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September 15, 2023
September 15, 2023

At the United States’ founding, the Federalists and Democratic-Republicans were the first political parties, eventually evolving into the Democratic and Republican parties we know today. While a two-party system has been the standard, third parties have occasionally challenged this status quo but have often failed to gain significant traction. Now, groups like No Labels call for third-party “unity tickets” to be added to 2024 presidential election ballots. Those who support third parties say that the two-party system breeds polarized partisanship and hinders governance, while a third party would create non-partisan solutions and be more representative of a wider range of ideologies. Those in opposition say adding a third party encourages vote-splitting, lowering the threshold of votes necessary for unpopular candidates to win, and that the current system fosters stability, simplifies voting decisions, and encourages broad-based, moderate policies.

Against this backdrop, we debate: Does America Need A Third Party?

This debate was live-streamed exclusively to Open to Debate subscribers on August 23, 2023. The podcast will be released on Friday, September 15th.

  • 00:00:03

    John Donvan:

    Hi, everybody, and welcome to Open to Debate. I’m John Donvan. With a debate for those of you who may be fed up with America’s two political party system and interested in thinking through whether there are really any better alternatives to that two-party system.

  • 00:00:17

    A keyword in this one, duopoly, which is what you have when all power is concentrated between two players and it’s what we are said to have in the US, a two-party duopoly where power in elections and in governing goes either to Republicans or to Democrats and only extremely rarely to anybody else and never for very long. That’s our status quo and it gets blamed for a lot of bad things like gridlock and polarization and voter apathy and low turnout and cynicism and corruption.

  • 00:00:46

    Now, whether it is fair and accurate to blame America’s two-party system for all of that is debatable, as is the idea that some people are proposing to challenge that status quo and it’s what we’re gonna debate with this question. Does America need a third-party? So, let’s get into it and meet our debaters.

  • 00:01:05

    Arguing that the answer to that question is yes, he is the founder of the Forward Party and a former presidential candidate, Andrew Yang. Andrew, thanks so much for joining us at Open to Debate.

  • 00:01:14

    Andrew Yang:

    It’s great to be here, John. Thanks for having me. You set it up perfectly. Made this whole list of things that a lot of Americans are very upset about.

  • 00:01:21

    John Donvan:

    Okay. But we’ve got somebody to argue that those are not … that’s actually not the case and (laughs) that is, uh, going to be senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and political science professor at City College of New York, Dan DiSalvo. Dan, you are answering no to the question, “Does American need a third party?” And I want to welcome you as well to Open to Debate.

  • 00:01:36

    Daniel DiSalvo:

    Thanks. It’s my pleasure to be with you.

  • 00:01:38

    John Donvan:

    And before we get started, I, I would just like to get a sense of what motivates both of you to jump into this one. Dan, I- I’ll go to you first. You’re an academic. You’re a scholar. Why does this question get you excited?

  • 00:01:50

    Daniel DiSalvo:

    My- … A lot of my original scholarly research was on, uh, political parties and the functioning of our two-party system, so this has been my sort of academic bread and butter for 20 years. And so, I’m clearly interested in this topic and this question about third parties for 2024 is m- more salient than perhaps it has been in, in, in a good long while.

  • 00:02:10

    John Donvan:

    All right. Thank you. And, and, Andrew, I’m gonna ask you the same question in a slightly different way. Um, as a founder of the Forward Party, and I’m saying a founder because you actually ended up allying with other groups as well to form this party. Uh, my question slightly rephrasing for you is the fact that you have chosen to put your e-, your energies into politics, so much of them at this point. And why is that? What motivates you in that?

  • 00:02:32

    Andrew Yang:

    Well, I- I’m a parent, the son of immigrants. Uh, we can see that there are many thorny problems that are getting worse, not better in American life, problems that only a functional government could address. You could put climate change, immigration, response to AI, education. The list goes on and on.

  • 00:02:49

    And so, if you want us to make meaningful progress on these problems, you need a functional government. Uh, we don’t have one. And we don’t have one largely because of our current duopoly. So, if you’re, uh, an entrepreneur and problem solver like myself, you say, “Well, how are we gonna solve these problems?” Well, it turns out step one is to restore a functional government.

  • 00:03:09

    John Donvan:

    All right. I didn’t wanna get you started (laughs) into your argument yet. You just stepped into it, so let’s move to that phase of the program. And with our first round, we want each of you to take a few minutes to explain why you’re answering yes or answering no to the question of whether America needs a third party.

  • 00:03:22

    And Andrew, you are up first for that. Again, you’re answering yes to the question, “Does America need a third party?” Tell us why.

  • 00:03:28

    Andrew Yang:

    So, number one, Americans want it. It turns out that surveys show 65% of Americans want another political alternative. And they just keep being told, “Why can’t you have one? You can’t have one because.” Uh, you know, because it’s working so well? I mean, that’s clearly not the case or else 65% of us wouldn’t want this new choice in American life, one that doesn’t hue to the, uh, the wings, the extremes, the special interest that controls so much of our politics today.

  • 00:04:01

    Number two, uh, the current system’s not working. And it was a US senator who said this to me. “A problem is now worth more to us unaddressed than addressed. Because if I don’t solve it, I can’t get you mad, I can raise money, I get votes, my job is secure. What happens if I try and do something about it? My job security goes down, the base turns on me, I worked with the enemy, I’m ideologically impure. My 94% reelection rate might actually be threatened.”

  • 00:04:28

    And so, that’s why you have problems that are festering and getting worse in American life and Americans are giving up hope. You know why we’re failing? Because of poor design that we have no choice but to amend and modernize for a modern time.

  • 00:04:42

    And I’m going to, to present a third that may be salient in the near future, that some Americans are concerned about creeping authoritarianism or autocracy. And you know what? Our two-party system is ideally designed to serve us up to an authoritarian regime because if you have a leader in this system, then everyone in the system start to fall in line behind that leader, uh, and then you can wind up with a very, very, uh, uh, authoritarian regime just like that which we can see.

  • 00:05:16

    Now, if you had a more functional system, let’s say there were even three political parties in American life and no one had a majority, then it would be very, very difficult for one individual to control both the executive branch and the legislative branch. If you had three or four independent, let’s call it forward senators and 12 members of Congress, then if you had a, a president of a particular ilk, then they would not be able to take control of two branches of government, maybe three at this point given what’s been going on.

