What is the Florida Forward Party?
The Florida Forward Party is the official Sunshine State chapter, and pending official party affiliate, of the Forward Party, a national Political Action Committee dedicated to breaking through our current duopoly and changing democracy for the better through the creation of a viable, credible, and durable new party.
Wait, so does that mean you’re an official political party here? Can I register for Forward at the DMV? Can I vote Forward?
Yes, we are! In fact, you don't even have to go to the DMV - just register online at RegistertoVoteFlorida.gov.
What does the Florida Forward Party stand for? What policies does it support?
As part of the national FWD movement, the Florida Forward Party is committed to free people, thriving communities, and vibrant democracy. We believe in innovative, open-minded policymaking, in grace and tolerance in our discourse, and in working together to build powerful, lasting solutions.
At the policy level, however, we’re a new kind of party that doesn’t have a robust platform with an “answer” to every issue because we believe in a roots-up approach that empowers candidates to bring their own ideas to the table, to find the kind of Forward thinking that works for their constituents and communities. And while our state platform may evolve as we continue to grow, allowing this freedom is an essential part of who we are, and what sets us apart from today’s partisan noise.
As we work on building this party from the ground up, we hope you’ll come along and advocate for the issues you support and be one of the many voices contributing new, innovative ideas on how to improve our democracy.
Why We're Different
How is Forward different from other third party efforts? Why should we believe that it’s going to succeed?
The Forward Party builds from the ground-up, strengthening our common-ground message through the incredible energy of our organizers, and through the powerful and innovative solutions of the candidates we present. We will focus early on local races where the barrier to entry is much lower, building gradually and organically to develop the brand equity and resources to compete for higher offices. Along the way, we’re going to support efforts for needed structural reform that can allow more third-party and independent candidates, and more voters, to make their voices heard.
And yes, we are serious about winning. We’re not just here to make a statement. We’re not just here to push one issue. We want to take the steps that we need, and take the time that we need, to build the viable, credible, and durable new party that our nation needs.
Aren’t you just going to pull votes from [Major Party]?
No. While the issue of the spoiler effect does tend to get played up by the major parties to scare voters away from voting for new voices, we do understand people’s worries about throwing votes away, and we intend to act strategically so as not to put voters in such a situation.
That means we’re going to support efforts for structural reform, like alternative voting systems and open primaries, that allow for fairer and more open competition without spoiler worries. And where these reforms are in place, we’re going to make the most of them by bringing refreshing new voices to the stage.
It also means, most critically, that we’ll be focusing on the some-70% of political contests in our nation (and many in our state) that are uncontested, as well as those where lopsided party enrollment makes a D vs. R race a done deal. In races like these, there’s simply nothing to spoil, and our presence would be creating needed competition rather than getting in the way of it.
Yes, we do intend to support candidates in three-way (or more), competitive races. But we are going to be selective with these, emphasizing exceptional candidates (or exceptionally bad duopoly ones) or unique circumstances that give us a clear, strategic pathway to victory. The sour taste of a spoiled outcome has been the ruin of upstart parties in the past, and it’s not one we want to leave our supporters with
What about the issue of money in politics? How can you possibly compete with the Democratic or Republican machines?
The power and influence of money in politics is indeed a big issue, and one of the major drivers of our current troubles. And while we do encourage efforts for reform in this field, it’s not a problem that can be solved easily, and it’s crucial for our party to plan to compete strategically within the current system.
That means, first of all, knowing where to aim and when. Our emphasis on building up through local leadership is a major facet of our grassroots philosophy, which also means that many of the early races we face will have a lower monetary barrier. Rather than start by aiming at the presidency as many third-party efforts do (and Forward has no intention of running a candidate in 2024), we want to focus on building up credibility first.
We also intend to take strategic advantage of many of the non-monetary resources available to us, and there are quite a few. Our prominent ambassadors give us a strong head start as far as social media presence and visibility, compared to most any new party effort. The rapid, recent rise of independent media channels gives us a tremendous avenue to share out our ideas and our duopoly-breaking spirit. And the toxic brand and dismal popularity of our major parties is one thing that no amount of money can cover up.
Finally, it’s worth noting here that we take our fundraising apparatus seriously, and we’ve already built up a strong base of support through the passion of voters like you. Even in our nascent stage, Forward is the third largest party in the nation in terms of resources, staff, and cash on hand, and that provides us with an opportunity that we absolutely intend to make the most of.
Aren’t you the RCV guys? Isn’t that what you’re all about?
No, actually we’re not. Ranked Choice Voting is a crucial piece of democracy reform that’s having quite an impact around the nation, and it’s one many of us are excited about - because it’s a powerful innovation, and because it helps us to work towards the thriving democracy that our party so values. But it is not the be-all, end-all of the Forward Party.
We are not a one-issue party, and we understand that many voters have much more than voting reform on the mind. Our candidates have big and bold ideas on the economy, immigration, education, and so much more, and we owe it to them to uplift those ideas. Because at the end of the day, we need to demonstrate that, not only would it be nicer if our democracy welcomed more voices to the table, but it would lead to better solutions for all.
Moreover, Ranked Choice Voting is not the only democracy reform out there, and it’s not even the only alternative voting system worth paying attention to. Approval Voting, STAR Voting, and others all have unique appeals, and all may have states or districts where they are going to be either more appealing to constituents or more politically viable due to laws and regulations. The Forward Party is not interested in pushing top-down policy and purity-testing on it, and we make no exception here.
So you’re some sort of centrist / moderate party?
Also no. The Forward movement features a wide range of voices from across the political spectrum, all with a shared passion for working together towards solutions for the critical issues of our time. We believe great ideas can come from anywhere - left, right, or center - and that’s exactly why it is so essential that we listen to one another, and take a data-driven and pragmatic approach to finding what works.
I’m uncomfortable with the lack of stated top-down policy. How can I vote for a party if I don’t know what it stands for?
Here’s the thing - you don’t vote for a party. You vote for a candidate, and the candidates that fly under the Forward banner are going to tell you what ideas they intend to bring to the table, and how they intend to act when elected. We’re going to hold them to that.
Now, if you want to support our party, and become a part of this movement to empower both problem solvers and the voters they serve, to change the way we do politics for the better, then of course, please do! But rest assured, we will never ask you to vote without knowing exactly who and what you’re voting for.
Where can I find Forward events in my local area?
The full calendar of Forward events happening here in Florida and across the country is available here - if you’d like to view only the events happening in Florida, you can find them here.
If you don’t see any events in your area yet, learn more on how to do this under the “How do I host an event in my area?” question.
How do I host an event in my area?
Easy! Just check out our Meetup Hosting Guide. Once approved, your event will be made public on our calendar and we will promote it through our email list and social media pages to help you spread the Forward spirit in your community.
Wow! That sounds cool. How can I get involved?
We’re glad you asked!
A great place to start is our Discord, where thousands of Forwardists from around the nation gather to chat about policy, strategy, and life in this wacky world. And yes, we’ve got plenty of dedicated channels especially for Florida, as well as for local communities throughout the state. You can also check out our Discord guide to learn more on how to join this online community!
If you think you might have a bit of time to dedicate, we also encourage you to consider volunteering by signing up here.