Andrew Yang should listen to his critics. Take it from me, a former statewide field director of a centrist third party. We targeted state legislative seats in a high education, single party state, and we still failed. This was because third parties have an insurmountable time maintaining ballot access due to existing laws designed by the two major parties. Absent ranked choice voting or open primaries, their candidates will serve as spoilers in multi candidate races. His press release cites a majority of voters identifying as independents as a strength, but as we found out, these voters are independent because they do not want to join a party, especially a new one with difficulty attracting donors, recruiting candidates, and staying on the ballot. At least in our case the risk to democracy that one our candidates might help a Republican get elected to an overwhelmingly Democratic state house was negligible. In the case of Yang’s party, they will only help Jan 6th enabling Republicans stay in power and reward Trump for his criminal actions with another term in the White House. The stakes for our democracy are too high to experiment with an unknown party at a time when we need all hands on deck to defeat anti-democracy Republicans.
I admired Andrew Yang’s campaigns and message and share many of his criticisms of the Democratic Party. Yet Yang already had a strong base in the Democratic Party and he and his former Republican allies should have worked within it moving it back to the center while pushing for reforms like ranked choice voting, non-partisan redistricting, and open primaries that make our democracy more competitive. Working with folks like my friend Liam Kerr in the Welcome Party, he could help target anti-democracy Republicans in competitive districts with dynamic Democrats committed to social progress and economic innovation. He could work for Third Way which is brainstorming innovative policies to fight inflation.At a time when countless rights are at risk and the results of free and fair elections are violently contested, we cannot afford to further divide the pro-democracy movement. Another failed third party will only move us backward, not forward.