  • 00:05:48

    So, if you wanna make something that’s genuinely resistant to authoritarianism, you would want to amend and modernize the two-party system. Now, I can keep going and I’m going to keep going but at this point, I think I’ve already gone through my first few minutes and I’m happy to, to, uh, cede the time to Dan.

  • 00:06:07

    John Donvan:

    (laughs) A- All right. That’s very gracious of you. Andrew Yang, thanks very much. So, Dan, it’s your turn now. Again, you are answering no to the question, “Does America need a third party?” And here’s your chance to tell us why.

  • 00:06:19

    Daniel DiSalvo:

    Okay. Well, I’ll, I’ll start, um, I appreciate, you know, the points that, that Andrew made. But I, I think here, I think we really should be thinking about third parties in the context of the 2024, uh, presidential election. And that’s probably what most people are thinking about.

  • 00:06:34

    Andrew Yang:

    Oh, no, I, I just wanna jump in here and say let’s take the 2024 presidential election off the table because-

  • 00:06:39

    Daniel DiSalvo:

    Well, I’d like, I’d like to start with the 2024 presidential election because that’s what most people are thinking about for a third party. And I would say I’m gonna-

  • 00:06:47

    Andrew Yang:

    Well, the, the reason why I’m pushing back on this is that the Forward Party is not actually involved.

  • 00:06:51

    Daniel DiSalvo:

    I guess I wasn’t here to debate the Forward Party.

  • 00:06:54

    John Donvan:

    Andrew, I’m gonna, I’m gonna interve-, I’m, I’m gonna intervene to, to make clear that we’re not asking you to make a p-, make s- statements on behalf of the Forward Party running a presidential candidate in this election because we know that the party is not doing that.

  • 00:07:05

    Andrew Yang:

    Whi- which, which makes me fearful that Dan’s going to spend time beating up a straw man. But-

  • 00:07:09

    John Donvan:

    Let’s let him have his shot.

  • 00:07:10

    Daniel DiSalvo:

    Well, I think, you know, many people when they think about a third party and they think about the beginnings of the presidential campaign, they’re thinking about the presidential, uh, presidential election. And many third parties in American history have launched, um, presidential candidates.

  • 00:07:25

    So, I would begin just at that point of the 2024 presidential election and a third party, um, putting forward a candidate. Um, that’s not to say anything about Andrew’s party and its strategy or what, what it wants to do. Um, but I would say … And I would grant a couple of points, uh, initially that Andrew already made which is a plurality, if not a majority, of Americans are unenthusiastic about a Biden-Trump rematch, right?

  • 00:07:50

    And in polls, they say they’re very open to voting for a third-part, uh, candidate in, in the 2024 presidential election. Um, and I agree with Andrew, many Americans and polls say they’re not pleased with our polarized political system, uh, and party system today. Um, and I don’t think that the Biden-Trump rematch is likely to generate, um, a really coherent policy debate over the ne-, uh, problems facing the country, many of which Andrew mentioned.

  • 00:08:18

    However, I would say that third parties, at least in presidential elections, um, don’t win in our political system. And in fact, they don’t often win even below the presidential level. Um, and that’s not likely to be this case this time around. Um, and I can go through plenty of historical examples to make that case, right?

  • 00:08:38

    Most of the time, third parties at all levels including the presidential election really just act as spoilers by draining off votes from one side or the other, um, and then undercutting that existing party. So, we’ve only really had one successful third party in the entirety of American history to the extent that they entered, were able to displace an existing party. And that was the Republican Party in the 1860s which entered the political fray, um, in the 1850s and ultimately displaced the Whig Party.

  • 00:09:09

    So, in that sense, I think if, uh, listeners are thinking about 2024 of certainly of a third-party candidate or more third-party candidates, then putting forward the Green Party and the Libertarian Party which are already considering putting p-, forward candidates are likely to probably act as spoilers and very likely to probably drain votes from President Biden assuming he remains the Democratic Party’s candidate, um, and if Trump is the candidate for the Republicans to aid Trump, um, and probably perhaps help him win.

  • 00:09:42

    In, in some ways, you can look at the data, um, from the 2020 election. And it was in fact the smaller percentage of third-party candidate votes that really helped Biden win in a lot of swing states. Um, I’m not sure a third-party candidate in 2024, um, is going to really help the quality of the public debate, um, about important qua-, uh, policy issues.

  • 00:10:05

    None of the existing third-party candidates, uh, has or third parties that are out there whether this is Andrew’s, uh, a, a nascent political party or others have really staked out cl-, really crystal clear policy positions. One remains to be seen what kind of positions, uh, Cornel West might take with the Green Party. Um, but I can’t say that they’re going to, uh, really improve the quality of the debate here.

  • 00:10:29

    And ultimately, um, this desire for a third party is really just about a desire to have a different political system than the one we have. We have first-past-the-post elections with single-member districts. It’s a very powerful setup to have a two-party system. But that two-party system really allows for two big really diverse political parties. Um, that does allow for a fair amount of choice and change and there’s probably more to be said on its behalf than it’s typically said.

  • 00:10:57

    John Donvan:

    I just want to clarify. Dan, did you say that this current system allows for a fair amount of choice and change?

  • 00:11:02

    Daniel DiSalvo:

    I did. Yes.

  • 00:11:03

    John Donvan:

    All right. I just want to have that, uh, uh, uh, on the record to make sure that I heard you. So, I want to thank both of you for your opening statements. And I just want to summarize what I’m hearing each of you saying.

  • 00:11:11

    Andrew, I’m here you’re saying that, yes, America needs a third party because the current system does lead to negative outcomes, uh, such as cynicism, voter apathy, corruption. Um, you also make the point that … You, you, you’re making the argument that the public wants it, that the public has been demanding this for quite a long time which shows its dissatisfaction, uh, with the status quo. You say our system at the moment is a result of poor design and it has the tendency … could have the tendency to lead to authoritarian regimes.

  • 00:11:38

    And what I’m hearing from Dan is that, um, the case has been made many times before. He feels unpersuasively, uh, that third parties really have a role to play in our system. The point that he just made, he feels the current system does actually allow for a good deal of, um, disagreement and change. Uh, and, um, uh, he also makes the case that in his view, a third candidate at this time or a third party I think in general he does feel does not actually advance the public debate. And that that these parties in the past have acted as roles that he’s defined as spoilers.

  • 00:12:13

    So, there’s a lot for us to talk about when we return and we will be back to have a conversation about all of this right after this.

