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The new Forward Party is ridiculous


Kenny
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Andrew Yang, David Jolly and Christine Todd Whitman are starting a third party, called Forward. Sheer idiocy. When you don't know what "the problem" is, your "solution" will be ridiculous.

The Forward Party’s diagnosis (“polarization is bad!”) and vision (“let’s do unity in the middle!”) may sound good in a vacuum, but they are entirely detached from the empirical reality of the political situation and the actual nature of the political conflict.

Politics are NOT, in fact, polarized.

Big majorities of Americans are on the same page about virtually all the day's major issues -- abortion, 2nd Amendment curbs, Social Security, pandemic response, taxation on the rich and corporations, Obamacare, climate change and on and on. The problem is not polarization, it's minority rule. Majorities are in general agreement, but a minority has the power to block them. The Forward Party thinks that both right and left have become extreme, which isn't true.

The “polarization / both sides are so extreme” narrative that Forward is propagating completely obscures the fact that on the central issue that is at the core of the political conflict, the two parties are very much not the same. And that issue is democracy.

The social, political, and cultural divides are inextricably linked with the struggle over democracy. The central conflict is the one between a vision of traditional, white, Christian, patriarchal authority versus one of egalitarian, multiracial, pluralistic democracy. Look around on this Forum, and that divide is as plain as day.

Democracy itself has become a partisan issue. Republicans are willing to abandon and overthrow democracy because they consider it a threat to traditional hierarchies and their vision of what “real” (read: white Christian patriarchal) America should be. Many of them are embracing authoritarianism. Democrats are not.

One party is dominated by a white reactionary minority that is rapidly radicalizing against democracy and will no longer accept the principle of majoritarian rule; the other thinks democracy and constitutional government should be upheld. That’s not “polarization.” The “polarization” framework allows Forward to lament major problems in American politics – problems to which they then claim to have the only viable solution – without addressing the fact that the major threat to American democracy is a radicalizing Right.

Throughout U.S. history, the price for extending democracy and civil rights has always been political instability - or “division” - because demands for equality are inherently destabilizing to a political order of white elite rule. The nostalgic desire for “unity” is and always has been a conservative move to block the spread of civil rights. If one side wants to preserve democracy (a democracy that is severely flawed, but at least offers the potential for improvement towards egalitarian, multiracial, pluralistic order) and the other doesn’t, “meeting in the middle” is not value neutral.

The Forward promise assumes that, deep down, we all want the same for the country, we just disagree on how to get there, but we can reconcile our differences and find a consensual solution – a win-win for everybody! That's just wrong. No such consensus exists. Conservatives pursue a reactionary vision that is fundamentally incompatible with the interests of most people in the Democratic coalition, rejected by the majority of Americans – and therefore increasingly incompatible with democracy itself.

The Forward Party is ridiculous.

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I respectfully disagree.

The problem with the present evolution of the two-party system is it gives an outsized voice to the extremes in both parties. Let's suppose 50% of us agree on most issues, which is sometimes what the Dems advocate and sometimes what the Reps advocate. Neither party really advocates the needs of that fifty percent, so they begrudgingly vote for one party or the other. In addition, the two party's extreme sides control big chunks of money that the candidates only see if the attract the extreme views of those active in the party.

In the primary, candidates work hardest to attract the more extreme voters. These are partisans who are more likely to vote in primaries. This is how we wind up with candidates like AOC, Matt Gaetz, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. In the general election the majority of voters have to choose between two candidates who do not reflect their views. A candidate who really only represents the views of one quarter of the electorate is going to win. There is no candidate speaking to the majority of us who want non-partisans who evaluate each issue on its merits.

Trump/Clinton 2016 is the perfect example. The two parties nominated a xenophobic, sexist, crooked blowhard and a lying partisan with no previous success but many failures and extremely questionable ethics. The majority did not want either one, yet the partisanship of the two-party system left us with no other choice. BTW, we may be about to experience this again with a Biden/Trump rematch. 

