Four days and 15 votes later, we finally have a Speaker of the House. The spectacle it created was lapped up by the press and political insiders alike, and C-SPAN became must-see TV. But most Americans are not entertained when the politicians we’ve entrusted to lead our country opt instead to become a sideshow.

Twenty elected officials preventing a 435-member legislative body from conducting the people’s business is not “what democracy looks like,” as some have claimed; it’s further evidence of a completely broken system in which two entrenched parties have no incentive to cooperate—let alone help the other govern.

Republicans chose to allow the most extreme wings of their party to completely control the Speaker’s election, and with it, control the Speaker himself. These are the same bad actors who choose to spend their time promoting the Big Lie and spreading disinformation, rather than sincerely governing. Speaker McCarthy is now both indebted to and undermined by this radical faction who gave him the gavel.

Democrats, for their part, had no political incentive to come to the table. Instead they closed ranks, operating in lockstep from the sidelines to highlight the chaos of their rival party rather than even attempt to find a bipartisan alternative. Democrats touted their intra-party unity as strength, but that strength was used to prop up a failing system rather than try to negotiate for concessions that would improve the functioning of the People’s House.

The losers in all of this are the American people, who are waking up to the reality that the closed politics of the last 100 years has put us on this dark path—that we need to try something new. That’s why we’re building a new kind of party, one where innovation, collaboration, and problem-solving are prized above pyrrhic partisan victories. We must succeed in building this new political home, for the sake of our future.

Elected officials in both parties are coming around to this reality as well. Throughout this process, leaders of the Forward Party, including our grassroots leaders, have been in touch with our colleagues and allies in the House. These folks are seeing what we’re seeing: That partisan politics dominated by a zero-sum “burn it all down” mentality is not working. They’re looking for answers, and our response is simple: Until systemic reforms open the U.S. political system to more choice and more unifying leaders, scenarios like this will continue to play out, and Americans will pay the price.

As Forward Party co-chair Christine Todd Whitman said, “Republican and Democratic party leaders would like you to think that there is no better way than the status quo. But America is waking up from that deterministic thinking. Many things define a Forward Party member, but perhaps the most fundamental trait is that we won’t stop looking for a better way to get things done.”

Needless to say, we have our work cut out for us in 2023, team! We’re so glad to be in this with you.