Forward? Hmmmm … Maybe

I have conflicting thoughts about what I am going to share with you today.  Historically, third parties in the U.S. are doomed before they ever get out of the gate, and their candidates do little more than take votes from one candidate or another.  I still say that Jill Stein running under the Green Party banner in 2016 was a heavy hand in hurting Hillary Clinton’s bid for the presidency.  However, times have changed, the nation is more polarized now than at any time in the past century or more, and this new Forward Party seems to be more organized than the typical third party.  I do not agree with all they say, but certainly would welcome a more centrist party, a third option.  And let’s face it, nobody is ever going to agree with everything in the platform of any party!  Take a look at what they wrote in The Washington Post on Wednesday, and I’ll be back in a few days to offer my opinion, after I do a bit more research about their platform and viability.


Most third parties have failed. Here’s why ours won’t.

By David Jolly, Christine Todd Whitman and Andrew Yang

July 27, 2022 at 7:00 p.m.

David Jolly is a former Republican congressman from Florida and is 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 is co-chair of the Forward Party.

Political extremism is ripping our nation apart, and the two major parties have failed to remedy the crisis. Last week, the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack at the Capitol led us to relive one of the darkest days in U.S. history. The chilling culmination of an attempted electoral coup in the United States was the strongest evidence yet that we are facing the potential demise of our democracy.

Polarization is fueling a spike in political intimidation. In the past two years, we’ve 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 are coming together — Democrats, Republicans and independents — to build a new, unifying political party for the majority of Americans who want to move past divisiveness and reject extremism.

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

Shockingly, roughly 30 million Americans believe 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 voices are not heard and radicalize to take up arms, leading to mainstream talk about “civil war.”

How do you remedy such a crisis? In a system torn apart by two increasingly divided extremes, you must reintroduce choice and competition.

The United States badly needs a new political party — one that reflects the moderate, common-sense majority. Today’s outdated parties have failed by catering to the fringes. As a result, most Americans feel they aren’t represented.

Most third parties in U.S. history failed to take off, either because they were ideologically too narrow or the population was uninterested. But voters are calling for a new party now more than ever.

For the first time in modern history, roughly 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, too.

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

The two major parties have hollowed out the sensible center of our political system — even though that’s where most voters want to see them move. A new party must stake out the space in between. On every issue facing this nation — from the controversial to the mundane — we can find a reasonable approach most Americans agree on.

On guns, for instance, most Americans don’t agree with calls from the far left to confiscate all guns and repeal the Second Amendment, but they’re also rightfully worried by the far right’s insistence on eliminating gun laws. On climate change, most Americans don’t agree with calls from the far left to completely upend our economy and way of life, but they also reject the far right’s denial that there is even a problem. On abortion, most Americans don’t agree with the far left’s extreme views on late-term abortions, but they also are alarmed by the far right’s quest to make a woman’s choice a criminal offense.

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 ranked-choice voting and open primaries; for the end of gerrymandering; and for the nationwide protection of voting rights and a push to make voting remarkably easy for anyone and incredibly secure for everyone.

Without such systemic changes, Americans will be left 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 positions in the United States, but a recent study found more than 70 percent of races on ballots in 2020 were unopposed or uncontested. A tiny sliver of U.S. congressional seats will have close races this November. The two major parties have shut out competition, and America is suffering as a result.

That’s why we’re proposing the first “open” party. Americans of all stripes — Democrats, Republicans and independents — are invited to be a 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 just the starting point, the launchpad for this movement. We are planning liftoff at a national convention next summer and will soon seek state-by-state ballot access to run candidates in 2024 and beyond. We are actively recruiting former U.S. representatives, governors, entrepreneurs, top political operatives and community leaders to make it happen.

America’s founders warned about the dangers of a two-party system. Today, we’re living with the dire consequences. Giving Americans more choices is important not just for restoring civility. Our lives, our livelihoods and our way of life depend on it.

