September 29, 2022

Does America’s new political party stand a chance?

Andrew Yang and Christine Todd Whitman Illustrated | Gettyimages

Dozens of former Republicans and Democrats joined forces to launch Forward, a new centrist political party. Its founders include former Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang; Christine Todd Whitman, former Republican Governor of New Jersey; and David Jolly, a former Florida GOP congressman.

“Political extremism is tearing our nation apart and both major parties have failed to address the crisis,” Yang, Whitman and Jolly wrote in an op-ed for The Washington Post. Over the past two years, there has been a “spike in political bullying”, they said, and “if nothing is done, the United States will not reach its 300th birthday this century in some form recognizable”. The editorial cites a 2021 Gallup poll that found half of American adults identify as independents and 62% think the Democratic and Republican parties are “doing such a poor job representing the American people that a third is needed. “.

“That is why we are coming together – Democrats, Republicans and Independents – to build a unifying new political party for the majority of Americans who want to transcend divisions and reject extremism,” Yang, Whitman and Jolly wrote. They did not share any of Forward’s policies. On the party’s website, he lists his core principles as “free people”, “thriving communities” and “vibrant democracy”, and says he supports preferential voting, nonpartisan primaries and independent redistricting commissions. .

It is time

One of the earliest fans is political scientist Ian Bremmer, who praised his “pal Andrew Yang” for being part of Forward. “If there was ever a time to reach out to appalled Americans…2022 seems like a very good time,” he tweeted. The party’s official Twitter account replied, “We’d love to have you on board,” adding, “You’d make a great #Forwardist,” but Bremmer declined, replying, “Thank you. But I never joined a political party. , despite my friendship with Andrew!”

not so fast

Forward says it has thousands of volunteers in all 50 states and plans to support midterm candidates who will stand up for democracy. Their goal is for Forward candidates to run in local, state, and national elections in 2024, excluding President. It’s going to be hard to do in such a short time, Stuart Stevens told MSNBC.

Stevens served as Mitt Romney’s chief strategist during his 2012 presidential campaign, and he said it was “extraordinarily difficult to get elected. It’s extraordinarily difficult to create a party structure out of nowhere. My biggest fear about this is that it will distract and distract people from what really is the biggest crisis we have, which is stopping an autocratic movement. Hate to say, that sounds harsh, [but] it’s kind of a vanity project.”

Is history about to repeat itself?

Forward presents himself as the third party who will be able to break through the two-party system, but skepticism abounds. Peter Sagal, NPR host Wait, wait… Don’t tell me! tweeted that “whenever a third party movement has ‘succeeded’, everything it does is doomed to failure, regardless of which party most of its members come from in the next election (a major party beats two small ones) and is almost instantly absorbed by the main party.”

He referred to the two Senate independents – Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Angus King of Maine – and asked: ‘Are they using their ‘third party’ influence to advance their own agenda? is the only way they can do anything.” Sagal respects the Forward Party’s “devotion to the middle reasonable”, but suggested that the best way “to try to get what they want” would be to “become a Democrat or a Republican and change that party’s positions. C is almost impossible, except for when it is not.”

Presidential historian Michael Beschloss had his own warning, Tweeter that historically, “third parties sometimes have the effect of tilting a close election towards the candidate of an existing party who is the opposite of what the third party represents”. He also said it was “crucial” to “find out if a new American third party is taking money from hidden or mysterious sources, as so many have done in American history.” Yang said Reuters this Forward will start with a budget of around $5 million and already has several donors waiting in the wings.

More details, please

Yang is the face of former Forward Party Democrats, sitting down for interviews with everyone from Reuters to the right-wing Newsmax network, and it did not go unnoticed by civil rights lawyer Sherrilyn Ifill. While the party shared the names of several Republican members, including Miles Taylor, who worked in the Department of Homeland Security during the Trump administration, Ifill Noted that “Yang is the only identified former Democrat. Lots of Republicans. Hope there’s a more balanced list.”

As for The nationElie Mystal’s justice correspondent, he just wants to know exactly what the Forward Party stands for. “Do these people have a real *platform* with, like, POLITICS and stuff…or is it just an amalgamation of people who are too conservative to win a Dem primary but not racist enough to win a GOP? ” he tweeted.

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