  • 00:12:31

    Welcome back to Open to Debate. I’m John Donvan. We are debating the question, “Does America need a third party?” We have Andrew Yang and Dan DiSalvo. And one thing I want to clarify i- is that, again, we, we, we understood that you’re coming on in this program not to argue that the party that you represent is making a case for a presidential candidate this year. I just wanna make that clear that that’s our understanding about what the terms of this … your participation in the debate are. We were absolutely comfortable with that.

  • 00:12:57

    Andrew Yang:

    I already know but, but I, but I, I think this is really, really instructive and helpful. Um, because here’s the cultural programming that, uh, Dan is echoing. Third parties are bad because, spoiler, Ralph Nader, Jill Stein screw things up for the two parties in the next presidential election.

  • 00:13:13

    Now, let’s say hypothetically which actually is reality that you had a party, the Forward Party that’s saying, “Look, we’re not getting involved in the presidential race,” then it turns out that 80% of the objections that folks like Dan have disappear. But the … these objections exist not because anyone cares about good governance or results or representing the American people. They just exist because the current establishment says, “You know what, let’s just pre-program all of the media punditry-

  • 00:13:44

    John Donvan:

    Okay, okay.

  • 00:13:44

    Andrew Yang:

    … with the, the fact that third party bad because of presidential election wide.

  • 00:13:47

    John Donvan:

    I, I, I, I, I, I have to, I have to ju-, I have to jump in, Andrew, because I, I need to keep us on point. And I understand-

  • 00:13:50

    Andrew Yang:

    Please continue.

  • 00:13:51

    John Donvan:

    … that you feel that that was on point. Dan made the point that what those who are seeking a third party or asking for is not necessarily just a third party but to change the system that we have that leads to two parties. And do you, do you cop to that? Or is, is your goal also to change our electoral system?

  • 00:14:06

    Andrew Yang:

    Dan was making in some ways mechanical arguments that I, I agree with as a numbers person. He said, “Look, first-past-the-post single-member districts tends to lead to a two-party system.” Now, I want everyone in America to imagine a number that represents the approval rating for US Congress. It’s somewhere between 15 and 25%.

  • 00:14:27

    Now, I want you to imagine a number that represents the reelection rate for incumbent members of Congress. Think of a number. It’s even higher than you probably imagined. It’s 94%. So you have a political system where four to five Americans are unhappy with what is being delivered or not being delivered. But the incumbents have a reelection rate that is higher than the Jordan era Chicago Bulls.

  • 00:14:50

    Um, a- and so when someone says, “Hey, this is a great system for you getting choice and change,” it’s patently false by the numbers.

  • 00:14:58

    John Donvan:

    Okay. I just want to jump in and let Daniel respond.

  • 00:15:00

    Daniel DiSalvo:

    Yeah, I, I think Andrew is correct, uh, that we have a very high incumbency reelection rate. Congress as an institution is not popular, but individual members of Congress are actually quite popular with their constituents. But I guess what I heard overall is that really the desire for a third party is to have a different political system, a multi-party system, uh, that’s much more common in Europe. But our current system is not set up to really permit that.

  • 00:15:24

    I think it’s also important not simply to think about Congress and its polarized current instantiation, but to recall that at the state level, you really have 100 different parties because the Democratic Party of Massachusetts is certainly not the same as the Democratic Party in Oklahoma. Um, and the De-, Republican Party of Utah is not the same as the Republican Party of New York.

  • 00:15:47

    Um, so in that sense, when we talk about the US two-party system, we’re really talking about a system that’s, um-

  • 00:15:53

    John Donvan:

    All right, all right.

  • 00:15:54

    Daniel DiSalvo:

    … got a great deal of diversity inside these two larger parties.

  • 00:15:58

    John Donvan:

    Andrew and I think I hear Daniel saying is that there’s, uh, a great deal of diversity within the party so that even with the incumbency factor that there are people from … in both parties that represent very, very different points of view who have different periods of persuasiveness and access in getting policies passed that they’re behind.

  • 00:16:15

    Andrew Yang:

    75% of Americans live under what’s called a trifecta of one-party rule. If you are in New York or California or Massachusetts, Democrats effectively run the entire government. And that leaves anyone who has a different point of view on the outside looking in, including by the way most rank-and-file Democrats.

  • 00:16:35

    Uh, and then the reverse in a place like Texas or South Carolina or now, uh, you know, Missouri. And if you were to go ask these Americans, “Hey, Dan, like are there 100 different parties representing all the diverse points of view,” they would literally find that statement ridiculous.

  • 00:16:51

    John Donvan:

    Dan?

  • 00:16:51

    Daniel DiSalvo:

    Well, I think again, you can focus on the current party alignments of today. And that Andrew is not wrong in pointing out that, that there is a lot of trifecta government today. But you have to look at the general historic sweep of the United States. Over 200 years, there’s been lots of change. And states that were heavily Republican at one point are now heavily Democratic and vice versa, right?

  • 00:17:11

    So if you’re just looking at a snapshot in time, things look frozen and people are being totally un- unrepresented. But that doesn’t account for lots of historical change, um, that we could expect to happen again in the future and over time.

  • 00:17:24

    John Donvan:

    Dan, um, you, you, you’ve made the argument that third parties are spoilers. But third parties are put into the position of being spoilers because of the current structure. It, it seems to be a self-fulfilling prophecy that third parties are going to be s- spoilers. And I think Andrew is saying that that’s a problem that the existing structure stifles the ability of a third party truly to become viable in the sense of winning elections and getting the chance to govern in a meaningful way.

  • 00:17:50

    Daniel DiSalvo:

    Yeah, I think I, I, I agree with that analysis which is that first-past-the-post single member districts, the Electoral College convert third parties largely into spoilers. So, if listeners are thinking about the 2024 presidential election and they’re not interested in, uh, Mr. Trump being reelected president and they’re concerned about some of the authoritarian tendencies that Andrew mentioned, then they should not want a third party to be on the stage. And that’s an important point about evaluating the efficacy or value or merit of third parties in our current system.

  • 00:18:26

    Now, if we want to expand the debate which I, I gather that Andrew does to an overall indictment of the US political system as unrepresentative and poor given these structures-

  • 00:18:38

    Andrew Yang:

    Well, well, we’ve-

  • 00:18:39

    Daniel DiSalvo:

    … then we could say, “Well, we should have a thi-, a multi-party system and we should move-

  • 00:18:43

    Andrew Yang:

    No, but, but Dan … if then (laughs)-

  • 00:18:43

    Daniel DiSalvo:

    … we should all move to Denmark and that would be great.” Um, and we should have the European system and-

  • 00:18:47

    John Donvan:

    Dan, let, let Andrew, let, let Andrew come in. Andrew wants … I think Andrew wants to take a shoot at something that you wanted to say. Go ahead, Andrew.

