The country appears to be barreling toward a rematch between President Joe Biden and his predecessor Donald Trump, with the current president under scrutiny for his son’s foreign business dealings and the former president facing four indictments simultaneously.

But one group is doing all it can to prepare an “insurance plan” to provide voters with a third option if the names atop the November 2024 ticket are Biden’s and Trump’s.

“We have never seen candidates disliked this much, ever,” Nancy Jacobson, founder and CEO of No Labels, told the Deseret News. “If we’re going to ever create power for the center and get these two parties working together, side by side, for results for the American people, this is the moment.”

No Labels CEO Nancy Jacobson talks with the Deseret News editorial board at the Deseret News offices in Salt Lake City on Thursday, Aug. 24, 2023. | Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

No Labels is quickly becoming one of the nation’s most controversial nonprofit organizations as it temporarily turns its focus from getting Republicans and Democrats in Congress to work on “common sense” policy solutions, to laying the groundwork for launching a bipartisan, unity presidential ticket in all 50 states.

The organization has secured ballot access in 10 states so far, including Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Nevada, North Carolina, Oregon, South Dakota and Utah.

Despite Utah’s solid Republican voting record, Jacobson, a former Democratic fundraiser, sees the state as “absolutely” representing a unique opportunity for what No Labels has to offer.

“A majority of people are realizing they want different choices,” Jacobson said. “They want to see people governing; they want to see, finally, resolutions to our problems.”

Utah has shown a willingness to buck party loyalties in recent years, with independent presidential candidate Evan McMullin peeling away upward of 20% of the vote from Trump in 2016, and Republican voters again showing less enthusiasm for Trump in 2020 than any Republican nominee in recent history.

Former Utah Republican Gov. Jon Huntsman signaled his interest in No Labels last month, appearing alongside Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., at a “Common Sense Town Hall” in New Hampshire sponsored by the group.

Huntsman said he wasn’t interested in running for president again but called a Biden-Trump repeat “insanity.”

However, No Labels has come under fire from all sides of the political spectrum as details of its “Insurance Policy 2024” have become more public, with the most common accusation being that it will serve as a third-party spoiler.

Utah Republican Sen. Mitt Romney is one of those who holds such reservations.

“I think a third party is likely to be a spoiler candidate — extremely unlikely to ever be elected him or herself, and would make it more likely in this case, I think, to elect Donald Trump,” he told the Deseret News and other members of the media this week. “I think that’s something that the No Labels people have to think through.”

Jacobson says she and others at No Labels have deeply considered this possibility but are convinced if they field a strong enough candidate they’ll do far more than spoil the race one way or the other, they’ll win it.

“We have never seen these numbers that we have seen repeatedly in extensive research and modeling — that 60% don’t want these two choices. It is unprecedented. And everybody knows it,” Jacobson said.

Jacobson’s confidence stems from No Labels’ polling of nearly 9,500 voters in the eight swing states.

According to the poll, 63% of registered voters do not think Trump should run for reelection and even more, 72%, say the same of Biden. Those surveyed expressed an openness to voting for a No Labels candidate, with 63% saying they would “consider voting for a moderate independent candidate” if the alternatives are Trump and Biden in 2024.

The most surprising, and motivating, result of their polling, Jacobson says, is the overwhelming desire for elected officials to work together to solve the country’s most pressing problems. The No Labels survey reports 86% of registered voters believe “common-sense solutions for resolving the big issues facing the country can come through compromise between Democrats and Republicans.”

No Labels has compiled a policy guide based on polling the group says represents the views held by the majority of the country, including reforming entitlement programs to ensure long-term solvency and regaining control of the flow of immigrants at the southern border.

However, some point out that it is easier for voters to express support for a faceless cause than for an actual candidate who will likely bring with them political baggage some find problematic.

While No Labels has not publicly talked about any candidates it would recruit, some names have been floated by national media, including independent Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, Republican New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu and former Republican Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, who is a No Labels national co-chair.

No Labels will decide whether it will move forward with its proposal following the Super Tuesday presidential primary elections on March 5, 2024. If a Biden-Trump rematch appears inevitable, and both candidates continue to have high unfavorable ratings, No Labels will move forward with candidate selection during its April convention in Dallas, Texas. Details of the candidate selection process will be announced this fall.

Despite the long odds No Labels faces, and the prospect that all the efforts will come to a halt if Biden or Trump drops out of the race for any reason, Jacobson says “what keeps (her) going every day” is a vision of how a bipartisan ticket for president and vice president could alter the country’s path to endless polarization.

“With a Republican and Democrat walking down Pennsylvania Avenue and walking into that White House, arm in arm, trying to get results for the American people, we reset this country in a moment,” Jacobson said, adding as a conclusion, “We all know as good citizens, we need to do something differently.”

Correction: The original list of states where No Labels has secured ballot access was incorrect. They have not yet secured access in Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania or Wisconsin.