LOS ANGELES – Dozens of former Republican and Democratic officials on Wednesday announced a new third national political party to appeal to millions of voters who say they resent what they see as America’s dysfunctional two-party system.
The new party, called Forward and first announced by Reuters, will be jointly chaired Former Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang and Kristen Todd Whitman, Former Republican Governor of New Jersey. Founding members told Reuters they hoped the party would become a viable alternative to the Republican and Democratic parties that dominate US politics.
Party leaders will hold a series of events in more than two dozen cities this fall to launch its platform and attract support. They will host a formal launch event 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 the merger of three political groups that have emerged in recent years as a response to the increasingly polarized and closed American political system. Leaders cited a Gallup poll last year that showed two-thirds of Americans believe a third party is needed.
The merger includes 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; Forward Party, founded by Yang, who left the Democratic Party in 2021 and became independent; and Surf America, a group of Democrats, Republicans, and independents whose CEO is former Republican Congressman David Jolly.
Two pillars of the new party’s platform are “revitalizing a just and prosperous economy” and “giving Americans more choice in elections, more confidence in effective government, and more say in our future.”
The centrist party does not have specific policies yet. And it will say when it is launched on Thursday: “How are we going to solve the major issues facing America? There is nothing left. It is not right. Forward.”
Historically, third parties have failed to thrive in America’s two-party system. From time to time they can influence the presidential election. Analysts say Ralph Nader of the Green Party took enough votes 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 the electoral prospects of either party in such a highly polarized country. Political analysts doubt its success.
The audience reaction on Twitter was swift. Several Democrats on the social media platform have expressed concerns that the new party will pull more votes away from Democrats, rather than Republicans, and end up helping Republicans in tight races.
Forward aims to have 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, into state homes, the U.S. Congress, and all the way up to the presidency.
In an interview, Yang said the party will start with a budget of about $5 million. Donors and al-Qaeda membership have aligned themselves among 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.
Another person who co-created Forward, Miles Taylor – a former Homeland Security official in the Trump administration – said the idea was to give voters a “credible and viable national third party.”
Taylor acknowledged that third parties have failed in the past, but said, “The fundamentals have changed. When other third party movements have emerged in the past, they have been largely within a system where the American people do not demand a replacement. The difference here is that we see a historical number of Americans saying that they They want one.”
Stu Rothenberg, a veteran nonpartisan political analyst, said it was easy to talk about creating a third party but nearly impossible to do.
“The two major political parties are starting with huge advantages, including 50 government parties built over decades,” he said.
Rothenberg noted that third-party presidential candidates such as John Anderson in 1980 and Ross Perot in 1992 and 1996 had come under attack, failing to build a genuine third party that became a factor in national politics.
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