49 thoughts on “Forward? Hmmmm … Maybe

  1. You would think hope would lie in the younger generations, but I saw the other day in Florida at a Trump rally, young people were cheering Trump on with great enthusiasm, so I’m not so sure that they will be the saviors of democracy or be more progressively liberal.
    I don’t think a third-party is the answer, but I don’t know what is, when you have a country full of bigots, hypocrites, the uneducated and religious fanaticism. We are a country that has never valued education, consideration for those less fortunate or religious tolerance to our peril.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I don’t understand that! Like you, I thought this younger generation was growing up with better sense, having seen so much, been the victims of so much violence. But then, I thought people our age had better sense than to fall for his lies, too. More and more I think you’re right, that a 3rd party is not going to solve anything at this point, though I do think that ultimately this nation would do better under a multi-party system. But for now, I think that as Barry pointed out, we should focus more on getting our voting rights fixed so that everyone has an equal voice, and I’d like to see the big money taken OUT of politics. Since the Supreme Court is so intent on overturning past rulings, perhaps they could think about overturning Citizens United v FEC!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. In the 1970s and 1980s NZ had effectively three party elections but two party legislatures. Even when the third party gained as much as 30% of the vote nation wide it never got more than 1 or occasionally 2 seats. Coming second in more electorates (voting districts) than either of the other two parties doesn’t help in getting into the legislature.

    It was the catalyst for the move from a First Past the Post voting system (FPP) to our current system of Mixed Member Proportional (MMP). From when MMP was introduced in 1996 until 2020 no party was able to command a majority, and governments have been composed of up to five parties, although most have been made from three parties. The current government is an exception where the Labour Party holds a simple majority, but formed a coalition with the greens to strengthen their position. And for that we can thank they way the previous Labour lead government handled the first two years of the pandemic. It’s unlikely to be repeated.

    The biggest issue with FPP is that it’s likely to cause a split in the vote between parties that are somewhat similar and could otherwise work together in a coalition, leaving the an opposing ideology to romp home when it came to the number of seats in the legislature. A moderate third party in the US is likely to take more votes from the other moderate party (the Democrats) than they would from the fundamentalist religious, conservative reactionary right (the Republicans). In a MMP system that is no disadvantage as each party gains seats in proportion to the percentage of votes gained. In a FPP system, it’s winner take all. The only way the GOP would be harmed by a third party is if that third party was ideologically similar to the Republicans thereby splitting the Republican vote.

    Perhaps it would be more beneficial to work towards a voting system that more fairly represents the voting public – one of the many forms of proportional representation that have proven successful in other jurisdictions. The UK is somewhat of an outlier when it comes to the relative success of third parties in FPP systems.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Wow … you’ve definitely given me some food for thought here, Barry! You’re probably right, that this ‘Forward’ Party would likely take more votes from Democrats than Republicans, leaving us with a religious majority running the show. I’ve saved your comment to peruse more a bit later, for you make a great deal of sense. Thank you!!! And yes, we definitely need to work on making voting easier and more representative of the entire country! The Republicans are working in the opposite direction, naturally.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Your multi-party system works, as does Canada’s and other nations’. Ours is going to require some adjustments to change from a two-party system, but perhaps now is the time to do so, for the current two parties are leaving a gap too wide that many fall into. I hope you’re right, that yours are beginning to work together. I don’t understand why people, especially politicos, cannot see that we’re all in this world together, we all have essentially the same needs, and why the Sam Hell can’t we just get along and work together to solve our problems instead of creating more??? Sigh. Hugs, my friend.

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  3. I think I mostly disagree with this proposal.

    The two major parties have hollowed out the sensible center of our political system — even though that’s where most voters want to see them move.

    That seems incorrect. It is mainly the Republican party that has pushed extremes. On my estimation, most Democrats are somewhat centrist. Yes, there are some pushing extremes on the left, but they are only a small minority of Democrats.

    Obama bent over backwards trying to develop compromises. It was the Republicans who attempted to block everything. Likewise, Biden has been willing to compromise but the Republicans won’t.

    I don’t see that a new third party will help. Maybe Jolly, Whitman and Yang can show their compromising skills by coming up with a compromise platform that they can share with the Democrats.

    Liked by 4 people

      • Thank you, Annie! It’s giving me a headache too!!! I wish I hadn’t even done this post! I’ll definitely read Bouie’s piece, though, for I respect him and his opinions a great deal!

