Reader’s Forum — David Belmont & Lou Hinman

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!

David Belmont

David Belmont

It’s a sign of the times when a person who is passionate, intelligent and entrepreneurial chooses to leave the major parties and become a political reform activist, as Andrew Yang has done. And (to wax philosophical/methodological for a moment) hopefully it is a tool and result as well.

Because (to me) there’s an inherent contradiction embedded in such a move. This historic moment is at once crying out for systemic change in our political culture and a horrible environment for such a change. Recently, the Democrats and Republicans have hijacked the concept of democracy for their own purposes (once again). Most Republicans are insisting that the Democrats stole the 2020 election. The Democrats are claiming that everything would be ok if only those nefarious new Republican election laws get overturned.

Where are the American people in all of that? Disappeared. Which is what the future holds for Andrew Yang if we collectively are unable to create an environment where a people’s democracy can take the forefront in the public conversation.

Fortunately, thousands of Americans have been active for many years in political reform efforts that empower the American people. Some of them will be present in our upcoming conversation with Andrew. We welcome him with open arms, open minds and open hearts.

David Belmont is a multi-media artist, community organizer and long-time political reform activist. He was Ballot Access Coordinator for Dr. Lenora Fulani’s 1988 presidential campaign and is currently a researcher for Independent Voting.

Lou Hinman – An Open Letter to Andrew Yang

Dear Andrew Yang –

Lou Hinman

As often happens, Steve Hough of Florida Fair and Open Primaries goes to the heart of the matter. Please be sure to read his post. I have this to add:

I love your book and the courageous choices you have made. I hope that you run for president in 2024 as an independent, and get on the ballot in all 50 states. (There are people who will be on the Politics for the People Book Club zoom call, and many who will not be, who could help you with that.)

Of course, the Democratic Party will come after you with everything they’ve got. They’ll spend millions trying to throw you off state ballots. They’ll call you a wasted vote, a spoiler, a stalking horse for Trump – and worse. The major media (long-time bed fellows of the duopoly) will be against you. You’ll have the fight of your life to get on the ballot nationwide and into the presidential debates. Finally, there will be hysterical pressure on you to drop out before the election.

Can you win? I don’t know — and neither do the Democratic Party boosters. (How could that possibly be known, in a political environment as destabilized, dysfunctional, and disrupted as the one we’re living in?)

But of this I feel pretty certain: If you commit to this fight and declare your determination to see it through to the end (something Bernie Sanders, as a Democrat, would not do) thousands of independent activists will flock to your campaign. If you run a national campaign, you’ll raise tons of money from ordinary people, and you’ll get millions of votes. If you don’t win, you will have shown that the two-party tyranny can be seriously challenged, that the political conversation has been permanently changed – opened up to options beyond what the special interests that support the Democrats and Republicans are willing to endorse.

Perhaps most important, you will have shown that the American people have entered the political fray for their own account — that they won’t be intimidated by another hysterical warning that another Republican presidency (Trump or whoever) means the the end of civilization.

For far too long, the political horizon of voters in America has been only the next election – that is big part of why we are in such trouble now. If you stay the course but lose, you will have built something priceless with the American people – a movement, a foundation, and a hope that extends beyond the horizon of 2024, on which the American people continue to build.

But my short answer to the “spoiler” smear is this: If America is indeed a democracy, then it’s up to all the voters – not the Democratic Party or the Republican Party – to say who is spoiling what in America.

What do you think, Mr. Yang?

Lou Hinman lives in New York City and is an activist with and a member of Independent Voting’s Welcome Committee.


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


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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