Andrew Yang & Moving Forward Together with the Common Sense Party – San Francisco (4/21/23)

Speakers in the video above – in order of appearance: (click on “Watch on YouTube” for entire timestamped video segments in the video description)

  • Sara Lashanlo, Northern California Volunteer Coordinator, Common Sense Party
  • Andrew Yang, Co-Chair, Forward Party
  • Tom Campbell, Chair, Common Sense Party
  • Quentin Kopp, co-founder of Common Sense Party, former San Francisco Board of Supervisor, California State Senator, California (San Mateo) Superior Court judge
  • Lindsey Williams Drath, Forward Party
  • CEO Governor Christine Todd Whitman, Co-Chair, Forward Party

I am woefully late in this blog post that I have been working on since April (though I did publish the video shortly after the event), but back on Friday, April 21st in San Francisco, Andrew Yang, co-chair of the Forward Party joined with co-chair former Governor of New Jersey, Christine Todd Whitman, to promote the Common Sense Party in California. When I first saw the news that Yang & Whitman were visiting both San Francisco and Los Angeles regarding this, I was a little confused.

The political press didn’t report much on the alliance of the two parties, and I didn’t see the press release back in January (‘Common Sense Party and Forward Party Join Forces in California’):

“In a move to empower independent-minded California voters, the Common Sense Party and Forward Party of California are combining efforts to change politics in the Golden State for the better. Using the ‘Common Sense Party’ name, this new political coalition is the future for independent-minded and solutions-oriented politics in California. This joint effort reflects a commitment to unleashing the political power of state and local leaders to better represent our diverse communities through common sense problem solving in government. … Under California law, new parties must register approximately 73k voters to be officially recognized as a political party in the state. Forward Party members in California will now register for the Common Sense Party, joining the already nearly 30k registered Common Sense Party voters. Volunteers across the state will be able to work together at the grassroots level, leading through our shared values of cooperation and problem solving.”

I was able to attend this event in San Francisco to learn more about this coalition and also meet and interview both Yang and Whitman. You can watch the whole event in the video above and my interview below.

The Common Sense Party was founded as a centrist political party that also focuses on practical solutions to real-world problems. The party was founded in 2020 by a group of California residents who were tired of the partisan bickering and gridlock that had become commonplace in the state’s politics.

The collaboration between the Forward Party and the Common Sense Party is practical in itself, and Yang even hinted at the event (you can see in the video above), that once the Common Sense Party is recognize by the State of California as an official political party, that it might even change its name to Forward Party. The real challenge is to get recognized with enough California registered voters by the fall – thus the outreach by Yang and Whitman for these live events in SF & LA.

Prior to interviewing Yang and Whitman, I did get a chance to briefly chat with the former Governor. I had asked Governor Chritine Todd Whitman how she decided to merge her efforts in the Renew America Movement with the Forward Party. She said essentially both Yang and herself were trying to accomplish the same thing.

Although they might not agree a lot of a lot of policy fronts, Whitman and Yang both believe that Americans increasingly were being turned off by the increased polarization of both the Left and the Right, especially at the extremes. They also both believe that the duopoly of the Democratic and Republican political parties prevented compromise in the middle.

I mentioned I was born and raised in Western Massachusetts and returned to the area after college, and I remember moderate Republicans like former Republican Governor of Massachusetts William (Bill) Weld – along with the famous civil debates between Weld when he was running against incumbant Senator John Kerry for Senate back in 1996.

Below is the interview with Yang and Whitman. My apoligies to both of them because for some reason, my video camera seemed to really highlight the music playing in the background and seems a whole lot louder than when I was actually doing the interview. You can hear Yang and myself okay because we spoke loudly enough, but Whitman was softspoken. But essentially, she reiterates what I had asked her and had written above, along with her remarks at the event videotaped above.

Andrew also gave a shout out to Asian American viewers specifically, because 8Asians is primarily targeted to this group. He sensed, and I agree, that generally, Asian Americans are not very ideologically driven but more practically driven and that in California, if you don’t like what the Democrats are doing and don’t want to vote for Republicans, you really don’t have a choice.

At the very end, because Yang ran on Universal Basic Income as a presidential candidate – partly because of the rise of automation and the future need for UBI, I had to ask him about what everyone in Silicon Valley has been talking about, which has been ChatGTP4 and the rise of Artificial Intelligence.

In any case, it will be really interesting to see if the Common Sense Party can get enough signatures to be recognized as a party. At first, I was wondering why signatures needed to be submitted by October, then realized that California Primary has been moved up to March.

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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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