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    • As always, you make good sense, my friend. I’m keeping an open mind on this one, mainly because the current situation with the two parties is untenable. It is true that the Republicans have pushed so far to the right, but that has caused the Democrats to push even further to the left, and in the middle their is a huge chasm that has no bridge across it. The Republicans stand for bigotry and wealth, while the Democrats stand for humanity and the planet. Period. There’s no room for compromise, and not many serious attempts to find a common ground.

      I don’t know if a third party is the solution, but we must try to find a solution, else we will end up in a place that none of us wish to be. You mention Obama … and frankly, I wish there were a way he could run again, for he was the gold standard of this century thus far. I think I cannot make a firm stand either for or against on this third party until I learn more about their platform, methods, candidates, and funding, so I will try to keep an open mind.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. There are a some things I agree with from Jolly, Whitman and Yang, but there are some other things I disagree with. However, instead of addressing those opposing ideas here—you might want to slap me upside my noggin Jill 😄—I’d much rather finish my very in-depth blog-series about A New U.S. Constitution, or rather more like one that is aggressively updated for the 21st- and 22nd-centuries and which is PROTECTED against fanatical radicals and extremists like Constitutional Originalists and Protestant or Non-denominational religious/faither nutcases wanting to (wrongly) turn our nation into a theocracy! If I did that Jill, i.e. finish that lengthy series, it would better explain what and why I disagree on some things here they write and agree on other things.

    I will say this though. A lot or some of what Jolly, Whitman and Yang are proposing are good and with the right intentions, BUT… it won’t be enough to halt the extremists of any either side that have caused the new wave of extreme polarization. The changes MUST be extensive to withstand their counter-attacks. And I’ll leave it at that, for now. 😉 hehe

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’m with you, Prof … some I agree with, some I don’t. But, it’s early days yet and I want to know more about their funding, their platform, their candidates, etc. Now why would I want to slap you upside the noggin, Prof? I like you! I only slap people who are idiots, and you are far from being an idiot! I will have to check out your aforementioned series! I haven’t been keeping up lately, due to … well, a number of things including health issues and my own blogging. But I will check it out … this weekend … I promise! A new Constitution is something I’ve pondered on for some time … or rather, a revised one, for much of what we have is good and I’m not one who would want to throw out the baby with the bathwater, as the old saying goes.

      I think, my friend, that the extremists are the problem, and they are egged on by the politicos who see dollar signs in front of their eyes. Money is … literally the main source of what is wrong in this country, from income disparity, wealth disparity, to the Supreme Court’s ruling on Citizens United v FEC that allowed members of Congress to be bought and sold like turnips. Sigh.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Quick FYI… I haven’t yet posted anything of my A New U.S. Constitution series. It’s still in its construction-drafting, writing stage, but Part 1 is coming along. My issues or delays, like you, is full-time caretaking of my Mom and her severe dementia. Many interruptions each day and night… for the last 48+ weeks straight, non-stop for me. 🙄 Hard to sustain an even 2-hour free period of creating, drafting, structuring, then writing/blogging. I’m sure you know what I mean Jill.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Ah, so I haven’t missed it … yet! Well, I plan to read it when it does come out! Oh, and guess what … I found the YouTube video for “Deep in the Pockets of Texas” and plan to watch it tonight! Or tomorrow …

          I can only imagine what you go through taking care of your mum, and you have my deep respect for all that you are doing for her, my friend. Yes, it’s often impossible to juggle all the balls and some will sometimes fall, but you’re doing a good thing and I’m in awe of all that you give.

          Liked by 1 person

  5. Reblogged this on It Is What It Is and commented:
    I’m not so sure … I’m still thinking about this one!! Is this the correct time for a third party? … “How do you remedy such a crisis? In a system torn apart by two increasingly divided extremes, you must reintroduce choice and competition.
    The United States badly needs a new political party — one that reflects the moderate, common-sense majority. Today’s outdated parties have failed by catering to the fringes. As a result, most Americans feel they aren’t represented.”

