Andrew Yang Announces Merger with Two Other Political Parties to re-establish the Forward Party

On Wednesday, July 27th, Forward Party founder Andrew Yang announced something interesting – the merger of three third party political parties into one, under the brand of the Forward Party:

“Today, I have some incredibly exciting news: The Forward Party is merging with two phenomenal organizations—the Serve America Movement (SAM) and the Renew America Movement (RAM)!  The new Forward Party will immediately be the biggest third party in the country by resources at the time you read this.

That’s right—the new Forward Party is now the biggest third party in the country!  Our reach will expand very quickly.  We are already on the ballot in several states with a goal of 15 states by the end of this year, twice that number in ’23 and all 50 in ‘24.

I now have amazing new colleagues who have been working their hearts out to put our country on a better path for years.  One of them is David Jolly, a former Member of Congress from Florida who has been leading SAM.  Another is Miles Taylor, formerly known as Anonymous, who has been leading RAM.  Former NJ Governor and Cabinet member Christie Todd Whitman (a Republican who endorsed Joe Biden in 2020), former Congressman Joe Sestak, Reverend Ira Acree of Chicago, and many others are part of the Leadership Circle, with many more on the way. “

I saw Andrew again at a fundraising event in the San Francisco Bay Area last week where I was helping out taking some photos and videos where Andrew was endorsing a candidate. Later that evening, Andrew mentioned that he had some news to tell me. After getting home that evening, I emailed him the link to the photos & videos I took, and he replied the next morning asking if I was free for lunch the following day. I said yes, as I was free of any meetings that day! I got a high level heads-up from Andrew the week before when we had lunch:

To be honest, I had never heard of the Serve America Movement (SAM) and the Renew America Movement (RAM) before, but I had heard of former NJ Governor and Cabinet member Christie Todd Whitman, which I thought was a big deal. Christie Todd Whitman was a “normal” Republican who was on the shortlist to be a potential Vice Presidential running mate for then presidential candidate George W. Bush in 2000.

Along with the Forward Party announcement, Yang, Whitman and Jolly penned an opinion piece in The Washington Post: ‘Most third parties have failed. Here’s why ours won’t.’

“Most third parties in U.S. history failed to take off, either because they were idelologically 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.

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.”

When I first posted the news about the Forward Party on Facebook, a friend expressed concerns that this would fracture the Democratic vote. I understand that concern – I’m a Democrat myself. But I also sense from the Republican / conservative friends I have (believe it or not), there are a LOT of “normal” Republicans (non-election deniars) who wonder “What happened to the Republican Party?” and are politically homeless.

I think among some Democrats, there might be concerns of the “woke” far Left, but I sense that there is a much larger disatisified silent faction of the right and conservatives that have been abandoned – where even former establishment Republican pundits, columnists, political consultants like George Will, Max Boot, Stuart Stevens (author of ‘It Was All a Lie – How the Republican Party Became Donald Trump’) or even former Tea Party Republican Joe Walsh (who I love on Twitter) have renounced their party memebership.

So I am not so worried about the spoiler effect at least when it comes to the possibility of Trump being re-elected. Perhaps Trump will be in prison before 2024, or at the very least, be unable to run for re-election for having violated the 14th amendment:

“No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice-President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any state, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof.”

If you’ve watched the January 6th hearings or even listened to Trump’s infamous Georgia recorded phone call, it’s pretty clear that Trump was trying to overturn the 2020 election results.

David Jolly, a former Republican congressman from Florida who was the executive chairman of the Serve America Movement now folded into the Forward Party, gives a good overview of the Forward Party and expressly answers that the party is not looking to put up a presidential candidate in 2024 (we’ll see about that – but I imagine it has to do more with the logistics of getting the Party established by then to make a viable run).

Obviously, there is some skepticism regarding this new effort by the Forward Party, as with any third political party or with Andrew Yang’s efforts. But having met and interviewed Andrew back in August 2018, you know, I had my doubts that Andrew could have made it as far as he did during his presidential run. I mean, the Forward Party is less than a year old – and two polical parties have decided to merge with it and take on the Forward Party brand, and that Andrew continues to be part of the conversation in at least political cricles when many of the 2020 potential presidential Democratic candidates have been long gone from public or political discourse.

The odds are against creating a viable third party, and even if it works, it will take time. Will Andrew Yang and his partners and supporter succeed – who knows? But in a democratic society, we should have more inclusion for more voices, and if that means others want to form their own new poltitical party, we should let them.

Having watched this The Hill piece, I overall agree with their assessment:

Personally, I am all for open primaries along with ranked choice voting – with this combination, the possibilities of a “wasted” vote or a spoiler candidate that takes away votes more from one said than the other, is mitigated (at least in theory). Although Yang was a presidential Democratic candidate, he did find appeal from some Libertarians and Republicans (and even some Trump Republicans).

At the end of the day, increasingly Americans are sick and tired of politics. As a Democrat, of course I like to blame mostly the Republicans. But for your everyday American who doesn’t follow politics – they don’t care what political party is in power – in the sense that, what they want their government to do, is to solve problems. Whether or not the Forward Party is a solution to trying to find a sensible center to break the duopoly of the Democratic and Republican Party, we’ll have to wait and see.

And whether or not Andrew Yang runs for president on the Forward Party in 2024 (which would be an ambitious goal to get the Forward Party established in all 50 states – as well as be selected as the nominee of the party), I’m all for an Asian American president who would just want to get stuff done and solve problems, like what Ronny Chieng’s standup bit here:

Best of luck to Andrew Yang on trying to make a difference in our broken political system.

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About John

I'm a Taiwanese-American and was born & raised in Western Massachusetts, went to college in upstate New York, worked in Connecticut, went to grad school in North Carolina and then moved out to the Bay Area in 1999 and have been living here ever since - love the weather and almost everything about the area (except the high cost of housing...)
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