MY THOUGHTS - NO, I AM NOT TALKING ABOUT holiday celebrations. Those don’t need a hard sell. I m looking at the recent behavior of our political parties. Admittedly, we have had front row seats to the kind of political shenanigans we used to expect from “other” countries. I am sure that our critics, as well as our allies, are experiencing what is called schadenfreude, at our expense.
This has been a horrible start to 2023. I don’t have to recount to you all the dastardly occurrences …they are inscribed in our collective memory. It makes one wonder what we will be… or where we will be on December 31, 2023.
By nature, I am an eternal optimist, so for my first column for CW in this new year I was trying to come up with some optimistic thoughts and opinions. Even with my usual one glass of chardonnay in hand…I drew a blank. For those of you who know me personally, being at a loss for words, is not a usual occurrence.
I was flipping TV Channels, having had my fill of Hallmark Christmas Movies, when I was stopped by a news panel, which included someone from The Forward Party. I had heard some rumblings about this projected new political party founded by Andrew Yang (former 2002 democratic Presidential candidate) during the election, but quite frankly paid little attention. I was too busy obsessing about a “red Tidal wave”.
But it did pique my interest. Maybe it was time for the United States to entertain the possibility of having serious other political parties. We used to have a supercilious attitude to those countries who had several political parties which, had to join forces with one or more of their competitors, to form a government. Now we have two parties, who are being held hostage by 20 politicians, whose only desire is to increase their power and play games with the American people.
If we had a third or even fourth serious, organized party with a practical platform; which was financially strong; and passionate about our democracy and the welfare of the people living here maybe…just maybe… it would change the behavior of the original two. It might force them to have an attitude re-adjustment.
OK- it has been tried before with limited success. We have the Libertarians who have about 22% registered voters. The Green party with Ralph Nader, was responsible in part for Al Gore losing his Presidential election and has played the part of spoiler in several elections. There are other groups which, were not strong enough to get on the ballot in any states.
Maybe it was time to look at “The Forward Party” which had stated it would be on the 50 State ballots by the 2024 election.
The Forward Party merged with two other organizations—the Serve America Movement (SAM) and the Renew America Movement (RAM) last year. This new alliance will make The Forward the biggest resourced third party in the country, according to the three organizers.
There are some stellar names in the three organizations, which individually, have been working for years to try and make improvements in this country. One of them is David Jolly, a former Member of Congress from Florida, who has been leading SAM. Another is Miles Taylor, formerly known as ‘Anonymous’, who has been leading RAM. Former NJ Governor and Cabinet member Christie Todd Whitman (a Republican who endorsed Joe Biden in 2020), former Congressman Joe Sestak, Reverend Ira Acree of Chicago, and many others are part of the Leadership Circle.
Yang’s Forward Party announced last Thursday, it is forming a coalition with the existing California Common Sense Party, founded in 2019 by former Congressman Tom Campbell. To get the roughly 73,000 registered voters required by California to be recognized as an official political party; Forward Party members in California, will now register for the Common Sense Party, joining the nearly 30k registered Common Sense Party voters. Volunteers across the state will be able to work together at the grassroots level, leading through shared values of cooperation and problem solving.”
Yang said Thursday on NewsNation’s “CUOMO” that the new partnership will give voters in California a political choice. “We know right now California is a one-party state, and that’s true in about three-quarters of the states around the country. We have a pretend two-party system. In most of the country, including New York City, it’s essentially a one-party system, which isn’t good for anyone.
“The main objection you hear to third parties? ‘They can’t compete!’ Well, we are demonstrating, we can generate the resources necessary to elevate and elect candidates around the country with the support of tens of thousands of Americans and millions of dollars of grassroots funding.
“Thanks to SAM, we have a lot of experience building and supporting state parties. And thanks to RAM, we now are poised to reach a whole new audience of Americans who want to take this country in a better direction. Together, we are not left, not right, but Forward.”
In the December issue of Atlantic Magazine, Joseph Swartz a former congressional candidate and former Forward Party volunteer, voiced his reason for dropping out of Forward. He wrote in part, “There is absolutely a way to build a big-tent third party in the United States. Forward could have an impact if it would acknowledge the need to build a functional organization and settle on some political ideology beyond electoral reform. But when a party’s platform is no more specific than “free people,” “thriving communities,” and “vibrant democracy,” leaders are essentially saying “good vibes, good people—trust us.” Voters will respond accordingly.”
We surely cannot continue like this. I think, we have reached the Zenith of despair regarding our current political atmosphere. As I mentioned, I am the eternal optimist and I had high hopes for the Lincoln Project. I had medium hopes for the” No labels” movement, and no hopes for a fractured Republican majority. Want to get really scared? I did contemplate a future 2024 Presidential Cabinet scenario:
President: Donald Trump
Vice President: Marjorie Taylor Greene
Secretary of State: George Santos
Treasurer: Roger Stone
Secretary of Education: Rick DeSantis
Attorney General: Jim Jordan
Environment: Joe Manchin
Homeland Security: Ron Johnson
And then thankfully… I woke up!
(Denyse Selesnick is a CityWatch columnist and a former publisher/journalist/international event organizer. Denyse can be reached at: [email protected].)