    Liked by 2 people

    • Many thanks for the reblog, dear Horty!!! I have very mixed thoughts on this and will need to learn more about them, their participants, their funding, and most of all their platform. Is this the right time? I don’t know, but something for damn sure needs to change, for our current state of affairs is untenable. We’re going to have bloodshed in the streets if we keep on as we are!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Jill, for it to be successful it has to be a moderate party that pulls from both Dems and Republicans. Tacking on a party at the extreme end will attract the more progressive or more regressive from the party it is closest to. That will assure the party furthest away from the extreme end to win. That would be unfortunate. Donald Trump won in 2016 because he got people who did not like Hillary to vote for Jill Stein or not vote at all. I have visions of Broderick Crawford (“All the King’s Men) being introduced to peel voters away from the opposing candidate.

    If advertised well, it will pull from both if moderate. George HW Bush likes to say he lost to Bill Clinton in 1992 due to Ross Perot, but Perot actually pulled voters from both. he might have gotten more had he not pulled out of the race and reentered later. Keith

    Liked by 2 people

    • Keith, you haven’t mentioned 2000, when Nader cost Gore Florida and thus the election. We could very well have avoided the Iraq War and had an environmentalist as President. Or 2016, when Jill Stein’s vote in key states meant there was no way for Hillary to counter both Comey’s statement and Putin’s interference.

      What I’ve seen so far from these Forward folks does not sound moderate at all. Conspiracy thinking, ahistorical, simply ill-informed and proud of it. There’s a video from Yang himself trying to allay people’s concerns about 2024–in essence, if things don’t go right, they won’t mess with 2024. But I’m concerned about 2022! This is not the year for experimentation. The stakes are simply too high.

      Liked by 3 people

      • Annie, good point. Trump used Jill Stein as an anti-Hillary vote or he got those folks just to stay home. Hillary was one of the more qualified people to ever run for president and was a good Senator and Secretary of State, yet she was not as good campaigner as her husband and in 2016 she should have gone more to the states she needed to lock up like PA, Michigan and Wisconsin. The Gore loss was tough as we saw what the future brought. But, also before then, McCain was ahead of Bush in the primary and then they smeared him with a false story in SC about fathering a black child – the truth is he and his wife adopted an India born girl. McCain lost there and never recovered. Keith

        Liked by 1 person

        • The republicans know how to smear someone with the right bigotry button to push and then the deal is sealed, no matter the truth.

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    • Agreed. I think we need something that … is independent of both Democratic and Republican Parties, something that builds a bridge over the gap through which so many have fallen in this day of deep division. I have very mixed thoughts at present about this ‘Forward’ Party, whether they can be a viable third party in what has historically been a two-party system. You’re right … they must be moderate, cannot afford to go far in either direction. Other countries do well with a multiple party system, but then their rules are set up for such, whereas our FEC rules make it almost impossible for a third party to be viable. Time will tell … I’m skeptic, but keeping an open mind. I wish they would ask me to write their platform!!!

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  7. They sound great on paper. So does the Democratic ideal. But the mechanism of politics taints everything and there isn’t enough time for on the fence voters to develop trust for a new party before the elections. Sadly, I think it will dilute the Democratic vote more than the far right. They are rabid dogs nipping at the heels of a sane and balanced government. The last independent I ‘almost’ voted for was Ross Perot. Then his head popped off and I went another way. My family fared well under the Clinton administration. I had to laugh when Trump recently stated he is the most persecuted president in American history. And his personal record makes Clinton look like a high school rookie.

    Liked by 6 people

    • I had to laugh when Trump recently stated he is the most persecuted president in American history.

      BWAAAAA!!! What an imbecile and joke he’d think that—not that he thinks above a 6th-grade level—much less SAY that! Umm, hello Donnie tRump! Lincoln, Garfield, McKinley, and J.F. Kennedy were all assassinated, KILLED! I think they easily qualify as “the most persecuted in history.” DUH!

      What a dimwit that man(?) is. (smh) 🤦‍♂️

      Liked by 3 people

    • Well, since most primaries are over, I don’t think they intended to have nexus in this year’s election, but are looking more at 2024 and the presidential election. I’m reserving judgement for the moment, until I can find out more and give it some deeper thought. We’ve got two years yet … plenty of time to assess, discuss, and decide, and plenty of time for them to either prove themselves worthy, or get off the playing field. Oh yeah, I just rolled my eyes when I heard that Trump had said that. I’ve never in my life seen such a big crybaby as he is! I don’t know what’s kept somebody from smashing his fat face into the ground!

