Reader’s Forum — Steve Hough

Everything You Want to Know About Andrew Yang & the Forward Party
*But the Pundits, Politicians and Parties Hope You Won’t Ask
A Virtual Discussion Hosted by Politics for the People and Open Primaries
Wednesday, January 12th at 3pm EDT
Register here today!

Steve Hough

Like most Americans, I was introduced to Andrew Yang when he ran for president as a Democrat. As an unlikely candidate for the position, he attracted a large following by speaking to those whose jobs will be eliminated due to ever-increasing automation. Combined with the number of middle-class jobs having already been lost, his vision of the future was fertile ground for planting the seeds of a “Freedom Dividend”.

His presidential bid provided him a national platform and the name recognition to continue having an impact. As he told supporters after dropping out of the presidential race, “Together we will continue to do the work and move this country forward, because the Yang Gang isn’t going anywhere.”

While such a proclamation might be considered standard fare for the usual politician, Andrew Yang was not a politician. He had never held public office. Was it just something one says to comfort the foot soldiers after losing a battle?

It wasn’t long before he was in the political spotlight again, having announced that he was jumping into the race to become the next mayor of New York City. The presidential race was in the rearview mirror, but his role was still fresh in the public’s mind. He was considered an early frontrunner, but he was handicapped by COVID and a Democratic machine that rolled along unabated.

New York City used ranked choice voting in the Democratic Primary for the first time, and it turned out to be a very competitive race between Eric Adams and Kathryn Garcia. Adams, the ultimate winner, also became the de facto Mayor-elect as any Republican candidate would present token opposition at best in the general election. That being the case, over one million independent New Yorkers and every Republican were virtually denied a voice. Regardless of which party dominates a particular area, that is no way to foster a sense of true representation in any election.

Would his failed bid to become Mayor of New York City be the last we heard of Andrew Yang? No.

It wasn’t long before he announced he was becoming an independent, publishing a new book, and forming the Forward Party. When I heard the news, I was excited that someone like him was joining our club, but I also had reservations. I wanted to know more.

I began following him on Twitter and, after hearing him speak on several podcasts, I bought his book. Thankfully, I was then prepared to help counter the backlash. It was swift and unrelenting in those early days following the announcement. He was branded a traitor and accused of wanting to spoil elections for Democrats. Third parties had no place in American politics. Obviously, these folks had not read his book or listened to the numerous interviews where he prioritized the need for electoral reforms.

I don’t know how many times I posted quotes from his book in response to someone attacking him on Twitter. It was exhausting, but I wasn’t alone in pushing back against detractors. There were many others willing to join the fight in defense of a new way “forward”.

I have referred to Andrew as the “James Brown” of politics. For the past few months, there seemed to be a new interview almost daily. In those interviews, he always made a point of acknowledging those who came before him but, in my opinion, he is currently the hardest working man in the electoral reform movement. When you’re hot, you’re hot.

I welcome Andrew to the fight and thank him for agreeing to join the book club for a discussion about his ongoing efforts. May we all feel a little sexier in the months and years to come.

I know, the plumbing of democracy is not sexy. But fixing things is sexy.”

Yang, Andrew. Forward (p. xvii). Crown. Kindle Edition.

Steve Hough is a lifelong independent and became an activist for political reform after retiring as an accountant. He is the director of Florida Fair and Open Primaries.


Join us Wednesday, January 12th
at 3pm EDT
For the Politics for the People
and Open Primaries Virtual Discussion
With Forward Author Andrew Yang


Founder of the Politics for the People free educational series and book club for independent voters. Chair of the New York County Independence Party.

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