By Tim Reid
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Dozens of former Republican and Democratic officials will announce a new third national political party on Wednesday to appeal to millions of voters who they say are dismayed by what they see as America’s dysfunctional two-party system.
The new party, called Forward, will initially be co-chaired by former Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang and Christine Todd Whitman, a former Republican governor of New Jersey. They hope the party will become a viable alternative to the Republican and Democratic parties that dominate US politics, the founding members told Reuters.
Party leaders will hold a series of events in two dozen cities this fall to present their platform and attract support. They will host an official launch in Houston on September 24 and the party’s first national convention in a major US city next summer.
The new party is formed from the merger of three political groups that have emerged in recent years in reaction to the increasingly polarized and stagnant political system in the United States. The leaders cited a Gallup poll from last year that showed a record two-thirds of Americans who believe a third is needed.
The merger involves the Renew America Movement, formed in 2021 by dozens of former officials from the Republican administrations of Ronald Reagan, George HW Bush, George W. Bush and Donald Trump; the Forward Party, founded by Yang, who left the Democratic Party in 2021 and became independent; and the Serve America Movement, a group of Democrats, Republicans and independents founded by former Republican congressman David Jolly.
Two pillars of the new party’s platform are “reinvigorating a fair and prosperous economy” and “giving Americans more choice in elections, more confidence in a government that works, and more of a say in our future.”
The party, which is centrist, does not yet have specific policies. He will say at his launch on Thursday: “How do we solve the big problems facing America? Not to the left. Not to the right. Go ahead.”
Historically, third parties have not thrived in the American two-party system. From time to time they can affect a presidential election. Analysts say the Green Party’s Ralph Nader siphoned enough votes from Democratic presidential candidate Al Gore in 2000 to help Republican George W. Bush win the White House.
It is not clear how the new Forward party could affect the electoral prospects of either party in such a deeply polarized country. Political analysts are skeptical that he can succeed.
Forward aims to gain party registration and ballot access in 30 states by the end of 2023 and in all 50 states by the end of 2024, in time for the 2024 presidential and congressional elections. Its goal is to field candidates for local careers, such as school boards and city councils, in state houses, the US Congress, and all the way to the presidency.
`THE FUNDAMENTALS HAVE CHANGED`
In an interview, Yang said that the party will start with a budget of around $5 million. She has aligned donors and a grassroots membership among the three merged groups numbering in the hundreds of thousands.
“We are starting in a very strong financial position. Financial support will not be a problem,” Yang said.
Another person involved in creating Forward, Miles Taylor, a former Homeland Security official in the Trump administration, said the idea was to provide voters with “a viable and credible national third party.”
Taylor acknowledged that third parties had failed in the past, but said, “The fundamentals have changed. When other third party movements have emerged in the past, it has largely been within a system where the American people are not asking for an alternative.” . The difference here we’re seeing a historic number of Americans saying they want one.”
Stu Rothenberg, a veteran nonpartisan political analyst, said it was easy to talk about setting up a third party but almost impossible to do so.
“The two main political parties start with huge advantages, including 50 state parties built over decades,” he said.
Rothenberg pointed out that third-party presidential candidates like John Anderson in 1980 and Ross Perot in 1992 and 1996 failed, failing to build a true third party that would become a factor in national politics.
(Reporting by Tim Reid, editing by Ross Colvin and Cynthia Osterman)