The Thursday Politics Thread Twirls Toward Freedom

Mornin’ Politocadoes!

Andrew Yang has popped back up with his new national third party alternative, The Forward Party. Yang, a former Democratic Presidential (and Mayoral) candidate known for his support of Universal Basic Income and a striking inability to understand the repercussions of climate change during a debate, left the Democratic Party in 2021 with a promise that he’d found his own party. With Black Jack. And hookers.

Actually wait, no. Shut it down. I’m not gonna give him a Bender reference. He’s definitely the type of goober who’d think it was actually in praise of him.

The Forward Party has no actual platform at the moment. There are only vague promises like wanting to “reinvigorate a fair, flourishing economy” and to “give Americans more choices in elections, more confidence in a government that works, and more say in our future.”

Maybe this means, they’ll propose balancing the budget, direct election of the President by popular vote, term limits in Congress and treat Federal elections as holidays!

Hey look, it’s the last time a Third Party tried to effectively form on a national level based on being a party of centrist, moderate political thought that wanted to avoid taking stances on controversial issues that would appeal to people on bOtH SiDes!

For those playing at home, the Reform Party did not win a single electoral vote, Perot was excluded from the Presidential debate, and it was cannibalized by Pat Buchanan and his minions, pushing the party into more traditionally conservative political views including staunch opposition to abortion in 2001. A tug of war continued in the 2000s as it descended into irrelevancy. It still exists, technically. Rocky De La Fuente was their 2020 candidate!

The Forward Party seems to be operating under the assumption that things have fundamentally changed. Miles Taylor, a former Trump Homeland Security official involved in the party’s creation, seems to think that when third parties were formed in the past, people weren’t asking for an alternative.

The fundamentals have changed. When other third party movements have emerged in the past it’s largely been inside a system where the American people aren’t asking for an alternative. The difference here is we are seeing an historic number of Americans saying they want one.”

Miles Taylor. A man involved in government who has clearly never studied it.

And, like, I’m just gonna vaguely gesture to the gif from a 26 year old episode of the Simpsons above. Third Parties always form in response to wanting an alternative to our 2 party, first-past-the-post system. It’s in the fucking name! We have two big tent parties that have to funnel the political desires of the entire country into easily digestible vibes for increasingly polarized country. And the system is to one degree or another built to accommodate that bifurcation. Effective third parties form from the rump of a dying political party and eventually rise to counter the other political party. Lincoln was a Whig before Republicans were a thing.

What’s different with Forward from modern third party efforts is that there doesn’t seem to be a single unifying leader. It’s created from three smaller groups: the Renew America movement, the Serve America movement, and Yang’s own Forward Party. Earlier examples, like The Reform Party, would not have existed had it not been for the dark horse candidacy of Ross Perot in 1992. The Green Party only really made itself known on the Federal level when Ralph Nader siphoned off enough votes from Al Gore in 2000 or Jill Stein in 2016 to change political history forever. Perhaps it’s Yang. But it doesn’t feel like he’s got the juice that someone like Perot had post 1992. Major third parties almost always play the spoiler to one party or another. It is what they do.

They seem to determined to make the party an effective alternative at the local, state, and federal levels. With a budget of five million dollars they hope to build grassroots organizations around the country, registering voters and getting candidates in across the country. Under what organizing principles you ask? Twirling, twirling, twirlllling towards Freedom!

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