Column: Not left or right, but forward

Jim Roher
Posted 8/10/22

Do you feel that the two-party system no longer serves us well? Many Americans say they no longer support or are no longer members of either party.

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Column: Not left or right, but forward

Posted

Do you feel that the two-party system no longer serves us well? Many Americans say they no longer support or are no longer members of either party. The reason is that the parties take extreme positions, refuse to compromise and nothing gets done. The reason for this largely falls at the feet of cable news which profits from pandering to the extremists of their party. Since both parties’ most ardent members get their news solely from the TV talkers of their political persuasion, partisan group-think results on both sides. 

Meanwhile, the majority of us agree with neither. On guns, most Americans, 66% according to Gallup, want more strict laws. On abortion, at no time since Gallup has been measuring public sentiments on this subject has the support for abortion under certain circumstances been below 50%. In both cases, the parties support positions more extreme than most citizens. And so it goes, the wishes of citizens are unimportant to both parties.

Here’s a great example of a party choosing partisan politics over doing what’s right: Joe Manchin and Chuck Schumer agreed on a bill that will reduce the deficit, fight climate change, reduce inflation and reduce healthcare costs. The agreement between the two means it can pass without Republicans. But the Republican leadership is so angry, that they withdrew their support for a different bill to provide needed healthcare to sick and dying veterans who fought in the middle East. This seems like their way of saying, “I’ll take my ball and go home when things don’t go my way.” Don’t think Democrats are above partisan politics. It’s what both parties do every day.

It sounds hopeless. But wait, there’s a new idea. Andrew Yang, a Democrat and Christy Todd Whitman, a Republican, are starting a new party. It’s called the Forward party and the idea is to agree to take moderate stands and move forward leaving the extremists behind. A third party has been tried before, you say. True, but the last time when Ross Perot ran for president, there was not a majority of voters wanting a new party. Perot’s supporters just came from a wing of the Republican ranks. He merely took away Republican votes. Today, many of us are seeking a different party that will focus on moving the country forward, not left or right. 

According to Reuters the new party is being formed by a merger of three political groups that have emerged in recent years as a reaction to America’s increasingly polarized and gridlocked political system. The leaders cited a Gallup poll last year showing a record two-thirds of Americans believe a third party is needed. It’s not impossible, but unlikely that the party will have a candidate ready for the 2024 presidential ballot.The strategy is to target state and local candidates focusing on the forward ideas to increase voter support rather than a focus on a singular politician. A national convention is being planned and the official rollout will be this fall. 

I am cautiously optimistic that the time is right for this new party. The parties have abandoned their focus on their constituents with only a goal of staying in office. I believe that the need for change can redirect the nation which 85% of both Democrats and Republicans think is on a wrong path according to a new CNN poll. Nearly everyone we talk to feels the need for change, and this may be the change we need. Like millions of other Americans, I am hoping for a new direction for our country… forward, not left or right. 

Note: In my last article, some statistics I used pointed to the very high rate at which baby boomers are retiring. The point was accurate, but the stats were overstated. I apologize for this inadvertent error. 

Jim Rohrer of Evergreen is a business consultant and author of the books “Improve Your Bottom Line … Develop MVPs Today” and “Never Lose Your Job … Become a More Valuable Player.” Jim’s belief is that common sense is becoming less common. More about Jim at www.theloyaltypartners.com.

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