Jim Messina, a former top aide to former President Obama, claimed that a "third-party candidate can't win in 2024" and might guarantee former President Trump does.
"With a rematch between President Joe Biden and Donald Trump almost set in stone, it’s time to put a farce to rest: The notion that a third-party candidate could actually win the presidency in 2024," Messina wrote in an op-ed for Politico.
"No Labels is pushing a dangerous lie that would simply serve to put Donald Trump back in the White House," he continued. No Labels is a third-party group founded by former Connecticut senator Joe Lieberman, a former Democrat who became an independent.
The former Obama official and CEO of The Messina Group argued that elections results over the last 50 years clearly indicate that third parties — while not capable of winning elections in their own right — can exercise great influence in the eventual winner of the presidential election.
"While a third-party candidate can’t win, No Labels could still throw the election to Trump, and it wouldn’t take that many votes," Messina wrote, explaining that the past two elections indicate that Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin may again swing the election for President Biden or Trump, the current favorite to be his Republican opponent.
"A No Labels candidate in these states could easily hand the election to Trump," Messina wrote.
Messina concluded that the polling and election data makes it clear that "the practical effect of having No Labels run a third-party campaign is that Trump would win" and that "any argument that a third party can win next year is a false promise, an illusion and a lie spread by people with ulterior motives."
"The people at No Labels know better than this," Messina continued. "It’s time to cut the crap, believe the data and be honest with the American people. Any well-funded third-party candidate would be a disaster for our republic — and risks putting us on a direct path to a dictatorship."
Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.V., a close ally of No Labels, told Fox News host Sean Hannity that he would never run for the presidency or any office if he knew he would be in a position to simply throw the race to either major-party candidate.
"That's not who I am. If I get into a race, I get into it to win," Manchin told Fox News, adding many Americans feel politically "homeless" these days, with both parties "gone to the extremes."
Manchin recently announced he would not seek another term in the U.S. Senate in 2024. Trump won West Virginia in his two presidential election races in landslides.
Fox News' Charles Creitz contributed to this report.