nominees, expected to be Joe Biden and Donald Trump.

“No Labels has always said we would only offer our ballot line to a ticket if we could identify candidates with a credible path to winning the White House,” the group said in a statement after media reports of its decision.

“No such candidates emerged, so the responsible course of action is for us to stand down.”

The news once again underscores the challenges facing third-party political groups in the US, where the Democratic and Republican parties have consolidated vast swaths of the ideological spectrum, the barriers to independent political organisation are high and the state-by-state Electoral College system makes a victory on election day daunting.

No Labels had a level of organisation and financial backing, however, that few other outside political groups have recently mustered. It had already obtained a presidential ballot line in 21 states and predicted more to come. It also has raised tens of millions of dollars from an undisclosed list of donors.

The group conducted public opinion polls and touted scenarios where its candidate could win the presidency as an alternative to a Trump-Biden contest that has left many Americans dissatisfied.

But it was not enough to convince anyone of note to take the plunge.

No Labels reportedly discussed potential presidential bids with an array of prominent centrist politicians, including Democratic Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Republican former Governor Larry Hogan of Maryland and former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who has twice run for the Republican presidential nomination.

Ultimately they all disavowed any interest in what mainstream polling suggests would be a futile effort – and one that could help hand Mr Trump the presidency by peeling away moderate voters who might otherwise back Mr Biden.

“If there is not a pathway to win and if my candidacy in any way, shape or form would help Donald Trump become president again, then it is not the way forward,” Mr Christie said last month.

The No Labels announcement will be cheered by Democrats, but there are still a handful of independent candidates who have the potential to shake up the 2020 presidential election rematch.

Robert F Kennedy Jr, who has mixed some traditional liberal positions with anti-establishment and anti-vaccine views, is gaining ballot access and continues to poll near double digits. Academic Cornel West and a yet-to-be-decided Green Party candidate could attract more liberal voters among the Democratic ranks.

In the end, however, there appeared to be little desire for a centrist option among an American public that is becoming increasingly polarised politically.

By Admins

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