As I sat in the audience at the Reagan Library the other night, waiting for the second Republican debate to start, I thought of two things.
First, I was reminded of my own time on the political debate stage, and my contributions to the 2012 Romney-Ryan debate prep. Second, the setting surrounded me with Reagan’s legacy of optimism, freedom, and democracy.
I was quickly jarred from these thoughts by a Republican primary debate that was combative, well-rehearsed, and sometimes utterly chaotic. The candidates all celebrated Ronald Reagan’s conservative legacy, which tempted me to think that things were slowly returning to “normal’’ three years after Trump reluctantly departed the White House.
But, of course, American politics are not back to normal.
No one on that stage Wednesday night had a realistic chance of unseating the conspicuously absent front-runner and repelling his shameless attacks on American democracy. The audience that surrounded me clapped politely and laughed at the occasional joke, but almost all of them will vote for Trump. Many had their phones out, watching the former president’s Michigan rally. And the two candidates polling highest on that stage are the ones who are mimicking the extreme populism of the frontrunner, hoping to inherit Trump’s popularity.
Like so many other primaries in our country, it is a foregone conclusion that the extremist elements in the Party will decide who governs for the rest of us. Our two-party system is incapable of offering the American people a broader slate of candidates that truly represents the spectrum of political opinion in this country.
We are all suffering the consequences of a polarizing two-party political system—not only in this presidential election, but in every partisan election in our local communities and in our state legislatures and Congress.
I am determined to help build another option for the exhausted and disconnected voter. That’s why I’ve joined the Forward Party—to create a new political home for the millions of Americans, like me, who no longer see themselves represented in either of our two major political parties.
I hope you will make a small contribution today in support of our efforts to build a national infrastructure for something new our democracy desperately needs.
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