Eniola Ajayi, California
A new political movement is brewing in the United States of America.
Powered by a group of former members of the two dominant parties, the new political party is christened “Forward.”
Republican and Democratic officials forming the new movement include Christine Todd Whitman, David Jolly and Andrew Yang.
Christine Todd Whitman (Courtesy: Wikipedia)
The trio aim to reach out to a segment of the polity which they refer to as the “moderate, common-sense majority.”
In a Washington Post op-ed, they say “Political extremism is ripping our nation apart, and the two major parties have failed to remedy the crisis.”
“Today’s outdated parties have failed by catering to the fringes. As a result, most Americans feel they aren’t represented.”
Whitman is a former Republican governor of New Jersey while Jolly is a former Republican congressman from Florida, Yang on his part is a former Democratic presidential and New York mayoral candidate.
David Jolly (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The new party will stand on a tripod as the trio will merge their political organizations into the new movement, the launch of which was first reported by Reuters.
Issues on the table on which the new movement is pushing for include a moderate approach include gun control, climate change, abortion and ranked choice voting system.
Yang, in an interview says, “Sixty-two percent of Americans now want a third party, a record high, because they can see that our leaders aren’t getting it done.”
Andrew Yang (Picture credit: John Minchillo/AP)
“And when you ask about the policy goals, the fact is the majority of Americans actually agree on really even divisive issues. The most divisive issues of the day like abortion or firearms – there’s actually a commonsense coalition position on these issues and just about every other issue under the sun.”
Forward plans to feature candidates in 2024 elections after hosting its convention next summer.
Jolly, Whitman and Yang acknowledged the clear lack of success third parties have had in the United States previously.
According to them, “Most third parties in U.S. history failed to take off, either because they were ideologically too narrow, or the population was uninterested; voters are calling for a new party now more than ever.”
“Americans of all stripes – Democrats, Republicans and independents – are invited to be a part of the process, without abandoning their existing political affiliations, by joining us to discuss building an optimistic and inclusive home for the politically homeless majority,” the trio stated.
Nigeria’s Third Force
Nigeria is not left out in the wave of Third Force in its political landscape. Though running a multi-party system, the polity has been dominated by the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the last 23 years of Nigeria’s return to democracy.
It's a three-horse race in 2023 elections in Nigeria
However, the emergence of a former Governor of Anambra State, Peter Obi has brought about a paradigm shift as the most populous black nation in the world prepares for next year’s general elections.
Meanwhile, unlike the American trio, Obi is not forming a new party, rather, he is running on the platform of Labour Party which has been in existence since 2002.
He had resigned from the PDP before the presidential primaries, citing developments within the party as reasons.
Since he joined the Labour Party and eventually emerged the presidential flagbearer, Obi has amassed massive support among the youth who are very active and vociferous on social media. The supporters have also constituted themselves into what they called “The Obi-dient Movement.”
Nigeria has the highest population of youths in the world with at least 70 percent of its population under age 30. Also, statistics from the independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) shows that the youth led the recently concluded voter registration exercise with about 60 percent.
But whether all these will translate into votes for Nigeria’s Third Force, represented by Peter Obi; his party and the Obi-dient Movement; is just a matter of time.