The Alpena News | Moving ‘Forward’ in politics


Now that we are in full swing of the 2022 election cycle, with about 35 states having already held their primary elections and only three months to go to the 2022 general election on Nov. 8, it seems time to evaluate the possibilities of where we are headed as a nation.

But, in order to that, let’s first look at where we are politically right now.

Few people would disagree that our national politics is extremely divided. The House of Representatives has 220 Democrats and 211 Republicans, with four vacant seats. The U.S. Senate has 50 Republicans, 48 Democrats, and two independents. The last six presidents have alternated between Republican and Democrat. 

That’s the simple math of our great divide — but the rhetoric, behavior, and cooperation between the three are another story.

Follow the party line or get tossed aside. Don’t give the other party a victory or it will harm us in the next election. Avoid hot-button issues like immigration or Social Security because it will haunt us in the next election. Don’t even bring up a balanced budget thought, because that will mean cuts in spending and that will hurt us in the next election. Do everything possible to make the other party look bad and for us to look good. 

Now, I ask you, is that any way to run a country?

I hope you would agree with me and say no, it is not. 

Our nation’s problems belong to all of us, regardless of party affiliation, and it takes all of our representatives working together to find solutions. 

But, nope, doesn’t work that way. 

Most of our Founding Fathers knew this and went out of their way to warn us to not go here, yet we did, and are now stuck in the trenches of political warfare, and it is We The People who are left with a broken Washington. 

And, ultimately, it will be left up to We The People to fix it, if we so choose.

That, folks, is what elections are all about. We get to choose. 

But why, I ask, is it that we only get to choose primarily between a Republican and a Democrat? When forced to do just that, we often find ourselves voting for the candidate we hate the least, instead of the one we like the most. And why is that, you ask?

Well, a recent Gallup poll revealed that 31% of Americans identified as Democrats, 25% identified as Republican, and a whopping 41% of us identified as independents. That means the majority of us are most likely fed up with all the extreme partisanship, which stands in the way of solving problems.

So where are the 41% who are independents supposed to turn when they don’t see many alternatives when it comes to voting? 

Some will vote for a third party, but many will say that is a wasted vote, because a third party candidate seldom — if ever — wins.

But here is some breaking news. There is finally talk of a third party emerging, calling themselves the Forward Party. 

Here are just a few of their website’s bullet points: 

∫ The Forward Party will create a political home for everyone willing to set aside the partisan extremes and find practical ways to make this country better. They won’t be checking IDs to see if people are Democrats, Republicans, or independents.

∫ The Forward Party will strive for collaborative solutions, make sure they work, and try something else if they don’t. They won’t ignore problems so that they can use them to drive wedges between Americans. Nothing gets done when opposing views are treated like enemy positions.

∫ The Forward Party will approach each other with grace and tolerance, finding ways to pick people back up rather than knock them down. They won’t cancel people or cast them out of the party for not falling in line.

The Forward Party will advocate for open nonpartisan primaries, so all candidates would have a more level playing field. That would reduce the advantage incumbents have. They would recommend we move to ranked voting, where we rank our candidates best to worst. 

And, equally important, they would push to establish independent or nonpartisan redistricting commissions, saying that would allow “voters to choose representatives instead of representatives choosing voters” with their crazy gerrymandering tactics.

All of that sounds good to me, but why shouldn’t it? I am one of the 41% of the voters who identify as independent and are completely exhausted with the extreme partisanship that has infiltrated our current political system.

And you? What are your thoughts on a new more moderate political party? Let me know at [email protected]

Greg Awtry is the former publisher of the Scottsbluff (Neb.) Star-Herald and Nebraska’s York News-Times. He is now retired and living in Hubbard Lake. Greg can be contacted at [email protected]