It may turn out that keeping Donald Trump away from a second term in the White House in 2024 will have more to do not with legal actions against him, or political attacks on him directly, but with keeping a third party candidacy off the ballot in 2024 who would dilute the vote for the re-election of President Biden.
Such is the grave concern of a team of anti-Trump political leaders from both parties who have formed a group called “Citizens to Save the Republic” aimed at preventing that from happening, and one of its key leaders is a long-time resident Don Foley of Falls Church.
Foley, a resident of the City since 1987 who raised five children through the school system here, has held a plethora of major, behind the scenes positions in the national Democratic Party and is now fully devoted to stopping Trump by launching this anti-third party offensive.
In an interview with the News-Press Tuesday, Foley reported that while a survey this June of 5,700 registered voters nationwide, including over samples in seven swing states, showed Biden defeating Trump by the same four-point margin, 52 to 48 percent, that he won by in 2020, the entry of a third party option, such as a “No Labels” candidate, would have the effect of delivering a victory to Trump by a 40-to-39 percent margin.
So, in an effort to preempt such an outcome, Foley has helped forge the “Citizens to Save the Republic” with a solid bipartisan core, ranging from former House majority leader Steny Hoyer, former congressman and presidential candidate Richard Gephardt, Congressmen Brad Schneider and Dean Phillips, former Senator Bill Bradley, former Secretaries of Defense Chuck Hagel and Bill Cohen, former senator and presidential candidate Gary Hart, former senator Tim Wirth and former congressman Tom Downey and influential conservative leader Bill Kristol, among others.
“We are calling on No Labels, a group led by Democratic Senators Joe Manchin and Joe Lieberman, and former governors Jon Huntsman of Utah and Larry Hogan of Maryland, to acknowledge that the election of Donald Trump in 2024 represents the gravest threat to our democratic system since the Civil War,” Foley said.
“History shows and the current polling confirms that a third party candidate cannot win and will certainly hurt the incumbent president’s campaign. That’s why we’re calling on the political organization, No Labels, to abandon its effort to nominate a third-party candidate for 2024. All credible polling makes it clear that a No Labels third party candidate would very likely throw the election to Trump,” a Citizens’ statement this week said.
“In normal times, we would have no problem with this No Labels effort, and some of us would consider supporting it. But these are not normal times. As conservative Judge Michael Luttig told the January 6 Committee, our democracy hangs on a ‘knife’s edge.’”
“Former President Trump tried to overthrow the 2020 election process and our government. To this day, he still refuses to accept the decision of the American people in that election. That alone should disqualify him from ever being president again. But a second Trump administration would undermine our 240-year experiment in self-government.”
The statement concludes, “We ask No Labels to end its effort to nominate a third party candidate, and we make the same request of those mounting, or contemplating, any third party effort in next year’s presidential election.”
Foley told the News-Press that the purpose of the Citizens to Save Our Republic effort is “to make sure people understand” the dire consequences of any significant third party effort in 2024, including by recalling what such efforts have done in the past, such as Ralph Nader’s role in electing Bush over Gore in 2000.
Former Sen. Gerphardt took on a key spokesman role this week on National Public Radio. Foley spearheaded Gephardt’s first election win 1976, and it was Gephardt’s launch of his presidential campaign in 1988, with Foley serving and his spokesperson, that brought him to locate in Falls Church.
Foley has more than 20 years of experience on Capitol Hill, including service as the convention manager for the 1996 Chicago Democratic National Convention and Executive Director of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee for two campaign cycles.