(The Center Square) Three public figures who tout themselves as “moderates” have created a third political party, the Forward Party, arguing “more unites us than divides us,” according to its website.
It was founded by Democrat Andrew Yang, who ran for New York City mayor in 2021 and for president in 2020; former Republican New Jersey Gov. Christine Todd Whitman; and former Republican Florida Congressman David Jolly.
“The rigid, top-down, one-size-fits-all platforms of the outdated political parties are drifting toward the fringes, making solutions impossible,” they argue. “We stand for doing, not dividing. That means rejecting the far Left and far Right and pursuing common ground.”
The party says it “celebrates diverse viewpoints and creativity—welcoming Democrats, Republicans, and Independents who are committed to rejecting the extremes and solving problems.”
While Yang—a former businessman and venture capitalist by trade—claimed during his presidential run to be a centrist (and was relative to many others in the candidate pool), his signature policy proposal was a socialist-inspired “universal basic income” that would function as a sort of welfare on steroids, further disincentivizing the workforce while leaving Americans beholden to the government in a sort of modern-day serfdom.
Whitman and Jolly are both notoriously disloyal GOP members who effectively renounced the party identification after former President Donald Trump refashioned it to accommodate conservatives’ growing anti-establishment sentiments.
As a result, its platform may be the worst of both worlds—incorporating some of the fringe-Left’s most radical ideas while mainlining them into a swampy big-government model that advocates for strong, centralized federal regulation that’s beholden to Wall Street and special-interest lobbying groups.
Politically speaking, with most conservatives having coalesced around the Trumpian populist movement against big government, Republicans could stand to gain from a party that poaches more from the Democrats’ pro-establishment wing (including disaffected RINOs who already cast off their GOP loyalties prior to the 2020 election).
Nonetheless,its timing fuels suspicions the Forward Party may be part of a well-funded and coordinated effort to mitigate GOP-friendly backlash against Biden Democrats in the 2024 election.
Some have already predicted the effort is doomed to fail since it “is unlikely to appeal to almost anyone.”
However, in an op-ed published in the Washington Post, the founders argued that “most third parties have failed” and their party won’t because it will unity the “majority of Americans who want to move past divisiveness and reject extremism.”
Third parties that failed did so “because they were ideologically too narrow or the population was uninterested.”
They point to a Gallup poll published last February that found 62% said a third party was needed, up from 57% last September.
According to the poll, “a record-high 63% of Republicans favor a third party” and roughly half of those surveyed consider themselves independents.
The leaders of the new party say that of the more than 500,000 elected positions nationwide, many could be won by Forward Party candidates.
According to a recent study, more than 70% of races on ballots in 2020 were unopposed or uncontested, and only a fraction of congressional races will be close in November, perhaps suggesting there is an opportunity for third party candidates to win these races.
The new party’s leaders are inviting people of all political backgrounds to join the Forward Party “without abandoning their existing political affiliations.” They plan to hold a national convention next summer.
Forward politicians “will spend the 2020s and beyond working to repair America’s broken political system,” they say on their website.
The party will also apply to be on the ballot in every state and first run candidates in 2024. They are “actively recruiting” former members of Congress, governors, entrepreneurs, political operatives and community leaders.
Headline USA’s Ben Sellers contributed to this report.