Organizers of the Forward Party – the latest attempt to create a third national political party – hope to recruit candidates and voters they say are unhappy with what they see as a dysfunctional two-party system.
The party co-chairs are former Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang and Christine Todd Whitman, a former Republican governor of New Jersey. Former Florida Congressman David Jolly, a former Republican, is also expected to lead.
“The emergence of a left-right-and-middle coalition,” Jolly said, appearing on CNN. “Political actors, voters, heads of state, [and] community leaders who realized, ‘you know what? We can build a tent large enough to celebrate independent thinking and ideological diversity.
Jolly is executive chairman of the Save America Movement, or SAM, which he merged into the new party. No political party today, he argues, celebrates independent thought.
“Big parties and small parties – all of them – are starting to say, ‘We have to subscribe to a specific ideology. 40% of Americans today oppose any party, major or minor,’ Jolly said. “But it is wrong to assume that they are all moderates. They are not.”
Forward’s basic premise is that Americans more often agree than they disagree, even in this time of political polarization. But Jolly admits the new party is navigating uncharted waters.
“It suggests that we can actually unite around shared values to move the country forward; to solve the nation’s most pressing problems without requiring top-down dogma that must necessarily adapt from Boston, Massachusetts to Birmingham, Alabama,” he said. “It’s a beautiful celebration of independent thought.”
The Forward Party’s plans, for now, do not include fielding a presidential candidate in 2024 or, as Jolly puts it, “chasing a shiny object.” The initial objective is the negative vote.
“What we’re hoping to do is what we’ve been able to do recently, which is elect a mayor in Newtown, Connecticut, or yes, Congress and [U.S.] Senate,” Jolly said. “But who knows what 2024 presents; and if that moment meets the Forward Party halfway, I’m sure they’ll reach out and grab it. But it is not the intention of the Forward Party today, to play in the presidential race of 24.
“If you want to build a sustainable political organization, I think it makes sense to build a deep bench of candidates; ideally people with elected experience,” said Adam Cayton, a political scientist at the University of West Florida. “Former members of major parties who have some credibility in a state or constituency where they would like to run.”
If you want to see the most successful thirds of American politics, Cayton says you have to go back a few years, or at least a century, to the Progressive Party in 1912 and the People’s or Populist Party in 1892.
But, the most successful third may surprise you.
“The Republican Party has replaced the Whig Party as one of the major parties in American politics. [in 1854]”, Cayton said. “It came into existence when the Democratic Party split in two and the Whig Party completely collapsed. So even though they were a third party, they were the most political party. stability of the country during the political crisis around slavery and succession.
Three of the most recent third-party candidates were George Wallace, who received 14% of the popular vote and 46 electoral votes in 1968; John Anderson in 1980, with 6% of the popular vote, but none in the Electoral College. Ross Perot in 1992 garnered nearly 20% of the popular vote, but no electoral votes. Cayton says that at this point there is a lot of gray area around the Forward Party.
“I think their chances of forming a lasting and very slim political party regardless of their strategy, it’s an uphill battle based on past experience,” Cayton said. “There have been quite a few vain projects by presidential candidates who have made it big, caused a stir in one or two elections, and then they have disappeared.”
A major obstacle for any political organization is money. But Cayton says while important, it’s not the overriding issue here. It’s more like American election rules – winner takes all.
“It puts enormous pressure on the third parties (and) makes their existence very difficult, because even the party in second place gets nothing,” he said. “So the third party, they have very little hope of being elected. The purpose of a political party is to obtain elective offices and keep them.
And when it comes time for the Forwards to take on the White House, the question might be who could be there with the charisma of a Bill Clinton, a Ronald Reagan or a Barack Obama? ? Cayton says it’s hard to predict who the next political stars will be.
“If you had told me in 2014 that the next leader of the Republican Party was Donald Trump, I wouldn’t have believed you,” he said. make them popular.
Forward Party leaders are planning events in about two dozen cities across the country this fall, to showcase their platform and try to win support. The first rally is scheduled for Sept. 24 in Houston, Texas, with a national convention scheduled for next summer in a city to be announced.