  • 00:18:53

    Andrew Yang:

    And no, no, no, I don’t … I mean, I, I agree with a Dan’s … Even Dan it sounds like is conceding like, “Look, i- if you had his druthers, uh, you wouldn’t have this system.”

  • 00:19:00

    Daniel DiSalvo:

    No, I’m actually-

  • 00:19:00

    Andrew Yang:

    Well, that’s what I-

  • 00:19:00

    Daniel DiSalvo:

    … quite favorable to defending the, the US political system-

  • 00:19:04

    John Donvan:

    So, Dan, that means you, you, you don’t-

  • 00:19:06

    Daniel DiSalvo:

    … um, as a relative strong and solid democracy.

  • 00:19:08

    John Donvan:

    … you don’t see, you don’t see anything problematic with first-past-the-post elections in which people with a plurality with, you know, with 32%, um, basically meaning that 68% of the population of the voting public did not want that candidate and nevertheless gets to be the one so it’s a minority candidate. You don’t see that as problematic.

  • 00:19:25

    Daniel DiSalvo:

    Look, every electoral system is going to have its problems, right? E- Even if you look at a multi-party plurality system, every system has its downsides.

  • 00:19:33

    John Donvan:

    I, I, I, know, I know, I know every, I know system will have its downsides. I’m asking you, is this a downside?

  • 00:19:36

    Daniel DiSalvo:

    So, well, right, if you wanna point … Right. Well, it certainly is a downside. But a two-party system also tends to favor majority elections which is usually if you have two candidates, one is going to get more than 50% which is you could say better than, um, many small parties acting as a huge drag in multi-party systems. You could look at Israel as an example of that problem today. Small parties dragging, um, the major parties away from the political center, right? That’s a multi-party system. It has its downsides as well.

  • 00:20:06

    Andrew Yang:

    Uh, I’m for something called ranked-choice voting. And so, ranked-choice voting, uh, ensures that the winner actually has majority support, um, by, by making it so that if you had more than two candidates like Maine did when Paul LePage ran for governor. In that real-life race, the governor of Maine was elected with less than 50% of the vote. People thought that was not what they wanted and so they upgraded to ranked-choice voting which then allows different points of view to emerge and ensures that the winner gets majority support.

  • 00:20:39

    So, uh, one of the things that we champion is ranked-choice voting which would be a massive improvement. Um, and it sounds like John’s asking, “Hey, Daniel, would you like to see our current voting system modernize the ranked-choice voting.”

  • 00:20:54

    Daniel DiSalvo:

    Of- … I think there’s many good parts of ranked-choice voting. I think it ha-, does have some virtues and should be experimented with in, in states and localities such as they see fit. Um, I don’t think that that ranked-choice voting is a guaranteed, um, royal road to a th-, a third party or multi-party system in and of itself. Um, so-

  • 00:21:12

    Andrew Yang:

    We- Well, it … Well, what it would do though is that it would, uh, completely ameliorate your concern which is that if Cornel West, uh, gets certain number of votes, then Cornel’s voters can just rank Joe Biden number two and then the spoiler effect disappears.

  • 00:21:27

    Daniel DiSalvo:

    That, that, that might be true if we were to adopt it for presidential elections which I think is a complete pipe dream. Um, now, at the same time, I would also say that, without going into the technicalities of ranked-choice voting, there is a lot of what are called wasted votes which is, in a sense, people that do not rank any of the candidates that come in for winning or their votes are basically not counted.

  • 00:21:48

    So the idea that ranked-choice voting is vastly superior in its representativeness of the electorate’s preferences I don’t think is borne out-

  • 00:21:56

    Andrew Yang:

    I do need to push back on thi- this because-

  • 00:21:59

    John Donvan:

    I, I wanna give you a chance to respond to that.

  • 00:22:00

    Andrew Yang:

    It says that most of our votes are wasted and extraneous in a system where 94% of races are essentially predetermined for us or you live in a, a state-dominated by one party which is why so many Americans feel on the outside looking in.

  • 00:22:15

    John Donvan:

    All right, into a new direction now in this conversation. Andrew, I want you to talk to, to me about what, what makes a third party a third party? So we have your party. We have libertarians. We have socialists. We have the Green Party. What would make a party a third party? What do you envision?

  • 00:22:30

    Andrew Yang:

    That is the fun part of this, isn’t it? After a year and change, we have elected officials from mayors to state legislators who have already affiliated with the Forward Party. I believe it will be well into the hundreds by next year which will make us the single biggest independent political movement in over a generation.

  • 00:22:46

    So, everyone’s fixated on the presidential. I get it. We all understand it. But there are 500,000 or so local races around the country, 70% of which are uncontested or uncompetitive in the current system because of what I’ve described. And 10s of 1000s of them are nonpartisan roles like county executives. So, imagine a third-party movement that has hundreds of elected officials. Mayors, county executive, school board members, state reps saying, “You know what, I actually want to listen to the people I represent, not the party machine.”

  • 00:23:19

    And so, uh, I would say a third party should be measured by the impact it has on, uh, real voters and constituents.

  • 00:23:28

    John Donvan:

    So you … By third party, you mean basically then you go from a two-party system to a three-party system I think is what you’re saying. And Daniel, I want to ask you to respond on the premise that we’re not yet in a three-party system here. What, what, what would you see as the outcome?

  • 00:23:41

    Daniel DiSalvo:

    Um, it’s, it’s not uncommon at all in American (laughs) political history and political life for there to be third parties that are re- relatively successful in state and local elections, especially local elections, um, in, in municipalities throughout the country. The Green Party has been, uh, you know, fairly influential in California, for example, over time. So, the- there’s nothing really new there.

  • 00:24:04

    Um, you know, it’s also a little like talking about the, the UK which is, uh, largely a two-party system but occasionally has a, a third party that’s pre-, has a presence in parliament. So in these local elections, for a while, you have some of these third-party candidates, but ultimately structural factors that, uh, encourage our two-party system reassert themselves and, and these parties after some success sort of fade from the scene.

  • 00:24:30

    John Donvan:

    So-

  • 00:24:31

    Daniel DiSalvo:

    So, it’s a perfectly fine thing but it’s not, you know-

  • 00:24:34

    John Donvan:

    Yeah, let’s, let’s-

  • 00:24:34

    Daniel DiSalvo:

    … uh, it’s not gonna change the political system in some radical way.

