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The Optimistic American - Audio Edition

Aug 30, 2023

Paul Johnson sits down with presidential candidate and Forward Party Founder Andrew Yang. They discuss the status quo of the American political system and why the partisan system is dividing Americans and not providing them with a functional government.

Additionally, the two talk about how the Forward Party was born and what it’s all about, the biggest threats to American democracy, and some mind-blowing statistics about the current political landscape.

  • Andrew Yang and Paul Johnson kick off the conversation talking about the Forward Party and why Yang decided to focus on reform as opposed to simply sticking with the Democratic Party and potentially run in another primary for President.
  • In Yang’s opinion, the current two-party system is not designed for good policy, but rather for putting people against each other.
  • Yang discusses the aftermath and repercussions of going from being a longtime Democrat to an Independent.
  • Yang believes that there are a lot of issues, such as climate change, education and immigration, that aren’t going to be solved unless the political system itself evolves.
  • Yang and Paul touch upon what’s not working with the current political system and how people are getting dragged to the extremes by the tribalism of the Party.
  • The Forward Party is focused on being a gathering ground for folks who want common sense solutions and good policy, while also advocating for structural reforms.
  • Paul and Yang touch upon the financial ramifications of the current political system and what the Forward Party aims at achieving from that standpoint.
  • Andrew Yang explains why you can be successful with an effort such as the Forward Party without actually having to win in every state.
  • Many people think that 51% is needed for the Forward Party to change politics for the better – however, that number is way lower, closer to 10%, says Andrew Yang.
  • The Forward Party’s platform is really designed to change the existing system and empower independents and unaffiliated voters through promoting open primaries and rank choice voting. The effort is designed to push these reforms as well as eliminating dark money in politics, and it allows its members to make up their own minds on divisive issues.
  • You can join the Forward Party and remain a registered Democrat, Republican, or Independent. Yang explains what people can do to try and make a change.
  • A little dirty secret of American democracy: up to 70% of local races are uncontested or uncompetitive.
  • Yang explains that getting a number of committed people together to boost a local candidate can make an enormous difference.
  • Paul and Andrew Yang share what they consider the biggest threats to democracy right now. Both are very optimistic about America, but our biggest threat is politics and the two political parties.



Mentioned in This Episode:

Addictive Ideologies: Finding Meaning and Agency When Politics Fail You by Dr Emily Bashah and Hon Paul Johnson

The Optimistic American on YouTube - @optamerican

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