Consider abortion. Most of us agree that abortion should not be outlawed completely yet do not object to some restrictions, such as non-partisan counseling prior to an abortion and limits on very late term abortions. Neither side gives us full honest information, such as there being no scientific proof of when life begins or that the majority of late term abortions are due to severe medical issues with either the mother or the fetus. Our two-party system makes it difficult to elect candidates who represent the middle ground. We should not have to choose between legal abortions or a policy that allows safe immigration and closes the fentanyl pipeline. Under the current system it is one or the other because common sense middle ground candidates cannot win primaries. 

I applaud Yang, Whitman and Jolly effort. 

Edited by CJK
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I agree with @CJK.   I think the extremes are the problem and pandering to the extremes is the weakness in the system.   While remembering that our system is intentionally designed to protect the rights of the minority from the tyranny of the majority, I continue to believe that the most powerful group of people in the system is the moderate 15%.     This effort, while honorable in intent, is just a calmer version of Trump - albeit without the mean tweets, narcissism, and insults.

 

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3 hours ago, CJK said:

the two-party system is it gives an outsized voice to the extremes in both parties

Respectful or not: If, given your example, you think Hillary Clinton represents "the extremes" of the Democratic Party, there's not much reason to engage in conversation over the idiocy of Forward.

 

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1 hour ago, Kenny said:

Respectful or not: If, given your example, you think Hillary Clinton represents "the extremes" of the Democratic Party, there's not much reason to engage in conversation over the idiocy of Forward.

 

Hillary Clinton was so disliked by so much of the general electorate that while she could squeak a primary win, she never had any chance to win a general election. 

This illustrates the flaw in letting two partisan sides choose the nominees. They will each pick someone who is unacceptable to the majority. While the Dems were willing to overlook her lack of accomplishments, her ability to screw up anything she touched, her corruption and her flip-flopping, the result of her being nominated is many people voted for Trump as, in their opinions, the lesser of two very, very bad choices. Had there been a credible third-party centrist candidate he or she would have likely beaten both Clinton and Trump. 

We used to get more centrist nominees, like Bill Clinton, John McCain, Barack Obama the candidate and Mitt Romney. They might not have been liked by everyone on the other side but were liked by enough on both sides to be credible choices, even the ones who lost the general election. Those days seem to be gone. The Reps are freezing out centrists like Kinzinger, Cheney and Romney and embracing the MAGA fringe while the Dems are embracing the hard left like AOC, Sanders and Omar while freezing out centrists like Manchin and Sinema.

Edited by CJK
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Its true that for various reasons Hillary Clinton was and is disliked by a lot of people, but none of those reasons have anything to do with extreme positions on the issues.  She and her husband are both about as centrist as it gets in American politics.  On the other hand, to label Liz Cheney a centrist is just weird.  

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I disagree with @Kenny that this proposed party is ridiculous but in the US political system it is simply unrealistic. Like any party outside the duopoly it can do little apart from being a spoiler to one or other of the big two. Most races are decided by a plurality in a single member district, if one candidate is ahead on 40% of the vote there is no easy way for the other 60% to say 'no' so almost all votes end up R v D.

Even if minor parties could win some legislature seats, that has no influence in who forms the executive (unlike in Parliamentary systems), and unless they prevent either main party having a legislative majority they have limited overall influence.

Viewed from afar there are other characteristics of US politics that make minor party progress unrealistic. The two big parties tend to function as big tents, and issues tend to migrate to one or other rather than create a separate political identity. Add to this, many people see their party affiliation as part of their identity even if they vote differently on occasions.

In this environment 'new parties' seem to try to build from the top, and as in this case, start with a prominent figure at the head. The Greens seem to have an enduring candidate but no grass-roots organisation. They have not done what the Australian Greens did and campaign for (and win) seats on local councils and then state Parliaments (they now have two senators of the 12 in each state and four MPs in the Reps, and are part of the government in the ACT).

Something may well need to be done to disrupt the current comfortable cartel but a couple of bros and their friends running for president (or some high profile office) isn't the way to do it. Their idea may not be ridiculous but the execution probably qualifies as such.