      Liked by 2 people

  8. I have just engaged with a few of these folks via Twitter. I think the timing is horrific. If the Democrats don’t get larger majorities in November, we know what the Republicans have in store.

    This effort seems to be based on the same faulty equivalence that drives the media narrative: both parties have allegedly failed. In fact, we have one small-d democratic Party and one authoritarian/theocratic party. But look what just happened: Manchin joined Schumer in a very solid deal, defeating Mitch, so the angry Republicans are punishing the Dems by voting against care for veterans and threatening to renege on supporting gay marriage.

    I heard Jolly talk about the effort and found its supposed workability incomprehensible. He wants low taxes, which tells me a lot.

    Liked by 5 people

    • Well, I don’t see them as affecting this year’s elections, but more 2024. However, I agree with you … for this year, we MUST focus on large Democratic majorities to keep the Republicans from gaining control of at least the Senate, and preferably both chambers.

      But y’know … I look at other countries who have multi-party systems, and … I’m not so sure our two-party system is the solution. The Republican Party, by all rights, should be shrinking, for they have no platform, support a large number of conspiracy-theorist candidates, and seem to support every form of bigotry I can think of. But yet, they still command a sizable following. Those who lean left are still the majority in this nation, but … they tend to be the silent majority, half the time too lazy to vote, let alone be vocal in their ideology. Yes, Manchin joined Schumer and now McConnell is making us pay for it by denying Democrats any cooperation on anything, such as the marriage bill you mention, or the ban on assault weapons that the House passed earlier today. Sigh.

      I doubt this new party will get off the ground, but frankly I think maybe it’s time we made some changes, for many or the people in this country fall into the huge gap between the two parties ideologies.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I fear it will only give comfort to the GOP, give rich Yang an ego boost and risk our freedom to the cult of Christian Nationalists. If serious, then organize at state level first rather than disrupt national elections.

    Liked by 7 people

    • You make some very good points, Ned. Especially about starting at the state level, for at the federal level, any third-party candidate is doomed from the start by the FEC rules. I do think, though, that the two parties are so divided today that there isn’t even a bridge between them, and that is an untenable situation. I just don’t know what the solution is.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I see as many problems with it as I see advantages, but I’ve thought for a while now that it was time for the U.S. to consider a multi-party system. The gap between Republicans and Democrats has widened to the point where there is no bridge between the two, and that’s an untenable situation. Thanks, sweet Bee, and you have a good day as well! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Since I have been calling for a third party, I should be happy. I am not. I looked for a Socialist Party, one that would force the Dens to become more Centrist. Putting a party inbetween the Dems and the Repughs is not going to do any good for anyone. Yes, it would offer another choice, but it is not the choice I think America needs right now. There is no real change in direction here.

    Liked by 5 people

    • Well, actually I think rather than calling for the Democrats to become more ‘centrist’, you’ve been calling for them to move further to the left, as a Socialist Party would be. Thing is, though, that a Socialist Party, while I would love to see one, would never survive here, for ‘socialism’ is seen as a dirty word, akin to communism. First, we would have to educate the people of this nation about what socialism actually is, for they have some powerful misconceptions. Bernie Sanders has been trying for decades to do just that, and … look where it’s gotten him?

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      • I understand all that, Jill. But America needs to be educated, because especially right now it needs to turn in a socialist direction. Populism such as the Republicans are spouting will destroy America, and the Democrats are too weak to fight it in any meaningful way.
        Maybe what’s needed is a party with socialist ideals under a different name, a Togetherness Party, or some such thing. America is dying, but it can be saved. But Republican ideals (they are certainly not ideals in my world) cannot be a part of the healing process.

        Liked by 1 person

        • I can’t argue at all with your reasoning, my friend, but I don’t see it happening. Perhaps this nation will have to completely devolve, find out what it’s like to live under a cruel dictatorship, before they can appreciate what we once had. I have doubts that the nation can be saved at this point.

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          • Amazinly enough, I do not agree. With a bit of real education, a dash of humility, and some incredible leaders America can be saved, tho7gh it will take a metamorphosis from its present caterpillar stage. But will it become a butterfly, or a moth? There lies the rub!

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