Forward with Andrew Yang: Lee Drutman Discusses Breaking the ‘Two-Party Doom Loop’

Lee Drutman is a political scientist and the author of Breaking the Two-Party Doom Loop and The Business of America is Lobbying.

In this episode of Forward with Andrew Yang, Lee explains why we need proportional representation, traces the decline of bipartisanship, and makes the case for diminishing lobbyist power by increasing Congress’ policymaking capacity.

Yang, a former Democratic presidential candidate, officially founded the new Forward Party last month. In a statement on the Forward Party website, Yang said he began the party because “the current two-party duopoly is not working.”

6 thoughts on “Forward with Andrew Yang: Lee Drutman Discusses Breaking the ‘Two-Party Doom Loop’

  1. SocraticGadfly

    Well, no, Andrew Yang founded it because he has a big ego and other than on BI, he’s too ConservaDem for many younger Democrats. This is another vanity attempt at a centrist party. Sadly, some Greens I know, including the co-chair of the Texas GP, were suckers for Yang in the 2020 Dem primaries even though, outside of BI, it was clear he was to the right of Sanders on other domestic policy issues and also (as became more apparent in his NYC mayoral run), to his right on one bigger than a breadbox foreign policy issue. His claim that both duopoly parties foster extremism when the Dem Party IS the centrist party is laughable.

    I wasn’t fooled in the first place, so, per The Who, I don’t have to worry about being fooled again.

  2. Austin Cassidy Post author

    The numbers on Basic Income moved quite a bit to the favorable side during the campaign. I agree with those who’ve suggested that the “direct aid” portion of the Covid bailouts were at least somewhat larger specifically because of Yang’s full court press to normalize the idea of a UBI. To that end, I would suggest Andrew Yang moved the needle more significantly than any other “failed” candidate in 2020.

    I haven’t seen enough about the Forward Party to fully understand what they intend to do. If this is a vehicle to push initiatives to implement RCV and nonpartisan primaries, that could be great and could really make a dent in the country’s hyperpartisan gridlock. If they go down the road of recruiting a few dozen Congressional candidates that all get 2% to 4% of the vote in 2022, then I think the whole thing is probably dead on arrival. Time will tell.

  3. Richard Winger

    Lee Drutman did a great job at the 43 minute mark, telling Andrew Yang that “nonpartisan primaries” are not the way to go. I hope he influenced Andrew Yang. Top-five would be a disaster for all third parties. We can see that from the experience of Washington and California. Washington has had top-two primaries starting in 2008, and California starting in 2011. We can predict how those states would have been if they had had top-five, by looking at the primary election returns for those two states. In both states, there is not a single instance when a minor party candidate placed in the top five, for Governor or U.S. Senator. That is not because voters don’t support third parties. It is because there is so much competition in a primary like that among the leading Democrats and Republicans, that the minor parties don’t get any attention at all. The best they could ever do for Governor US Senator was sixth.

  4. SocraticGadfly

    What Richard said, and blogged separately about at Ballot-Access News. “Top X” primaries, in fact are deliberately written to knock out third parties.


    Austin? “Forward’s” Wiki page states that “Forward” is a PAC, at least for now. Well, good leftists will look askance right there. Second, with that, it sounds like a pressure group, like the DSA Roseys, not a third party like Greens or SPUSA.

    I quote:

    “The PAC intends to seek recognition from the Federal Election Commission as a political party to achieve its stated goal of providing an alternative to America’s two-party system.[5][6] However, it also states that for the time being, candidates affiliated with the organization will remain members of the two major American political parties, as well as independent candidates.”

    This is NOT a route Yang had to take. The Reform Party was not started as a PAC. Nor was MPP.

    Also, his slogan? “Not left, not right, forward,” is exactly like stuff I’ve heard from libertarian Greens. Pass.

  5. Austin Cassidy Post author

    The Reform Party was started with a brief bang and ended with a long whimper. I’m not sure it makes sense to model a new party off of their experience.

    Starting as a PAC and gradually putting together the pieces of a party might be the correct way to go.

    It’s totally fair if this is not a project that appeals to you. I don’t know that Yang would really describe himself as a Leftist, nor is he primarily making his pitch to the hard left. You may not be his target audience, but I do think millions of people would be open to the fundamental ideas he’s putting forward.

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