This time will definitely be different from all of the other times that C-list politicos have combined up to form erstwhile “third parties,” I’m sure. It might even get past the press-release stage! … although I wouldn’t personally bet on that. Reuters reported that three mainly moribund aggregations of mainly nonentities that you never heard of have combined, super-hero style, into a new political party that you’ll likely never hear from again:
Dozens of former Republican and Democratic officials announced on Wednesday a new national political third party to appeal to millions of voters they say are dismayed with what they see as America’s dysfunctional two-party system.
The new party, called Forward and whose creation was first reported by Reuters, will initially be co-chaired by former Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang and Christine Todd Whitman, the former Republican governor of New Jersey. They hope the party will become a viable alternative to the Republican and Democratic parties that dominate U.S. politics, founding members told Reuters. …
The merger involves the Renew America Movement, formed in 2021 by dozens of former officials in the Republican administrations of Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush and Donald Trump; the Forward Party, founded by Yang, who left the Democratic Party in 2021 and became an independent; and the Serve America Movement, a group of Democrats, Republicans and independents whose executive director is former Republican congressman David Jolly.
How many people have heard of even one of these orgs? And when was the last time we heard from its activists? Yang’s well known enough from his run at the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, which never did get much farther than the novelty stage, but he’s done nothing else politically. It’s been nearly two decades since Todd Whitman has been a force in politics, having left her last office — EPA administrator — in June 2003. Jolly left Congress five years ago, having lost to Charlie Crist in 2016 in Florida’s 13th Congressional District, which has a Cook rating of “even.”
One would think a real centrist could have held that seat, no?
There is one notable addition that comes with this third-party fusion. Newsweek tries to sell the addition of Donald Trump officials to this coalition, but its headline example leaves something to be desired:
One of the confirmed former members of the Trump administration who will be part of the new party is Miles Taylor, a former Homeland Security official.
He has said he is aware of the difficulties third parties have faced in the past but explained how things are different now.
“The fundamentals have changed,” he said, according to Reuters. “When other third party movements have emerged in the past it’s largely been inside a system where the American people aren’t asking for an alternative.”
Newsweek pointedly does not include Taylor’s actual claim to fame, or perhaps in his case, notoriety is a more accurate term. In case anyone’s forgotten — and everyone may have by this point — Taylor served as a deputy chief of staff at DHS, an anonymous schlub in the bureaucracy until the New York Times inexplicably promoted him into Anonymous, a supposedly high-ranking Trump official blowing the lid off his presidency. Taylor managed to parlay that into a series of NYT op-eds and a book deal before the ruse blew up in everyone’s faces — by which I mean the NYT and CNN. Shortly thereafter, Taylor receded back into obscurity until deciding to become a never-was among has-beens at Forward.
Needless to say, this inclusion is both amusing and ironic. What better way to predict the arc of this new party than by making The Man Formerly Known as Anonymous the face of the effort? Maybe they should just rebrand Forward as Generic. A blue stripe will suit this effort pretty well, in fact.
Reuters reports that the group will hold a convention in Houston in mid-September. Perhaps they’ll find more relevant figures than Taylor and Todd Whitman to highlight. They will need some current officeholders of national note to make any kind of pitch for serious consideration. Which current officeholders want out of the two-party system, however? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?
If that doesn’t materialize, then Forward and its organizers will need boatloads of money to build a political operation capable of winning elections at some level. H. Ross Perot did that with the Reform Party, which won some notable contests, including Jesse Ventura’s surprise gubernatorial win in Minnesota. If financing heavyweights are part of the rollout,, then perhaps it might make for an interesting sideshow. Until then, it’s hard to take this seriously except as another way to separate political donors from their money while posturing as anklebiters on the sidelines.