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5 hours ago, mike carey said:

his proposed party is ridiculous but in the US political system it is simply unrealistic.

You are quite correct that in the US political system, the Forward Party is unrealistic, its only potential impact being as a spoiler. Take the similarly ridiculous attempt by Ralph Nader and the Green Party in 2000, who succeeded in helping to put the incompetent George W Bush and the evil Dick Cheney into the White House; we've been dealing with that wreckage ever since.

Your actually beef is with the two-party system. That, however, is the structural reality -- and it makes the formation of the Forward Party now, at a moment of unprecedented crisis, ridiculous all by itself.

What makes the present reality different from the past is its asymmetry. One party has embraced extremism (sometimes violent) and is wholly anti-democratic; the other remains committed to democracy. For the first time in American history, we do not have two parties with the same aim, which is the maintenance and progress of democracy, although surely to be achieved by different means. The abstract ideal of a third party does zero to address this critical problem.

The failure of Jolly, Yang & Whitman to recognize and assess the current political landscape partly explains why none of them currently holds a shred of political power, as well as why their launch of the Forward Party is, in fact, ridiculous.

Edited by Kenny
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1 hour ago, Kenny said:

What makes the present reality different from the past is its asymmetry. One party has embraced extremism (sometimes violent) and is wholly anti-democratic; the other remains committed to democracy.

That is clearly a dogma driven assertion and far from the perception of most americans.   It seems that you simply don't like the outcome of a system that's been in place for nearly a quarter of a millenium - so your response is to call it undemocratic.

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As someone who's been a third party supporter all of my adult life...I am always amused by commentary like Kenny's. "You know what's wrong with America ? The Republicans" .  Ummm. NO.

One needs to bury his head pretty deep to think the Democrat party isn't playing most of the same BIG BUSINESS back room deals as the Republicans. The only difference is the smoke screen they both put up as political theater. 

Kenny likes the narrative of the Democrat party and does what too many do: Picks a side and the ignores all the problems with that side.

Yes we do need a viable third party entity. The problem is getting there. Trump's detractors are an example of what happens when an outsider disrupts the crony cash flow. Although anyone would agree that Trump is and always has been a pompous ass...the various fake stories about Russian Collusion, serial rapist and violent overthrow of the government are widely promoted exaggerated stories meant to discourage anyone from trying to upset the system again by sneaking in from outside the DC cronyism club.

Edited by pubic_assistance
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The irony of the US Constitution is that it was designed by a group of delegates who frequently voiced their opposition to the idea of political parties, and thought they were designing a framework that could work without parties. That was largely because they were all free white men of the "better" social class, who believed that although they might have disagreements, they all shared the same basic beliefs and values. They were proved wrong almost immediately: within a decade they were splitting into two opposed groups with party labels. The desire for a third party that represents some "centrist majority" is something that never seems to go away, but always remains a phantasm. Human nature seems to prefer a choice between two poles rather than three.

The other problem is that people vote for individuals rather than parties. Many voters are more interested in personalities than policies. That is another irony of the Constitution: the Founding Fathers assumed that voters would always unite behind the most admirable characters for political office, men notable for their achievements, namely men like themselves☺️. Unfortunately, many voters know (and apparently care) more about a candidate's image than his/her/their positions on most issues. Parties come to be defined by their most colorful personalities, and many supporters are little more than personality cultists. The leaders of "centrist" third parties in the US are almost always rather colorless, so they draw less fervent supporters. So good luck to Yang, Jolly and Whitman (who?)

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2 hours ago, pubic_assistance said:

As someone who's been a third party supporter all of my adult life...

LOL. Congratulations on your success!

3 hours ago, BnaC said:

That is clearly a dogma driven assertion and far from the perception of most americans. 

LOL. On average, per Gallup, Americans estimate one in four people in this country to be gay or lesbian. They are wrong about that, too.

