Early voting in the Indiana and Ohio primaries began yesterday. Next week, Nebraska joins the line-up.
The Forward Party is not a big fan of partisan primaries (read why here), but it’s all we have in most places. When your state’s primary comes up, if you’re registered with one of the major parties, don’t stay home. We need you to show up and vote for the candidate most likely to join the fight for democracy reform. That won’t happen if only the 10-20% of the party’s most extreme voters participate, which is what usually happens. In over 90% of America, the general election is predetermined in the primary election.
We are also happy to announce our newest endorsement! Isak Asare is a candidate for U.S. Congress in Indiana’s 9th congressional district. View our endorsement of him here and check out his website to learn more about him.
This past Sunday, Andrew Yang and Forward Party Leadership Board member Daryl Morey of the Philadelphia 76ers hosted a great event discussing basketball and electoral reform. The common thread - competition. If you missed it, a downloadable video of the conversation will be made available soon. Stay tuned for a release date.
All the best,
The Forward Party Team
In The News
Ranked-Choice Voting and Electoral Reform
Nebraska has unique nonpartisan ballots. Party labels are not included on ballots and there is one primary for all candidates. That means that voters have to vote on policy, not party. But one Nebraska state representative has proposed changing to partisan primaries. The proposed bill met with fierce opposition by fellow representatives and voting advocacy groups. A large number of unaffiliated voters would be left out of primaries if the state adopts the change. The change could also disrupt the presently collegial legislative body and increase partisanship.
The League of Women Voters hosted a webinar with experts on ranked-choice voting to discuss the feasibility, cost, and benefits of implementing the electoral reform in the state. Host Victoria Bassetti, Senior Advisor at the States United Democracy Center, poses some tough questions to help voters learn more about RCV. In closing, Bassetti states, “American democracy has always been contested and vibrant and innovative.” Our election system has gone through countless changes over the years, and as Bassetti says, “Maybe ranked-choice voting is next.”
A Charter Review Committee unanimously decided to move forward with independent redistricting commissions and ranked-choice voting that were recommended to counter aggressive gerrymandering. Recent partisan redistricting led to decreased representation of certain communities. The committee also hopes that ranked-choice voting will help elect more women and candidates of color, stating that minorities are currently underrepresented in elected positions.
Portland’s Charter Review Commission rolled out a proposal on March 31 that includes implementation of ranked-choice voting for city officials. It also includes a host of other democracy reform efforts, like multi-member districts, and a shift in the function of the city council combined with an increase in the Mayor’s responsibilities.
Voters in Fort Collins may have the chance to vote on a ballot to implement ranked-choice voting in the November elections. A majority of the city Council members have indicated that they support putting the reform on the ballot. This will likely result in a ballot initiative being put in front of voters in November to approve RCV for a 2025 start.
The San Bruno City Council shows signs of moving forward with a ranked-choice or approval voting ballot measure as an alternative to the city’s current plurality elections. The RCV measure is likely to be combined with a ballot question on changes to tax law, muddying the intent of both referendums to save money for the city putting on the election.
What's Going On
The State of the Duopoly
Early voting in Indiana’s primaries has begun and the Forward Party has endorsed Isak Asare in the race for U.S. House of Representatives in Indiana’s 9th Congressional District. Asare is a passionate advocate for universal healthcare, a leading educator on tech policy, and a sought-after advisor for local and national governments on the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology.
The Forward Party endorsed Brian Varela for his U.S. Congressional run in NJ-08. Brian may be facing an uphill battle against the son of a well-known senator, but his plans for democracy reform put him at the top of our list. The country needs more candidates who will put people over politics.
Forward-endorsed candidate Greg Tanaka is running for Congress in California’s 16th Congressional District in a bid to unseat incumbent Anna Eshoo, who has held a seat in the House of Representatives since 1993. He promises to be “a leader for the digital age.” He’s also running on a platform of approval voting, a voting system that the Forward Party supports.
On March 29, Yang spoke to students at Rice University, “My friend Ezra Klein said very, very correctly, ‘partisanship is the new acceptable form of prejudice,’ where 62 percent of Americans want a third party and 60 percent of Americans say both parties are out of touch."
Forward Party candidate Cory Hepola says that he is running for Governor because “We are allowing the 10% of extreme voices to hijack the conversation and to push this conversation into bad places and into inactivity ... and I just couldn't sit by anymore." Hepola is focusing on bringing education into the 21st century, providing help for mental health and addiction, and common-sense tax reform for the state.
Stay Up To Date
Mirroring national trends, the number of independent voters in North Carolina is now higher than both enrollment in the Democratic or Republican parties. Still, it’s an uphill battle for independent candidates to reach the signature threshold to get on the ballot. Independent candidates need 1.5% of the district’s voters to get on the ballot, while Democratic or Republican candidates don’t need any signatures at all. This double standard is designed to protect the duopoly and is patently unequal and un-American.
A lawsuit is underway in Colorado to close primaries to nearly 1.7 million registered voters who aren't affiliated with either the Democratic or Republican parties. In 2016, 52% of voters opted to allow unaffiliated voters to participate in primary elections. The lawsuit would effectively overturn the people’s vote. In 2018, participation in primaries nearly doubled after nonpartisan primaries were implemented! Learn more about nonpartisan primaries here.
In both states, lawmakers are proposing a slew of initiatives to “reshape the rules of engagement for partisan battles” by diminishing the ability for voters to have direct say on legislation. From how courts are staffed to ranked-choice voting, legislators seem reluctant to leave decisions to the people they represent. These measures would push the states further from Democracy and are the opposite of progress towards the freer and more representative future that the Forward Party is trying to build.
What We're Reading
Darrell West, Vice President and Director of Governance Studies at The Brookings Institution, appeared on The Brookings Cafeteria to explain why he is worried about worsening polarization and political minority rule in America. He identifies many of the same problems that we talk about at the Forward Party, like the failure of the government to provide solutions to pressing problems. He says, “When our political system is not able to address challenges that are clear to everyone who lives in this country, it erodes public trust in government, it erodes public confidence in government, and that then becomes a threat to democracy itself.” He discusses the January 6 committee, how tech has become part of the problem and the intersection of race and democracy.
What We're Watching
Author Suzette Brooks Masters explores if non-profits increase polarization? While they “care deeply about making an impact on the world and may hold strong, moralistic views about how to achieve that impact,” the author explores how the urgency to fix a problem may exacerbate America’s polarization problem.
We can relate to this editorial! Did someone say dumpster fire?
See you next week!
The Forward Party Team
Do you like this page?