Something new is afoot: the Republican and Democratic parties are both in crisis. The Republican circus plays out in plain view, with the release of each additional Russia drip and an unworkable and unpopular healthcare bill destined for the burn pile despite control of Congress and the White House. A Democratic civil war is happening mostly behind closed doors, fierce battles raging in California and Washington, DC between the far-left base and moderates over the party’s future. Only #resist holds them together, but not for long.
Rarely has our political duopoly faced this kind of crisis. From the early days of the Republic, our two major parties have usually traded off their moments of trial. Since the rise of the Federalist Party in the 1790s, we’ve seen a number of parties assume dominance in the duopoly: Democratic-Republicans, Whigs, Democrats, and Republicans. Each arose from nothing or from the ashes of a party that came before. In time, each faced a moment where it had to transform or disappear into oblivion. But seldom have the two dominant parties faced existential crises simultaneously. That’s what’s happening today.
Meanwhile, forces are gathering to disrupt the duopoly. There have always been groups pushing to elect Independents or advocating specific fringe ideas; this is different. Now we're talking about Republicans and Democrats, people who felt moderate-to-strong party loyalty up until eight months ago, exploring their options. For every Joe Scarborough who sheds their partisan colors, there are thousands of everyday Americans who have already made this choice. They know there has to be a better way.
Almost six months ago, I was part of a group that founded the newest and most modern political party in the country. A party dedicated to today’s people first and yesterday’s ideology last. A party for those searching to strengthen our nation’s dignity. A party committed to pragmatic solutions rather than endless ideological bickering. It is called SAM, the Serve America Movement. In the coming weeks you’ll be hearing much more from us.
What’s striking about this movement is that it was created by some of the most reasonable people you will ever meet. It unites what the media terms the “center-left” and the “center-right.” In addition to regular Americans, we have talked to elected officials and present-day candidates on both sides, Democrats and Republicans alike. Most of them must hold onto their party affiliation to help them get (re-)elected, but many professed eagerness to jump ship for something new.
Twenty years from now we will look back and history will not be kind to those who muddled through and looked the other way. History will favor those who did the right thing at the right time. Your children will applaud your choice to set the nation on a modern path that is dedicated to them and their future. We hope you will join us. It only takes a few sparks to light the beacons.
James Waters is the chairman of the Serve America Movement, Inc. Born and raised in Connecticut, he is the Chief of Staff of Compass Partners Advisors, a former United States Navy SEAL, and a former White House staffer.