  • 00:24:37

    John Donvan:

    That’s what I, what I want to take to Andrew with this notion of whether there’s a third party. Andrew, would you foresee, I mean would your ideal vision for your party or any third party, uh, theoretically in this conversation, to that the-, that there’d be three viable parties? Or would your goal be to knock out one of the existing parties and be the new party in a two-party system?

  • 00:24:56

    Andrew Yang:

    I’m gonna to rewind for a second. Our founding fathers did not like political parties. George Washington warned against them on the way out. John Adams said two parties would be a great evil across the land. James Madison said you can’t have factions that don’t shift. And if they woke up, they would say, “Wow, you guys are actually living our worst nightmare come to life.”

  • 00:25:13

    Um, when Dan talks about the last time the Republican Party dislodged the Whigs, you know when that was? 1860. Abraham Lincoln wins with 39% of the vote in a four-party race. So, if you ask me what is a functional political system look like in the United States of America, the worst possible number of parties you can have is one. The second worst is two. The third worst is three. The fourth worst is four. You see where I’m going?

  • 00:25:40

    The ideal number of political parties in the United States is probably somewhere between three and six. And if you have that number of functional political parties, you actually have a resilient system that will not succumb to authoritarianism as easily as this decrepit, dysfunctional two-party system that we are writing into oblivion.
    Daniel DiSalvo (25:58):
    Well, yeah. And again, I think Andrew is just making clear that ultimately, this is about, you know, having a different political system almost entirely, um, with … because only such as a completely different political system that would probably have a parliament rather than a Congress that would get rid of bicameralism, uh, in our current f- framework would allow for three to six parties to exist.

  • 00:26:20

    John Donvan:

    I don’t see him going that far in terms of radical change to the structure.

  • 00:26:22

    Andrew Yang:

    But I don’t … I, I actually will, will-

  • 00:26:23

    Daniel DiSalvo:

    But I guess I … What I just heard was the optimal outcome was three to six parties. And to get a six-party system, uh, like Spain or France, um, or, you know, Denmark, you really need to have a parliamentary system with, uh, proportional representation and elections, not first-past-the-post single-member districts and a bicameral legislature.

  • 00:26:44

    Andrew Yang:

    First, let me say that there’s actually a bill in Congress called the Fair Representation Act that would shift to multi-member districts. So Dan is not entirely wrong that I would like to see our system, uh, advance and evolve. But it’s not some airy-fairy hypothetical.

  • 00:26:58

    I’m going to point out what Americans already know. The current Democratic Party should be two separate parties. We all know what I’m talking about. The current Republican Party should be two separate parties. Then maybe there’s one party in the middle, it’s called the Forward Party for fun. Um, then you’re at five. That is a logical system that actually represents where many Americans are and would result in much, much better outcomes. And oh, by the way, would protect us against authoritarianism.

  • 00:27:22

    John Donvan:

    I want to make clear then, uh, Andrew, do you feel the space for the third party that would become viable whether yours is or anybody else’s would be in the center?

  • 00:27:30

    Andrew Yang:

    So here’s the biggest myth in American life and I think Dan will bear this out. The biggest myth in American life is that our leaders have to make 51% of us happy, not true. Uh, 94% of our leaders only have to make 10 or 11% of us happy because that’s who’s voting in the primaries.

  • 00:27:45

    So you have 65, 70% of Americans in the middle who are looking up saying, “I just want things to work better. I just want my kids to actually go to a school that’s functioning and safe and like, you know, my parents not be scared to go on the street.” But our politics does not reflect that one bit. And so, that’s where the opening is. Yes.

  • 00:28:04

    John Donvan:

    Daniel, and I mean another group that is aiming for the center, it says that it’s aiming for the center is the political organization No Labels. And No Labels, uh, started back in 2010 I believe, uh, claiming that they were sort of solution-oriented and wanted to, to defeat polarization.

  • 00:28:20

    They are putting up or are attempting to put up a presidential candidate in 2024. They’ve, uh, qualified in at least 10 states at this point. And they’re being severely bashed particularly by the Democratic Party. What does that tell you?

  • 00:28:34

    Daniel DiSalvo:

    Well, it tells you the Democrats are clearly concerned that a No Labels candidates trying to put forward a candidate that would be sort of centrist or, uh, moderate, um, would drain votes off from President Biden and act as a spoiler as I suggested, which is why I think the third party question for most Americans is one that comes up with presidential elections. And most saliently here for 2024, I realized Andrew would like to avoid that.

  • 00:29:01

    I guess what I would also say about, um, this … these centrists or, or so-called centrist or moderate, um, third party openings, I think there’s probably less space there than meets the eye. Um, if you look at No Labels’ policy platform and certainly the policy platform of the Forward Party, um, they don’t really have one.

  • 00:29:21

    Um, the … And one thing about a political party is that usually people think that it stands for something. It has an agenda or set of issues that it wants to accomplish. Um, but in the case of No Labels, their policy platform is mostly vagaries and pieties to which everyone almost agrees but no brass tacks things.

  • 00:29:40

    The Forward Party, uh, I think it’s kind of creative, um, has explicitly said, “We have no agenda and we’ll just do whatever people running in different-ish districts wanna do.” So it’s a party that wants to be a party without being a party in the sense of having an agenda.

  • 00:29:55

    John Donvan:

    Andrew, um, Andrew-

  • 00:29:55

    Daniel DiSalvo:

    Um, so I think there’s less space there for these, these centrist parties, um, than meets the eye.

  • 00:30:00

    John Donvan:

    Andrew, what lesson do you take from the experience that No Labels is having right now?

  • 00:30:03

    Andrew Yang:

    Well, you know, I, I think it speaks to again, um, the anxiety, uh, among the current establishment that if people have a genuine choice, they’re not actually going to choose (laughs) the major party candidates. So in, in the two-party systems view of the world, we’re all perfectly happy because we’re also well represented by the [inaudible

  • 00:30:24

    ].

  • 00:30:25

    Um, but then it’s like, no, no, no, wait, if you actually have someone else, then people might vote for them so we have to prevent that from happening. But that wouldn’t be a concern if you were actually being represented. So, i- it’s a bit of a catch-22 self-fulfilling prophecy that they found themselves in.

