Dozens of former Republican and Democratic officeholders announced a new national political third party on Wednesday to appeal to millions of voters who are disillusioned with what they say is America’s dysfunctional two-party system.
The new party, called Forward and whose creation was first reported by Reuters, will initially be co-chaired by former Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang and former Republican New Jersey Gov. Christine Todd Whitman. Founding members told Reuters they hoped the party would become a viable alternative to the Republican and Democratic parties that dominate American politics.
Party leaders will hold a series of events in two dozen cities this fall to develop their platform and drum up support. They will host an official launch in Houston on September 24 and the party’s first national convention in a major US city next summer.
The new party is being formed by merging three political groups that have emerged in recent years as a response to America’s increasingly polarized and gridlocked political system. Leaders cited a Gallup poll last year showing a record two-thirds of Americans believe a third party is needed.
The merger includes the Renew America Movement, which was formed in 2021 by dozens of former officials from the Republican administrations of Ronald Reagan, George HW Bush, George W. Bush and Donald Trump. The Forward Party, founded by Yang, left the Democratic Party in 2021 and became an independent. and the Serve America Movement, a group of Democrats, Republicans and independents whose executive director is former Republican Congressman David Jolley.
Two pillars of the new party’s platform are “reviving a fair, thriving economy” and “giving Americans more choice in elections, more confidence in government that works, and more say in our future.”
The party, which is centrist, does not yet have a specific policy. It will say in its opening Thursday: “How do we solve the big problems facing America? Not left. Not right. Forward.”
Historically, third parties have failed to thrive in America’s two-party system. Sometimes they can influence presidential elections. Analysts say the Green Party’s Ralph Nader took enough votes away from Democratic presidential candidate Al Gore in 2000 to help Republican George W. Bush win the White House.
It is unclear how the new forward party could affect either party’s electoral prospects in such a deeply polarized country. Political analysts doubt that it can succeed.
Public reaction on Twitter was swift. Many Democrats on the social media platform expressed concern that the new party would draw more votes from Democrats than Republicans and help Republicans in close races.
Forward aims to have party registration and ballot access in 30 states by the end of 2023 and all 50 states by the end of 2024, in time for the 2024 presidential and congressional elections. Its purpose is to field candidates for local races, such as school boards and city councils, all the way up to state houses, the U.S. Congress and the presidency.
Fundamentals have changed.
In an interview, Yang said the party would start with a budget of about $5 million. It has lined up donors and has grassroots membership between the three merged groups, numbering in the millions.
“We are starting in a very strong financial position. Financial support will not be a problem,” Yang said.
Another person involved in the creation of Forward, Miles Taylor — a former homeland security official in the Trump administration — said the idea was to give voters “a viable, credible national third party.”
Taylor acknowledged that third parties had failed in the past, but said: “The fundamentals have changed. When other third-party movements have emerged in the past, it’s mostly been within a system where the American people are looking for an alternative. Not asking. The difference here is that we’re seeing a historic number of Americans wanting one.
Stu Rothenberg, a veteran nonpartisan political analyst, said it’s easy to talk about establishing a third party but almost impossible to do.
“The two major political parties start with huge advantages, including the 50 state parties that have formed over the decades,” he said.
Rothenberg pointed out that third-party presidential candidates, such as John Anderson in 1980 and Ross Perot in 1992 and 1996, failed to form a true third party that became a factor in national politics.
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