Reviews | Most third parties failed. Here’s why our Forward Party won’t.

(The Washington Post; images by iStock)
(The Washington Post; images by iStock)

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David Jolly is a former Republican congressman from Florida and executive chairman of the Serve America Movement. Christine Todd Whitman is a former Republican Governor of New Jersey and co-founder of the Renew America Movement. Andrew Yang is a former Democratic presidential candidate and co-chairman of the Forward Party.

Political extremism is tearing our nation apart and both major parties have failed to address the crisis. Last week, the House Select Committee investigating the January 6 attack on Capitol Hill brought to life one of the darkest days in US history. The chilling culmination of an attempted electoral coup in the United States was the strongest evidence yet that we face the potential demise of our democracy.

Polarization fuels a spike in political intimidation. Over the past two years, we have seen death threats and assassination plots against members of Congress, governors, Supreme Court Justices, and even the Vice President of the United States.

If nothing is done, the United States will not reach its 300th birthday this century in recognizable form. That’s why we’re 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.

Americans have lost faith in government. Nearly 8 in 10 people say the country is headed in the wrong direction, according to a recent poll, and two-thirds of voters think neither Democrats nor Republicans have the right priorities.

Surprisingly, about 30 million Americans think violence against the current government is justified. The same number want to forcibly return former President Donald Trump to the White House. This is what happens when democracies fail: people feel their voice is not heard and radicalize to take up arms, leading to widespread talk of “civil war”.

How to deal with such a crisis? In a system torn by two increasingly divided extremes, you must reintroduce choice and competition.

America badly needs a new political party – one that reflects the moderate, common sense majority. Today’s antiquated parties have failed by addressing the margins. As a result, most Americans feel they are unrepresented.

Most third parties in US history have failed to take off, either because they were ideologically too narrow or because the people were not interested. But voters are calling for a new party more than ever.

Perry Bacon Jr.: The United States has four political parties integrated into a two-party system. It’s a big problem.

For the first time in modern history, about half of Americans consider themselves “independents” and two-thirds say a new party is needed (and would vote for it). Surprisingly, a majority of Democrats and Republicans say they want another option as well.

As leaders and former elected officials, we are tired of talking about a third way. So this month, we’re merging our three national organizations—representing the left, right, and center of the political spectrum—to build the launch pad for a new political party called Forward.

Both major parties have carved out the sensitive center of our political system – even though that’s where most voters want them to go. A new party must mark the space between the two. On every issue facing this nation — from the controversial to the mundane — we can find a reasonable approach that most Americans agree on.

On guns, for example, most Americans disagree with calls from the far left to confiscate all guns and repeal the Second Amendment, but they are also rightly worried about the extreme right’s insistence on scrapping gun laws. On climate change, most Americans disagree with calls from the far left to completely disrupt our economy and our way of life, but they also reject the far right’s denial that there is even a problem. On abortion, most Americans disagree with extreme far-left views on late-term abortions, but they are also alarmed by the far-right’s quest to make a woman’s choice a criminal offence.

To succeed, a new party must break down the barriers that stand between voters and more political choices. Accordingly, we will passionately advocate electoral changes such as preferential voting and open primaries; for the end of gerrymandering; and for national protection of voting rights and an effort to make voting remarkably easy for everyone and incredibly safe for everyone.

Without such systemic changes, Americans will end up with a closed system and fewer options on the ballot. These reforms go hand in hand with a new party.

Some call third parties “spoilers”, but the system is already spoiled. There are more than 500,000 elected offices in the United States, but a recent study found that more than 70% of ballot races in 2020 were unopposed or uncontested. A small slice of seats in the US Congress will have tight races in November. Both major parties have ruled out competition and America is suffering.

This is why we propose the first “open” evening. Americans of all stripes – Democrats, Republicans and Independents – are invited to be part of the process, without abandoning their existing political affiliations, by joining us to discuss building an optimistic and inclusive home for the politically homeless majority. .

Our merged organizations are only the starting point, the launching pad for this movement. We plan to take off at a national convention next summer and will soon seek access to state-by-state balloting to field candidates in 2024 and beyond. We actively recruit former U.S. Representatives, Governors, entrepreneurs, senior politicians, and community leaders to make it happen.

America’s founders warned of the dangers of a two-party system. Today we live with the disastrous consequences. Giving Americans more choice is important, not just to restore civility. Our lives, our livelihoods and our way of life depend on it.

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