The big question no one asks about Andrew Yang’s new political party

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The big unanswered question about Andrew Yang’s new political party is capitalization. To wit: Should the “the” in “The Forward Party” be capitalized?

I admit that this is of little importance and may be of little importance even to the relatively small number of people who care about Yang’s political future or the prospects of any third party in our hopelessly troubled political system. But it is of great importance to me, as I have been afflicted with “the” in the very similar poetic name of this esteemed institution since I started this party nearly three years ago.

I tend to make use of ‘the’ in straight ahead. This is undoubtedly partly because I spent 21 years in New York times, where “The” is flagged – that’s what insiders call the name of the post at the top of a website or newspaper. “The” is part of the name.

However, it is also because it makes more sense and looks better. I don’t think of myself as an editor for straight ahead or forward.com the way, for example, former intern Ben Smith editor of BuzzFeed News or former culture editor Alana Newhouse was the tablet editor. i’m running straight ahead.

Except, no. “The” Not Part of our official name, and some of the people who have been toiling here for much longer than I did – and who spent a lot of time and money devising a new flag for our website several years ago – didn’t like it when I took advantage of the “.” So I try to restrain myself.

Seth Lipsky, one of the few people who might relate to this puzzle straight ahead In 1990, he called me after Yang and former New Jersey Governor Kristen Todd Whitman announced the Forward Party last week. He was not interested in the capitalization questions, but thought I should write a column on the new party, on the history of this esteemed institution with third parties, on what straight ahead represent. Well let’s go.

Women taught women how to vote in 1936, when the Forward organization endorsed FDR in the name of “Choice of Action.” Photo from horse archive

Seth, now editor New York SunHe is also one of the world’s experts in the history of straight ahead and author of a book on its groundbreaking editor, Ab Kahan. It reminded me that our ancestors, who borrowed the name “Forward” from the German SPD newspaper, “Vorwärts”, actually helped create two third parties.

First, in 1936, the desire to support Franklin D. Roosevelt but not Tammany Hall—the then-corrupt Democratic political machine in New York City—Jewish Daily Forward He was part of an alliance that created the American Labor Party. Modeled after the British Labor Party and active mostly in New York, it involved endorsement of bipartisan candidates who shared the newspaper’s pro-labor agenda rather than running the people alone. She helped elect New York’s first Jewish governor, Herbert Lehman, who collected 262,192 votes out of 3 million votes from the ALP line.

But soon the Communists took over the party, and straight ahead He was fiercely anti-communist. So in 1944, she helped launch the New York Liberal Party, which backed Franklin Roosevelt in 1944, then Harry S. Truman in 1948, John F. Kennedy in 1960, and John B. Anderson in 1980, among other presidential contenders, So is the mayor of New York City. Republican campaigns John Lindsay, and unfortunately Rudy Giuliani.

The Liberal Party’s influence waned in the 1980s, and while it is still present on Twitter and Facebook, Wikipedia says it endorsed candidates as recently as 2017, for New York City Council. The Working Families Party has taken its place somewhat, although it is certainly far left, and the Green Party is also active in New York.

But, in general, third parties do not have a history of great success in these here the United States. It’s too bad, in a way, because the range of ideologies that each of the major parties is trying to include has recently stretched to breaking point. Liz Cheney and Marjorie Taylor Green don’t seem to have any values ​​in common, and there’s also a huge gap between Kamala Harris and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s policy priorities.

Ideological extremists tend to do well in primaries where party supporters come out, while moderates do better in general elections. Wouldn’t voters have clearer choices and be better represented, perhaps, by four or six parties with narrower ideological spectrum and priorities?

Now Yang, Whitman and David Jolly, a former Republican congressman from Florida, are coming in with the (?) Forward Party, which they say represents “labor, not division,” and, as Yang said in a YouTube video, “Not the left. Not right. Forward.” .”

Seth Lipsky wasn’t impressed. “straight ahead It is the paper that has made this word famous in the Western world,” he said, “and it has the most wonderful traditions.” Now he added, “Someone erring with a political party called Forward” seems oblivious to this tradition, which Seth defined as a “democratic mix of anti-communist, pro-labor”; centrist, pro-immigrant; looking for “slow but steady” progress.

The Forward Party opened with what might politely be called lukewarm reviews. Andrew Gawthorpe from Watchman Stuart Rothenberg called it “Project Vanity.” Cool Roll He described his ad as “a bunch of gobbledygook”. Writing Washington PostSeth Masket argued that there was no real platform.

“By design, the Forward Party isn’t much of anything,” Maskett said. “Yang was talking about this as one of the party’s major selling points, promising, oddly enough, parties without interests.”

The first issue of Jewish Daily Forward From April 22, 1897, its original flag is shown in the upper left. Photo via Forward Archives

This might indeed be a losing formula for a political party, but it’s not bad for a news organization. I especially like “Not left. Not right. Forward.” It reminds me of the original formula for our flag, in which the name of the paper is given, unfortunately, without a specific article but with an exclamation point: straight ahead!

Originally a strong socialist, it was straight ahead Since 2009 it has been 501(c)(3) and thus cannot legally endorse candidates or take partisan political positions. I’m fine more than that: straight ahead I’m running has no ideology other than the idea of ​​inquiring. We are passionate about discovering and sharing things with the world, no matter what “team” helps or hurts, about the pursuit of truth wherever it takes us, without fear or favour.

We strive to fairly and emotionally represent all parts of the American Jewish story, and all the perspectives of our diverse communities, regardless of politics, race, religiosity, gender, age, and geography. We want you to see yourself reflected in our pages but also respectfully challenge them. We are completely independent, and our other core values ​​are integrity, courage, accountability and enjoying the richness of Jewish culture and history.

Not the left, not the right – straight ahead.


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