  • 00:30:38

    The only way out, in my view, is to just step up and say, “All right, look, guys, it is true that our current democratic system does not represent people awfully well. And instead of trying to stifle competition everywhere we can, we’re going to implement a more modern system that hinges on ranked-choice voting, maybe even multi-member districts, and give rise to actual true representation that will stand the test of time instead of clinging to a dysfunctional system that will serve us to a very, very bad regime in the not so distant future.”

  • 00:31:10

    John Donvan:

    All right, we are coming up to a break. When we come back, we’re gonna bring in some, um, expert journalists who’ve been covering this topic for some questions and answers to our debaters. The question we’re looking at is, “Does America need a third party?” And we’ll be right back.

  • 00:31:38

    Welcome back to Open to Debate. I’m John Donvan. I am joined by Andrew Yang and Dan DiSalvo. We’re debating this question, “Does America need a third party?” So now, we’re going to bring in some other voices, uh, very respected members of the press who, um, who, who cover, uh, politics and have been looking at these questions.

  • 00:31:55

    I want to start first with, uh, Gideon Lichfield. He, um, is the outgoing global editor in chief of WIRED. Um, he has been, um, looking at the future of democracy and most recently pivoting to the impact of tech and artificial intelligence on it. So that brings a v-, a very, very (laughs) contemporary up-to-date and topically relevant, uh, spin on, on how, um, Gideon is looking at politics.

  • 00:32:20

    But Gideon, thanks so much for joining us at Open to Debate.

  • 00:32:22

    Gideon Lichfield:

    Thank you very much. Thank you, John. Hello, Andrew and Daniel. I’m going to ask, um, a disappointing, a non-tech focused question. Um, Jamelle Bouie wrote a year ago in the Times when the Forward Party was launched that, um, third parties have succeeded most in the US when they focused on a very clear and even polarizing policy position, that they succeed in getting one of the two main parties to adopt and he cites the anti-slavery Free Soil Party in the 1840s.

  • 00:32:48

    Uh, and Daniel, I, I think you sort of tilted at this when you said that the two-party system is actually flexible and allows for change. I think you were suggesting that it can absorb new ideas that, that are brought in from outside. Um, so Jamelle Bouie argues in this piece what the Forward party has done and also doesn’t really have a clear platform other than people are sick of the two-party system and we need electoral reforms.

  • 00:33:09

    My question to Andrew is what do you say to this argument that you don’t have a policy platform? What do you stand for? How would you get people to vote for you when you don’t have clear positions on climate, on the economy, on health care and so on?

  • 00:33:21

    And then, Daniel, given how tribal politics has become today and how there isn’t really political debate anymore, as far as I can tell, what do you think would be an issue that a third party like Andrew’s could adopt that would make inroads?

  • 00:33:36

    Andrew Yang:

    Thank you for the question, Gideon. So, here’s the game that, uh, the two-party system would love us to play and associated media organizations. What are you really? Uh, i- in other words, if you’re a third party, um, you have to be either left or right or Democrat or Republican. So I’m going to keep pressing until I find what you are and then we can put you in a bucket and ignore you. You can then fight it out within that party. Two-party system wins, America loses.

  • 00:34:02

    The Forward Party stands for a very simple representation which is that our leaders should do what the communities that they represent actually want. Um, if you look at a Princeton study, you know what the relationship is between what Americans want and what we’re getting? There is no relationship. So, the Forward Party, uh, has said, “You know, what, we’re actually going to give voice to what people want in their communities.”

  • 00:34:25

    And the exciting thing is that when I sat with a mayor in Colorado, um, who has not yet publicly joined the Forward Party but I expect will, he actually asked me, “Okay, what is the litmus test? What is it that you want me to cop to?” And then when we said, uh, “Working with people you might disagree with, grace and tolerance, solving problems, listening to evidence, respecting election results in the rule of law,” he said, “That’s it? Sign me up.”

  • 00:34:53

    If you try and take a stance and in ideological terms in this system, then the two-party system wins. And believe it or not, people, I care about the folks in Massachusetts and Mississippi. I refuse to, to write off half the country which is exactly what the two-party system has done.

  • 00:35:10

    Gideon Lichfield:

    It seems like saying, “Do what Americans want,” but not often not tell them what you’d be willing to do in response to their demands leaves, leaves, leaves you open to that, that same charge that you … nobody knows what you stand for and so they won’t vote for you.

  • 00:35:23

    Andrew Yang:

    Well, well, the, the fun, the fun thing, Gideon, is, is we have a system right now that’s giving virtually none of us what we want. Think about the thing you’re passionate about. And then is the system actually delivering to you what you’re passionate about?

  • 00:35:34

    John Donvan:

    But that’s, but that’s … But, but, Andrew, that’s not a response to, to Gideon’s challenge that, that the other guys are not doing it well either. His, his … I think his challenge is that-

  • 00:35:41

    Andrew Yang:

    Well, it’s that right now, we’re being separated into ideological camps when none of us will actually achieve those goals because the system is designed not to give any of us meaningful results.

  • 00:35:49

    John Donvan:

    But ultimately, choices have to be made in terms of policy. And people want to know wh-

  • 00:35:53

    Andrew Yang:

    Yeah. And we’ll, we’ll actually let the American people make that choice instead of, uh, trying to, you know, tribalize everyone.

  • 00:35:58

    Gideon Lichfield:

    I think the challenge is how you would convince people that you aren’t gonna give them what they want when the other two parties are not, like what, what’s your credibility though?

  • 00:36:05

    Andrew Yang:

    That is the case we have to make to folks around the country.

  • 00:36:07

    John Donvan:

    Daniel, what would be an issue that could motivate and energize and define a third party in a meaningful enough way to make it successful in terms of elections and potentially governance?

  • 00:36:17

    Daniel DiSalvo:

    The problem is that I don’t see one of these big national cleavage issues, uh, an issue like slavery, an issue like, um, free silver in the late 19th century which animated the Populist Party, um, as a wedge issue and helped it in. In a sense, you could say reform and remake the Democratic Party, uh, under the, under the guise of, uh, William Jennings Bryan.

  • 00:36:39

    So we don’t … I don’t see a national issue that hasn’t partly been addressed. You could think about cl- … You mentioned climate change, one of the signature, uh, successes of what you could say is the moderate, uh, centrist Biden administration is the Inflation Reduction Act, um, and a number of other, uh, climate-related initiatives, um, that have just passed.

  • 00:36:59

    I don’t see where New Labels or these other third parties are saying we have a different position on what should be done on climate change, um, than the Biden administration that’s, that’s going to be a centrist one anyway. I could imagine from you could say the socialist left something much more statist and, um, that would try to animate climate change as a centrist issue. But I just don’t see that.

