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Can the Forward Party Really Take on Democrats and Republicans?

Image of AOC from MSNBC appearance. Image Credit: YouTube Screenshot.
Image of AOC from MSNBC appearance. Image Credit: YouTube Screenshot.

The United States has long followed a two-party system. Now, a group of former Democrats and Republicans, seeming to sense that political revolution is increasingly plausible, have formed a new, centrist party, the Forward Party (FWD). The group leaders – David Jolly, Christine Todd Whitman, and Andrew Yang – release a Washington Post opinion piece explaining the rationale behind forming a new political party now.

“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 … If nothing is done, the United States will not reach its 300th birthday.”

Fair enough. Political extremism is a problem and the two major parties have failed to remedy the crisis. 

Bringing New Hope for the Government

“Americans have lost faith in government,” the FWD op-ed continued. “How do you remedy such a crisis? In a system torn apart by two increasingly divided extremes, you must reintroduce choice and competition.” Again, fair enough.

So far, so good.

“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 Today’s outdated parties have failed by catering to the fringes” the column stated.

Maybe There Are Kinks to Work Out

And here’s where the Forward Party rationale goes sideways: “Today’s outdated parties have failed by catering to the fringes.” The parties cater to the fringes on cultural issues, yes. But that’s not quite the problem. The cultural issues – abortion and marijuana policy – aren’t really driving the ship here. Rather, the problem stems from DNC and GOP alignment on the substantive issues – which breeds frustration, which in turn makes fringe views attractive. The new Forward Party mischaracterizes the problem as the parties being too far apart. The reality is that the parties are too close together. 

The US’s two-party political system is most decidedly broken. With respect to substantive issues, each party – the Republicans and the Democrats – have become difficult to discern from one another; with respect to what matters – from foreign policy to the tax rate – the parties are virtually identical. To draw distinctions, and to compete for voters, the parties rely primarily on cultural issues, like whether trans women should be allowed to play in women’s sports, or whether the B in black should be capitalized. But with respect to the substantive issues, the issues that really affect an American’s quality of life, there’s not much difference between a Bush and a Clinton

The primary problem with the amalgamation of both political parties is that neither party tailors its policies toward benefiting the average American; rather, each party is calibrated toward corporate accommodation – to the detriment of everyday citizens, who, because there is no viable political alternative in our two-party system, lack recourse. The result is the disillusion, anger, and fear that political mainstreamers dismiss as populism, racism, xenophobia, etc. a broken political system, which fails to provide the opportunity to initiate reform, is ripe for revolution in favor of a new system.

Going Forward With a Third Party

The Forward Party believes there is a gaping chasm, sitting in the political center, between the traditional political parties. “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.” 

To illustrate their point, the FWD leaders offer a few examples:

“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 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.”

Okay, great. These are reasonable, politically viable positions. But staking out the middle ground on guns and abortion in no way addresses the issue that supposedly inspired the Forward Party’s mission: saving our democracy.

The group proceeds to lay out their blueprint. 

“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.” 

Protecting our voting rights and our electoral system is great – but what are we voting for, guys? 

Essentially, the Forward Party has identified symptoms without diagnosing the disease – making the group unlikely to be the cure.  

Harrison Kass is the Senior Defense Editor at 19FortyFive. An attorney, pilot, guitarist, and minor pro hockey player, he joined the US Air Force as a Pilot Trainee but was medically discharged. Harrison holds a BA from Lake Forest College, a JD from the University of Oregon, and an MA from New York University. He lives in Oregon and listens to Dokken. Follow him on Twitter @harrison_kass.

Written By

Harrison Kass is a Senior Defense Editor at 19FortyFive. An attorney, pilot, guitarist, and minor pro hockey player, he joined the US Air Force as a Pilot Trainee but was medically discharged. Harrison has degrees from Lake Forest College, the University of Oregon School of Law, and New York University’s Graduate School of Arts & Sciences. He lives in Oregon and regularly listens to Dokken.