As first revealed in an exclusive Reuters article, dozens of former Republican and Democratic officials announced on Wednesday a new national political third party to appeal to millions of voters they say “are dismayed with what they see as America’s dysfunctional two-party system.” Named the Forward Party, it will initially be co-chaired by former Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang and Christine Todd Whitman, the former Republican governor of New Jersey.
Party leaders announced various events in two dozen cities this Fall to roll out the platform and attract supporters. They will host an official launch in Houston on Sept. 24 and the party’s first national convention in a major U.S. city next summer reports Reuters. The merger involves three main groups: the Renew America Movement, formed in 2021 by dozens of former officials in the Republican administrations of Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush, and Donald Trump; the Forward Party, founded by Yang, who 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 Jolly.
The Forward Party claims that it will endorse candidates of both major parties in the 2022 elections who support its policies. Yang stated that the Forward Party will not serve as a spoiler (vote-spitting) because it will endorse any Democrats and Republicans who support the party’s platform. The Forward Party website suggests that candidates affiliated with the Forward Party will likely run as a member of one of the two major parties. However, as of yet, the party has not announced its official policies or issues. Two pillars of the new party’s platform are to “reinvigorate a fair, flourishing economy” and to “give Americans more choices in elections, more confidence in a government that works, and more say in our future.” The party, which is centrist, has no specific policies as said above. The tagline is: “How will we solve the big issues facing America? Not Left. Not Right. Forward.”
In Yang’s 2021 book, Forward: Notes on the Future of Our Democracy, he originally announced the creation of the party. Yang also criticized American political leaders, writing that “our leaders are rewarded based not on solving problems but on accruing resources and retaining office.” The leaders of the party recently cited a Gallup poll last year showing a record two-thirds of Americans believe a third party is needed. Historically, third parties have failed to thrive in America’s two-party system.
Described online previously, the Forward Party (FWD) was a political action committee (PAC) that was seeking to form a new populist and radical centrist political party in the United States, a step that has now seemingly been taken. The PAC, which was founded by former 2020 presidential and 2021 New York City mayoral candidate Andrew Yang, describes its goals as the reduction of partisan polarization and implementing electoral reforms.
In an interview, Yang said the party will start with a budget of about $5 million. It has donors lined up and a grassroots membership between the three merged groups numbering in the hundreds of thousands. “We are starting in a very strong financial position. Financial support will not be a problem,” Yang said.
Miles Taylor – a former Homeland Security official in the Trump administration and involved in the new party – said the idea was to give voters “a viable, credible national third party.” He acknowledged other third parties had failed: “The fundamentals have changed. When other third-party movements have emerged in the past it’s largely been inside a system where the American people aren’t asking for an alternative. The difference here is we are seeing a historic number of Americans saying they want one.” Stu Rothenberg, a veteran non-partisan political analyst, said it was easy to talk about establishing a third party but almost impossible to do so. “The two major political parties start out with huge advantages, including 50 state parties built over decades,”
The 7 candidates that the Forward Party endorsed for the 2022 election cycle all either were eliminated in the primaries or withdrew. Forward aims to gain party registration and ballot access in 30 states by the end of 2023 and in all 50 states by late 2024, in time for the 2024 presidential and congressional elections. It aims to field candidates for local races, such as school boards and city councils, in state houses, the U.S. Congress, and all the way up to the presidency.
Fears have emerged from both sides, with vocal dissent from some Democratic voters, that this new party will draw votes away from close elections and potentially allow the opposite party to win. It is unclear at this point if Yang’s promise of the party not being a spoiler, and splitting votes, will work in practice as he describes.
While the party itself has not announced specific policy positions, here are some previous ones stated, primarily from Andrew Yang or the original PAC:
-Instituting 18-year term limits for members of Congress.
-Establish a new cabinet-level Department of Technology.
-Civic juries and a “citizens’ portal”.
-Supporting data as a property right.
-The PAC calls for an economy based on “human-centered capitalism”, the enactment of universal basic income, and support for alternative forms of measuring economic progress.
-Advocating automatic tax filing.
-Supporting implementation of a universal health care system.
-Encouraging states to adopt nonpartisan primaries and implement ranked-choice voting.
-Independent redistricting commissions and public finance reform in the form of democracy dollars.
-The party encourages people to maintain their membership in the Democratic and Republican parties so as to not disenfranchise them by leaving them unable to vote in party primaries. As a consequence, the Forward Party plans to endorse candidates from both parties as well as independents who advocate for the core values rather than field their own.