  • 00:37:21

    I think the bigger thing here is to go back to something on, on Andrew’s point which is that Andrew has really been … made over and over which is this denunciation of the United States government as completely unrepresentative, um, and basically terrible. Um, and I think there’s obviously for politicians and party activists running against Washington is the oldest strategy in the book.

  • 00:37:42

    But I think there’s much more to be said on behalf of the United States and behalf of much of its policymaking record which is fairly representative, you know. And does often do, perhaps slowly, perhaps grudgingly but it does sort of get there over time. Um, and there’s a, a certain impatience today, you could say, that wants to have a third party or wants to reform the political system. But I think the United States government is much more responsive and delivers better and certainly in comparative perspective to other European nations, um, or other rich nations around the world.

  • 00:38:18

    John Donvan:

    Gideon, I want to thank you so much for, uh, for bringing something new to the conversation. Thank you for that. Um, our next journalist joining the conversation, staff writer at The New Yorker, Sue Halpern, who by the way, uh, recently wrote the piece What Is No Labels Trying to Do?” Uh, and I recommend it.

  • 00:38:32

    But Sue, thanks for joining us at Open to Debate. And what’s your question?

  • 00:38:36

    Sue Halpern:

    Hi, there. Good to s- see both of you. I agree with Andrew about ranked-choice voting. I think if we’re going to have multi-parties, then that’s the way to go. Um, we already have third parties. So, one thing I don’t understand how does the third party work in that duopoly?

  • 00:38:56

    And, and secondly, th- thing I don’t really understand at all is, is when you’re talking about changing party structure, you’re not really talking about structural change in the United States. So, you talk, Andrew, about, uh, the incumbency issue. Um, why do we have an incumbency issue? Um, let’s talk about money in politics. What’s to say that a third party won’t suffer the same, uh, debilities that we’re seeing in, in a two-party system.

  • 00:39:29

    Andrew Yang:

    I love your line of questioning. And so, I think money in politics is noxious and getting it out, uh, is necessary. Um, 74% of Americans are for term limits for members of Congress. Um, there is an entire anti-corruption, uh, message and platform that most Americans instinctively embrace and agree with.

  • 00:39:50

    Um, now, when you talk about what we can actually get done, I’m glad you like ranked-choice voting. Um, I think if we have ranked-choice voting, you could get rid of the spoiler effect, you, you’d have people actually have to get ma- majority support.

  • 00:40:02

    Um, now, the way this could look in the United States of America, so the Forward Party, um, we think will be at several 100, uh, by next year. And how many US senators would it take to change national politics? Uh, in the current system, uh, one, two, max three. What percentage of state legislators would you need to change the agenda? Probably about 5%.

  • 00:40:26

    No one loves what’s going on right now, Sue. I mean, two-thirds of Americans want something very different than what they’re getting. That’s probably low. It’s more like 75%.

  • 00:40:35

    Sue Halpern:

    Although, you know, when you look at those polls and, uh, what you find is if you say to a Democrat, “Do you don’t like this system,” they say no. And then you say, “Will you vote for Joe Biden today versus, you know, someone else,” they say yes, like 80% of them. 80% of Democrats will still vote for the Democrat and 80% of the or even maybe more of the Republicans would vote for Trump.

  • 00:40:56

    So, I mean you have to parse those, those polls a little differently, I think. Um, and also most independents, even though they say they’re independent have a kind of intrinsic affiliation with a party.

  • 00:41:09

    John Donvan:

    Thank you, Sue. Our third question here comes from RealClearPolitics, Eric Felten. He’s an investigative correspondent there. Eric, thanks for your patience. And come on in and what’s your question?

  • 00:41:18

    Eric Felten:

    My first question is for Dan. And, and it’s really, what, what is a political party for? You know, political parties do the nuts and bolts of, you know, getting people on the ballot. And a lot of times, the, um, uh, candidates who kind of come out of nowhere, um, stumble when it comes to getting on the ballot in all 50 states. And that’s because there isn’t a party there.

  • 00:41:45

    Daniel DiSalvo:

    Yeah, just to be brief, I mean, what is a political party, huge subject (laughs) of debate among political scientists. But I think, Eric, your question, in some ways, contains the answer which is it’s a mediating institution, um, between voters and government. It’s meant to connect voters to government. And it’s meant to be a vehicle for, um, people who wanna run for office and who wanna ch-, make change in American society.

  • 00:42:10

    Um, to get on the ballot to do all those nuts-and-bolts things and to advocate for peci-, specific positions, um, that they hold and they think are the wise course of action. Um, and it’s … And finally, you could say it’s meant to help organize government, organize legislatures. That’s what, uh, political parties often do. So really those, those three things.

  • 00:42:30

    John Donvan:

    Andrew, would you like to, um, also define what is a party? I think it’s a really great question.

  • 00:42:33

    Andrew Yang:

    I’ll defer to the expert on that. It sounds good to me.

  • 00:42:36

    John Donvan:

    (laughs) All right. Uh, Eric, thanks very much for your question to us.

  • 00:42:39

    Eric Felten:

    Sure.

  • 00:42:40

    John Donvan:

    We have one question that’s shown up in the chat that I think we might just be able to squeeze in. It’s often claimed … This is from Megan Richard. It’s often claimed that the primary races dominate the system and limit possible results with eliminating primaries or changing the way they operate help. Again, uh, I can give each of you 30 seconds on this. And Dan, if you want to go first.

  • 00:43:00

    Daniel DiSalvo:

    I think there’s many, uh, case to be made of reforming our primary system. Uh, there’s a case to be made. Of eliminating primaries, I don’t think that we would want to do. But I do think primaries are indicative of a point I made earlier in our discussion which is the amount of choice and change, which is look at the Democratic presidential primary in which Andrew participated. Look at the recent Republican presidential primaries. We’re talking 15, 16 candidates. Um, that’s giving a lot of diversity of views of giving people a lot of choice inside what is a very large party.

  • 00:43:31

    Um, we might want to reduce the amount of time for our primary season and the cost which goes to some issues about campaign finance. Um, but I would say our primary system is very open and does show the diversity inside our parties.

  • 00:43:45

    Andrew Yang:

    We need to get rid of party primaries as fast as possible. We got rid of them in Alaska in 2020. We saw immediate results. Uh, Sarah Palin out. Kelly Tshibaka out. Lisa Murkowski back in even though she voted to impeach Donald Trump at a cost of $6 million, evergreen. There are ballot initiatives to make this happen in Nevada and Arizona. In 2024, let’s get it done.

