When the anti-Trump group Citizens to Save Our Republic first launched, its main goal was to expose the third-party group No Labels as a sure-fire effort to elect Donald Trump.
Now the group is expanding its scope to target all third-party candidates, dropping two new ads in a $100,000 ad buy, according to The Washington Post.
“We are worried about any third party. We realize it is a free country. Anybody can run for president who wants to run for president,” former Democratic House Minority Leader Dick Gephardt, the group's leader, said Monday on a video call with reporters. “But we have a right to tell citizens the danger they will face if they vote for any of these third-party candidates.”
One ad blasts No Labels as a group funded by "dark money megadonors" with something to hide.
"Donald Trump, the biggest threat to our democracy," opens the ad, "and No Labels is a mysterious third party that will help Trump return to the White House."
The ad portrays No Labels as a "spoiler" that will "only help Trump."
The other ad posits, "2024's an up or down vote on democracy, and all third parties are spoilers," as images of 2024 third-party candidates Cornel West, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., and Jill Stein flash across the screen.
"They can't win, but they will split the pro-democracy vote and return the biggest threat to our democracy, Donald Trump, to the White House," says the ad's narrator.
Citizens to Save Our Republic presented a bipartisan group of surrogates on the call, including Democratic Rep. Debbie Dingell of Michigan and former Democratic Sen. Doug Jones of Alabama, as well as former Rep. Jim Greenwood of Pennsylvania and former Sen. Bill Cohen of Maine, who are both Republicans.
“Donald Trump is dedicated to dismantling, degrading and denigrating all of our institutions,” Cohen, who served as secretary of Defense under President Bill Clinton, told reporters. “I have never felt more strongly that we are about 30 seconds from Armageddon in terms of the end of democracy.”
The efficacy of any of these anti-Trump messaging campaigns remain to be seen. But third-party candidacies, which could fracture the anti-Trump vote, continue to be among the greatest threats to the republic in 2024. Both ads clearly convey that message.