THIS ARTICLE WAS ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED BY THE SALT LAKE TRIBUNE ON SEPT. 13, 2022. YOU CAN VIEW THE ORIGINAL RELEASE, HERE.
Andrew Yang during a news conference in Morningside Park on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021, in New York. (AP Photo/Kevin Hagen).
On July 23, former presidential candidate Andrew Yang presided over the merger of three moderate organizations to form what Yang has called “The largest third party in America.”
Without hesitation, articles began appearing to greet the news with a “sustained yawn,” as Jay Evensen put it in the Deseret News. The biggest criticism across multiple media platforms was, as Seth Masket put it in The Washington Post, “parties need to stand for something, but the Forward Party hasn’t made it clear what it offers.”
What critics are missing is that this “lack of platform” is actually the largest reason that makes the Forward Party likely to succeed. For starters, Forward does have positions, specifically voting reform and campaign finance reform, with the stated aim of “fixing our broken political system.”
Throughout history, outside popular movements that lead to political realignments and reform, tend overwhelmingly to have this “no platform” trait. In the moment of a popular movement, the tired old political divisions that had divided the electorate tend to get washed out by a hyper-focus on the new. These movements are intentionally narrow about old debates because, in order to initiate change, the status quo must be dislodged, and that requires a broad coalition of what seems like “strange bedfellows” to come together under a clear, simple, and focused agenda.
Our political moment has provided enough dissatisfaction with the status quo that a popular movement could disrupt it, but that won’t happen without gathering a cross-section of the electorate that has been voting against each other for decades. Despite all the pundit laments about how there are “no policy” positions with Forward, I for one hope they stick to their guns, and develop a bold, narrow, and aggressive reform agenda to fix political dysfunction. Clearly we need it.
By Daniel Scott, Murray