Emergence of New Political Party “Forward” Poses Greatest Threat to Two Party System


Gage Skidmore from Peoria, AZ, United States of America

Andrew Yang, former Democrat and 2020 Presidential candidate, founds the now largest third political party in the country, the Forward Party. Photo from File:Andrew Yang (48571384236).jpg” by Gage Skidmore from Peoria, AZ, United States of America is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

Currently, the United States is a duopoly, meaning we have two political parties we consider “viable” options: the Democratic party and the Republican party.

Are these really our only options? Must America be a duopoly? After all, about 60% of Americans feel left behind by both Democrats and Republicans and want a viable third-party option. So, how have third parties faired in the past, and what are our options looking forward? 

Government teacher Katherine Korte said the success of third parties in the past has “not been overly successful,” and while the “two parties have changed historically,” we have always been a two-party system.

Despite this, 58% of Americans say they’d consider voting third party if it were Trump vs Biden again in the next Presidential election.

“Yeah, I can understand that,” Korte said. “If they both happen to be the candidates again I think a lot would depend on the organization-powered financing of a third party… so much comes down to how much money you have.”

Korte said young people would also be a “wild card factor” in how a third party could go, as the younger generations seem more open to change.

While Korte finds it unlikely for a viable third party to pop up, she said that there is “always room for those rogue external factors that nobody sees coming that can disrupt the whole system.”

She thinks ranked-choice voting would help more parties become more viable.

“Having more choices resonates with the American people, and then having a system that bypasses some of the obstacles that come along the way in terms of campaign financing, getting on the ballot… it would be an avenue access for third parties for sure,” Korte said.

For senior Gavin Lingle, the odds of a third-party candidate winning in the case of a Trump vs Biden rematch are likely “considering the divisiveness of the previous two presidents.”

Lingle also stated that if it came down to it, he would “of course” vote for a third party candidate “if their beliefs lined up with mine.”

Lingle said that he believed ranked choice voting would “most certainly” help third parties become more viable, stating that it “can give more representation to third parties and independents.”

Lingle was already familiar with many third parties, saying that the ones he was familiar with included the “constitution party, the libertarian party, the green party… however, one I’ve recently heard of is the Forward Party.”

The Forward Party is a political party in the United States that was announced in October of 2021, founded by former Democrat and Presidential candidate Andrew Yang. Much of Yang’s policy positions were more forward looking rather than the typical, mainstream left vs right policies or soundbites one may hear listening to media or political debates. Some of his positions included tackling automation through human-centered capitalism, universal basic income, a high-tech surveillance barrier instead of a physical one at the southern border, and of course more.

The Forward Party wasn’t formed to be a platform for all of Yang’s positions though, but rather a moderate party for those tired of the tribalism on both sides, feel left behind by both parties, want to help in depolarization, and want to put an end to the corruption surrounding the two party system. Roughly 60% of Americans feel there is a need for a third party, and overall the majority of Americans increasingly have begun identifying more and more as Independent over the past decade.

Also, because of the nature of the Forward Party, one can still identify as Democrat or Republican while simultaneously being a “Forwardist” if you also agree with their goals; a “Forward Democrat” or “Forward Republican.”

The Forward Party currently has three core policies they wish to institute across the nation to start with: ranked choice voting, open primaries, and end gerrymandering. They intend to add more moderate positions after their national convention in the summer of 2023, but said other policies won’t matter as much until the voting system is changed so Americans can truly have their voices heard in the system.

The party has gathered more supporters than any other third party in the country, despite being formally founded in July, and intend to have their party on the ballot of every state by the 2024 election.

Forward also plans to begin working from the bottom up when it comes to running politicians of their own, as they believe running people for major positions in this current system would likely in most cases be premature.

When it comes to third parties, it certainly seems to be the case that more people want more options. The problem, however, is cutting through the mold that the Democratic and Republican parties have created in this two party system.

With the Forward Party being founded by a well respected figure on both sides of the political aisle, having more supporters than any other third party in a short time after its founding, and the majority of Americans wanting an alternative option to the current duopoly, the Forward Party seems to be the best hope of getting America on the track of more choices and less polarization.