Andrew Yang at a 2019 appearance Credit: Gage Skidmore/Flickr via CC BY-SA 2.0

For over twenty years, my centrist friends have been giving me grief for presidential losses the Democrats have suffered. For example . . .

Gore’s defeat in 2000, allegedly caused by lefties voting for Ralph Nader. Or Hillary Clinton’s in 2016, allegedly caused by lefties not voting at all.

The centrist message to me went like this . . .

In politics, as in life, you can’t always get what you want and sometimes you have to accept the lesser of two evils. So grow the fuck up, fall in line, and vote Blue—no matter who!

Fair enough.

But now that the shoe is on the other foot, so to speak, I trust my centrist friends will join me as I call out the latest, great threat to our democracy—Andrew Yang’s proposal to create a third party, called The Forward Party.

Yang and his allies announced their intentions in an essay recently published in the Washington Post. Here’s the opening sentence.

“Political extremism is ripping our nation apart, and the two major parties have failed to remedy the crisis.”

Here’s another choice line.

“Today’s outdated parties have failed by catering to the fringes. As a result, most Americans feel they aren’t represented.”

Look, I realize with flash floods, hurricanes, raging fires, gun carnage, and other horrors of our time I shouldn’t waste my energy on Andrew Yang. Who’s clearly an egomaniac who can’t get over the drubbing he took from Democratic voters in the 2020 presidential primary and last year’s mayoral election in New York City.

So now, it’s like . . . let’s bring the whole party down!

And I don’t want to just pick on Yang. After all, he has two allies in this third-party endeavor—former New Jersey governor Christine Todd Whitman and former Florida congressman David Jolly.

But they’re former Republicans—I expect nothing from them. So, really, Andrew Yang, you’re the disappointing one.

His reason for needing to form a third party is a classic case of false equivalence. In particular, Yang’s notion that the left “fringe” of the Democratic Party is as culpable for our country’s divisions as the right “fringe” of the Republican Party.

That’s ludicrous for many reasons, starting with the fact that the Republican Party has no right “fringe.” There’s only one fringe—MAGA.

Among the many inanities MAGA promotes is the lie that Joe Biden didn’t actually win the 2020 election. That he “stole” that election from Trump.

And so in states across the country MAGA is trying to change election laws to make it harder for people (mostly Black people) to vote. Or to change vote counting so it’s easier for MAGA to discard votes they assume went against them (that is, votes cast by Black people).

By MAGA’s logic, these changes will enable them to stop future “steals,” even though the only steal going on is the one they’re attempting to get away with.

If they succeed,they will have effectively ended democracy, replacing it with a theocracy dedicated to Trumpism.

As for the so-called “fringes” of the Democrats, I assume Yang’s talking about lefties. Who have mostly gone along with the notion that for the good of the country they must put aside their ideological beliefs. Just like the centrists wanted them to.

Thus, they went along with Joe Biden, a lifelong centrist, as the party’s nominee on the grounds that he’s more electable.

Currently, the most powerful Democrat in the country is not even a centrist, much less a leftist. It’s Joe Manchin, a right-of-center senator from West Virginia, who flexed his muscles last week, declaring he would allow Biden to pass his climate change bill.

But only after diluting the bill, larding it with benefits for coal mining companies in West Virginia and renaming it. It’s no longer the Build Back Better Act—it’s the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022. Though it might as well be called the Joe Manchin Act because he’s the man calling the shots.

Even so, the bill still might not pass. Because Senator Kyrsten Sinema, the right-of-center Democratic senator from Arizona, has not not said she’ll support it.

I don’t know how Yang, or anyone, can blame these machinations on the party’s leftist fringe.

Meanwhile, all fifty Republican senators are against the bill. Largely because they will never vote for anything that might help Biden out of fear that they will get blasted by Tucker Carlson and other MAGA wackos for not being sufficiently loyal to you-know-who.

It’s just as bad on the local level, where MAGA wackos are running for offices up and down the ballot.

Here in Illinois, the Republican gubernatorial candidate is state senator Darren Bailey, who, just to pick one issue, is so crazed about abortion he once told followers:

“I believe that abortion is one of the greatest atrocities of our day and I believe it’s one of the greatest atrocities probably forever . . . The attempted extermination of the Jews of World War II doesn’t even compare on a shadow of the life that has been lost with abortion since its legalization.”

Here, watch the video yourself. And shoutout to Arno Rosenfeld of The Forward (the media outlet, not the party) for breaking that story.

Please, Andrew Yang, show me one Democratic candidate—let alone a gubernatorial nominee—who’s said anything remotely as offensive and anti-Jewish. You can’t ’cause they don’t exist.

Only MAGA has convinced itself it’s okay to denigrate anyone—even people slaughtered by Nazis.

I don’t know if Yang and his allies will follow through on their threats to form a third party. If they do, they have the potential to siphon off enough votes to elect MAGA candidates, like Bailey, in many states.

So I’ll close by imploring Yang with that old line centrists used to tell me. Vote blue—no matter who!

If it’s good enough for lefties, Andrew Yang, it’s good enough for you.

The Latest from the Ben Joravsky Show

Nora Wiltse–Libraries Without Librarians The Ben Joravsky Show

Chicago Public School librarian and activist Nora Wiltse considers this question. Why would a city, as rich as Chicago, allow most of its schools to be without librarians? They have a library. But no librarians. Do they want their children to lack critical thinking skllls? To believe whatever they're told? See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.
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