You hear it all the time. People say both parties are drifting too far to the extremes, listening to well-heeled fringe voices instead of the vast majority of moderate supporters. There’s a general sense that the nation’s two-party system is in trouble, with fewer and fewer voters feeling represented by either party. But, well, they’re the only parties in town! What are you supposed to do? A new group has a solution: Start another party.
Reuters reports that a group of former Republicans and former Democrats are joining forces to create “Forward” — a new Centrist party that will seek to advocate for voters who feel the other options have drifted too far from the middle for them. It will be co-chaired by former Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang and former Republican governor of New Jersey Christine Todd Whitman.
An official launch this fall in Houston, Texas, will be followed by a series of events across the nation, seeking to attract new voters. Party leadership pointed out a Gallup poll that said two-thirds of Americans want a third party, so why not give the people what they want?
This party is made up of some interesting orphans from the Right and the Left. Yang is the biggest name, but also the only prominent former Democrat on the list. Reuters says the merger is led by 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” and “the Serve America Movement, a group of Democrats, Republicans and independents whose executive director is former Republican congressman David Jolly.”
The party doesn’t have any specific policy proposals yet, but says it wants to “reinvigorate a fair, flourishing economy” and “give Americans more choices in elections, more confidence in a government that works, and more say in our future.” It also has a slogan: “How will we solve the big issues facing America? Not Left. Not Right. Forward.”
The Forward Party isn’t the first third party to make a play for disenfranchised voters. In 2000, the Green Party wasn’t a serious threat to either Democratic presidential candidate Al Gore or Republican George W. Bush, but analysts say the Green Party may have siphoned just enough votes away from Gore’s campaign to tip the odds for Bush. Historically, Democrats are more likely to lend their vote to third party challengers than Republicans are.
Starting a third party is an enormous undertaking, involving taking on some of the wealthiest, most powerful institutions in the American history with decades (if not centuries) of infrastructure and organization. But the Forward Party is certainly correct on one thing: Americans say they want another option on the ballot. Time will tell if they are the answer Americans have been waiting for.