  • 00:44:07

    If we don’t get rid of the party primaries, we will continue to be held hostage by parties that do not represent, not in a least-

  • 00:44:13

    Daniel DiSalvo:

    And what would you replace the … How are you going to select candidates then?

  • 00:44:16

    Andrew Yang:

    Uh, uh, Daniel, just look at what they did in Alaska. They said everyone can run, you can vote for anyone you’d like. The top four get through to the general, chosen via ranked-choice voting. Voila.

  • 00:44:25

    Daniel DiSalvo:

    Well, that’s an interesting reform because that’s actually to try and eliminate political parties entirely. So that would be [inaudible

  • 00:44:31

    ]-

  • 00:44:30

    John Donvan:

    Well, it’s getting, it’s getting hot here. It’s getting hot here just as we need (laughs) to move into our closing rounds. We’re going to bring this home with closing remarks. Andrew, you do have the floor. You get the, uh, the first crack at the, uh, closing statement. Again, uh, you’re answering yes to America does need a third party. One more time to tell us why.

  • 00:44:46

    Andrew Yang:

    Well, thank you. Thank you, Dan. Thank you, John. Um, you know, it’s almost like being back into the presidential debate stage. I’m kidding. This is much even … This is much, much better. We can all see that we’re not heading in a positive direction right now.

  • 00:44:57

    And when, when Daniel talks about, hey, our government is working okay in terms of response, how long has it taken our government to respond to the arrival of social media? Hint, they never did. And that’s one reason why we are now seeing our public consciousness fragmented into a thousand or a million silos? How long will it take our government to get AI right? What’s your confidence level on that? What’s your confidence on immigration? What’s your confidence on, uh, any of the major issues of the day.

  • 00:45:27

    Your confidence level is low because you are awake, you are sentient, you are looking around. And we’re in an era where we cannot wait for 25 years in the vain hopes that our leaders get it right. You know why our hopes are vain is because they do not have to get it right in this system.

  • 00:45:43

    Again, 94% incumbent reelection rate, the biggest mistake they can make is actually trying to do something or running afoul of their beasts or dying. Those are the only ways you lose office in this system. So, why would they do the right thing by us? Why would they in the face of the billions of dollars that flood our system and have them all handcuffed and then in the hopes they can like get out and, and get a, a cushy job afterwards? Like that is not going to fix. The problems are getting worse, not better.

  • 00:46:14

    What will fix it? You know, I’m going to say we’re not quite sure. But what has the best chance is if millions of Americans stand up and say, “Okay, I get it. I’m being played. I’m being manipulated. I’m being turned against my fellow American.” And if enough of us come together, we can free ourselves from the yoke of a system that does not care one whit about us or our families. This is the only way out.

  • 00:46:41

    John Donvan:

    Thank you. You hit time perfectly. I just want to point out on that. Uh, Dan, you have the last word in this. One more time, you are answering no to the question, “Does America need a third party.” One last chance to tell us why.

  • 00:46:52

    Daniel DiSalvo:

    Well, I think this … our debate and discussion has gone much beyond just that question, um, to really this broader question of does America need a multi-party system and to be dramatically overhauled? And perhaps the overhaul will come from some spontaneous awakening that just … Andrew just mentioned of millions of Americans all of a sudden demanding reform.

  • 00:47:12

    I guess for my part, I think that, uh, that’s unlikely to occur. I think that our current system has m- many defects but maintains many virtues as well including our two-party system. Um, third parties will likely continue to flourish at the state and local level in American politics. Third parties will probably emerge in the future in presidential elections. They will have facts that people don’t like serving as spoilers. Ralph Nader helping to elect Bush in 2000, Jill Stein helping to elect Trump in 2016.

  • 00:47:45

    So, those are going to be permanent features likely of our system going forward. If we focus the question narrowly on should a third party be launching presidential candidates or alternative parties be launching presidential candidates in 2024, it probably depends on your politics. If you’re a supporter of President Biden, you probably think not. If you’re a supporter of President, uh, of former President Trump, you probably think No Labels should definitely put up a, a candidate, um, and it will help President (laughs), uh, former President Trump win reelection.

  • 00:48:16

    Um, so on that score, I think this … the debate has really gone on to this broader question of, you know, is American government functional? I think to put … A- Andrew has a very high standard of evaluating whether American government is performing well. But I think if we look at it compared to what, compared to an idealistic standard that Andrew is describing or compared to standards of other democracies around the world, then I would say the United States doesn’t fare so badly if we look at those international comparisons.

  • 00:48:44

    John Donvan:

    Thank you very much, Dan. And I, I just want to say to both of you, Andrew and Dan, thank you so much for taking part in this program from Open to Debate. The two of you prove that we can do what we set out to do with this program which is to show that people can disagree with one another in a civil way that sheds light.

  • 00:49:00

    Um, both of you d- did that with, you know, just hit tho- those notes perfectly for us. And we really, really appreciate the energy, uh, and also the decency that you brought to this, uh, conversation in this debate. I also want to thank our journalists Sue and Gideon and Eric for bringing the conversation into even more interesting directions.

  • 00:49:17

    That does conclude our debate. And I want to thank our audience for contributing, um, your, your time, uh, and for being able to, uh, actually bring one of your questions, uh, also into the program. And thanking everybody for tuning into this episode of Open to Debate.

  • 00:49:30

    You know, as a nonprofit, our work to combat extreme polarization through civil and respectful debate is generously funded by listeners like you and by the Rosenkranz Foundation and by supporters of Open to Debate. Open to Debate is also made possible by a generous grant from the Laura and Gary Lauder Venture Philanthropy Fund.

  • 00:49:46

    Robert Rosenkranz is our chairman. Clea Conner is our CEO. Lia Matthow is our Chief Content Officer. Alexis Pancrazi, Kristine Mueller and Marlette Sandoval, our Editorial Producers. Gabriella Mayer is our Editorial and Research Manager. Andrew Lipson is Head of Production. Max Fulton is our Production Coordinator. Damon Whittemore is our engineer. Gabrielle Iannucelli is our Social Media and Digital Platforms Coordinator. Raven Baker is Events and Operations Manager. Rachel Kemp is our Chief of Staff. Our theme music is by Alex Clement.

  • 00:50:15

    And I’m your host, John Donvan. We’ll see you next time.

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