 

1 hour ago, Charlie said:

The irony of the US Constitution is that it was designed by a group of delegates who frequently voiced their opposition to the idea of political parties, and thought they were designing a framework that could work without parties. That was largely because they were all free white men of the "better" social class, who believed that although they might have disagreements, they all shared the same basic beliefs and values.

Yes, indeed! The Constitution is trash.

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49 minutes ago, Kenny said:

Congratulations on your success!

Thank you

The last 30 year HAVE been very successful !

As of 2021: Libertarians are the third-largest political party in the United States by voter registration. In the 2020 election the Libertarians gained a seat in the Wyoming House of Representatives, giving them their first state legislative win since 2000. As of March 2022, there were 353 Libertarians holding elected office: 214 of them partisan offices and 139 of them non-partisan offices. There are 693,634 voters registered as Libertarian in the 31 states that report Libertarian registration statistics.

The Libertarian Party is the only third party entity that has been successful enough to gain permanent ballot access to all 50 states' Presidential elections.

Edited by pubic_assistance
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47 minutes ago, Kenny said:

LOL. Congratulations on your success!

LOL. On average, per Gallup, Americans estimate one in four people in this country to be gay or lesbian. They are wrong about that, too.

 

Yes, indeed! The Constitution is trash.

The Constitution is certainly not trash, but the assumptions that the designers made about how some of its mechanisms would work were obviously mistaken.

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4 hours ago, pubic_assistance said:

There are 693,634 voters registered as Libertarian in the 31 states that report Libertarian registration statistics.

Fantastic! There were 168 million registered voters in the last presidential election. That means about one in every 250 voters is reported Libertarian You're on your way!

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4 hours ago, Charlie said:

The Constitution is certainly not trash

Actually, it certainly is trash -- especially if you're Black, female and/or LGBTQ and have spent big chunks of the last several hundred years trying to fix the mess the Constitution made for you, only to have conservative a-holes keep knocking you back.

For reference, I highly recommend Elie Mystal's recent best-seller, "Allow Me to Retort: A Black Guy's Guide to the Constitution." He sorts the trash in a readable, often funny, finally chastening manner.

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The Libertarian Party first got on the ballot in all 50 states in 1980, when they selected as their VP candidate one David Koch (yes THAT David Koch, bro) to carry the anti-big business message to the voters.

Now more than 40 years later they have managed to elect one member to the lower house of the legislature of our smallest state.  Congratulations Wyoming Libertarians.

I also have a long history of supporting third party (usually Green) and independent candidates.  The only ones that won were in a handful of local races 20 years ago.  I would still like to see a multi-party system here but its just not in the cards under our current set of election laws.  In addition, the fact that one of our major parties is focused almost entirely on maintaining their power by undermining and destroying whats left of our feeble democracy has made clear to me the necessity of supporting the only other electable choice, as deeply flawed as it is.  

Since the founding of the Republican Party more that 160 years ago, the most successful third parties have not won any major offices, but have succeeded by virtue of one of the major parties absorbing their ideologies and policies.  George Wallace's party succeeded by having its views embraced by and its members welcomed into the GOP.  It succeeded by transforming the South from a region where only whites voted (always for Democrats) to one where those same voters and their descendants nearly always vote Republican, effectively keeping newly-enfranchised blacks out of power in state and national elections.  The formula has been spectacularly successful for decades, although in recent years it is starting to break down in a few states.

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13 hours ago, Peter Eater said:

That means about one in every 250 voters is reported Libertarian You're on your way!

What about growth do you not understand ? The Democrat / Republican duopoly makes it nearly impossible to recognize any other party. These statistics are impressive given the massive push to prevent any competition. It's not David and Goliath where one slingshot is going to bring down the monster. The plan is to consistently chip away and educate people that their vote is never *wasted" by supporting what they believe in.

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Third parties are usually formed by activists who believe the two major parties don't take some particular interest of theirs seriously enough; e.g., the "green" parties are focused on the natural environment, climate change, conservation, etc. With a strongly focused message on a critical issue of the time, they sometimes can get some candidates elected, but those candidates almost invariably have to fall back on alliances with members of one of the major parties. No matter how Independent they claim to be when running, winners like Rand Paul and Bernie Sanders end up depending on the Republicans or Democrats to get anything done once they are in office.

