In an article this week in a foreign youth-focused digital publication, a journalist wrote, “[t]he appeal of Yang’s movement is that it gives ear to the dislocation that is happening to the sandwich generation in the U.S.. These are people who despite doing the right things, getting educated, working hard in salaried jobs, find themselves struggling more than their parents to gain a foothold in the middle class.”
In our Forward Unlocked watch party event back in February, you had the chance to witness an Andrew Yang speech to a crowded venue in NYC, and he spoke to this predicament. He said to the crowd that we are living in an era when if we all do exactly what we’re supposed to do, “we’re F*&%d.”
Everywhere you look, you can see that this is true. You’re handed a role in a game and you follow the rules, despite the fact that the rewards of the past don’t seem to exist in the present. Tough language or not, it’s the truth.
Our nation is stuck. Our young people are stuck. Our only way out is to break the rules.
Cook Political published Ping-pong Politics is the New Normal, in which the author states, “[T]his game of political ping pong is likely to continue, with policy ricocheting from the left to right and back in two- and four-year intervals, with each party taking turns absorbing the hits until they are thrown out of power.”
With most predicting that the GOP will take back control of Congress, Senator Mitch McConnell was asked what the Republicans will do with that power. His reply was, “I'll let you know when we take it back." Nancy Pelosi said, on midterm elections, “We have a vision of the victory. We will plan to get it done and we’re going to own the ground.”
Nearly three of every four Americans said it would be good for the country if Americans "reject political hostility and divisiveness and focus more on their common ground," but we remain pessimistic. Less than 10% expect to see a decrease in partisan hatred over the next decade, and almost half believe it will grow worse.
They are likely correct – unless.
It’s time to start breaking some rules, defying partisan playbooks, and motivating candidates with success on the issues instead of success as a party loyalist. Andrew Yang went from being an unknown oddity on the debate stage to a cultural icon demanding attention for the failures of our system. He saw the truth of our political culture and decided to lead America in changing the game. That’s why we are pursuing such a Forward vision for change – change that seeks to modernize government, reform democracy and shift priorities to a people-centered economy. That’s why so many have been inspired to stand with us so quickly.
Forward represents defiant optimism, rule-breaking with a mission. We see where we are going, and we reject the future where a path left or right leads us right back where we started – doing the right things and failing to see any reward.
The Forward movement is a quest to breathe life into our exhausted, angry and divided nation, united under the banner of the Forward Party.
We exist to fill a void - a party laser-focused on naming, understanding and solving the problems facing our country.
With most of America unaware or enraptured by a game they have no chance of winning, we are pioneers. It’s our job, and our passion, to show that it is possible to build a vision, spread it, and invite our compatriots to join us on the journey.
In our universe, politics isn’t a do or die battle between antiquated parties.
In our universe, issues, cooperation and compromise unite Americans.
In our universe, elections reflect a choice between preferred policies rather than a battle against an enemy.
In our universe, Congress cares about majoritarian views, having been voted in by a majority, and in their commitment to the American people, they build solutions from data.
Provided with the wrong incentives, our representatives, voters, and government seem to have lost the ideals that our Republic celebrates, in spirit.
- America celebrates voter participation, but in the states that have held primaries so far we find voters are motivated to vote against a perceived evil – not to vote for problem-solvers to get us unstuck.
- America celebrates democracy, yet in some states as little as 19% of voters participate in primaries, split between two parties, resulting in representatives nominated by a tiny fraction of the population and elected without a majority vote.
- America celebrates freedom of expression, but the winning strategy of candidates is to parrot the most extreme messaging of a party.
In short, we celebrate democracy, even as all the systems that breathe life into democracy are failing, and we are left with a corpse, empty of the ideals upon which our Republic was built.
During this primary season, news rarely mentions solutions to violence, homelessness, economic barriers to success for individuals and small businesses, or rising health insurance costs. Even articles “on the issues” focus on ideological stances rather than solutions.
Compromise is dead. What remains is the clunky skeleton of democratic functions absent the connective tissue of a vibrant, fully functioning nation.
In Virginia, GOP nominee Bob Good, the incumbent in the race for U.S. House of Representatives, stated, “I am not in Washington to work with the Democrats. I am there to defeat the Democrats!”
While the primaries playing out over the next few months continue to focus on political strategy, messaging, and the battle between the left and the right, one thing seems certain – the issues are getting left behind.
Back at the kitchen table, “[t]he mantra has been: Work hard, pay your dues, you’ll be rewarded for that. But the goalposts keep getting moved back,” reports Time Magazine in an article about how we are failing the middle class.
What’s a voter to do? Vote. Don’t abandon your chance to have a say even if it seems a mechanical civic duty rather than an instrument for change. But vote smart. Look for the candidates who are fighting against the rules of partisanship and presenting an authentic campaign on the issues.
The rigid ideological design of our modern partisan politics is not focused on solutions - it is focused on winning elections. The Forward movement is doing the heavy lifting, changing the game. We’re breaking the rules and fighting for election reforms that don't favor one party. We're fighting for primaries that give independent-minded candidates a better chance, and for grace and tolerance to encourage collaboration and compromise over partisan loyalty.
Until we break the incentives of our current election system they cannot match the needs of our nation. Let’s get unstuck. Together, we can unlock democracy and breathe new life and meaning into the lives of hard-working Americans.
Breaking the rules doesn’t mean quitting the game; it means we all must become game-changers.
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