The problem with something that claims to be a "centrist" party is that it doesn't stand for anything particular that is likely to activate voters who have a reason to want to reject both major parties.

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2 hours ago, Charlie said:

The problem with something that claims to be a "centrist" party is that it doesn't stand for anything particular that is likely to activate voters who have a reason to want to reject both major parties.

Although I understand and agree with the point you're making. The Libertarian Party, for all it's faults, does have a fairly consistent mission statement. Which is perhaps why it's the largest of the third-party political organization in the United States.

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2 hours ago, pubic_assistance said:

Although I understand and agree with the point you're making. The Libertarian Party, for all it's faults, does have a fairly consistent mission statement. Which is perhaps why it's the largest of the third-party political organization in the United States.

I agree, because I don't think the Libertarian Party is really claiming to be to be a "centrist" party, i.e., a compromise party for a supposed moderate middle between left and right, although some of its members may think of themselves that way.

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51 minutes ago, Charlie said:

some of its members may think of themselves that way.

Thanks . That would be me.

Not so much when I first discovered politics in college ...but certainly now; when both of the major political parties seem to embrace their lunatic fringes too much.

A party that basically believes the Federal Government is far too powerful and far too expensive seems a reasonable middle ground for many.

Unfortunately when it comes to voting, everyone seems to think it's Super Bowl Sunday and you only have two teams playing .

Edited by pubic_assistance
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I’m not going to get into the whole right v left, Republican v Democrats, the Constitution is an evil white supremacist doc v the Constitution is a near perfect guide for a democratic republic, ad infinitum arguments.

The problem no one - not the Dems, not the Repubs, not the Libertarians, and not this new party is addressing is what is keeping minority, extreme voices in power. IMO what is needed is term limits across all 3 branches of government, and at all levels of government (local, state, federal).

There is no reason on earth for any politician to be in office 40+ years, and here is no reason on earth any politician should be running for, much less be continually elected to office past SS retirement age. We should not be praising these septuagenarians, octogenarians, and nonagenarians in office - we -and the media- should be calling them out.  

Incumbency is an evil that keeps politicians well past it in office, that keeps younger, newer voices from being heard, and quite honestly, it allows these career politicians to become compromised. 

I say 2 terms of office for executive, and legislative branches at the federal level is your max, with mandatory retirement at SS retirement age. For judicial, 20 years cumulative time on the bench, and mandatory retirement at SS retirement age. Let the localities, and cities determine their own term limits, but but have a cap at 25 years total any  one person can serve in elected office across all three levels (local, state, federal). 

I’d also limit fundraising - no more flying hither and yon to raise money for your run. Limit them to their constituents - if the people you want to represent don’t support you, why should some people out of district, out of state be funding you? 

If a Third Party came about that supported terms limits, and campaign finance limits, I’d be happy to support them. But without change to incumbency and campaign financing, it’s all sound and fury that will change nothing for our republic. 
 

BBD 

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4 hours ago, pitman said:

For those who hate both major parties, there is a real opportunity to elect an independent Senator who promises to not caucus with either party.

https://www.politico.com/news/2022/08/08/utah-strangest-senate-race-in-america-00050090

This is one of the ways that a two-party system can be disrupted. In some recent UK by-elections either Labour or the Lib-Dems ran 'dead' with their supporters voting en masse for the [relatively] progressive party more likely to beat the Tories. In the Australian federal election Labor didn't campaign strongly in the safe conservative seats where strong independents were running. With ranked voting here, Labor votes weren't wasted, they flowed to the independent as long as Labor received fewer first votes (which they did).

In a place like Utah where the population is unfamiliar with the idea of tactical voting (and where votes for whoever finishes third aren't counted towards the final result) having the big party with no realistic chance of winning drop out to make way for a third party candidate who does, makes sense. Their usual voters, in this case Democrats, may not be happy of course!

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