Former Republican NJ governor threatens to form third party
Former Gov. Christie Todd Whitman has helped form a coalition of 150 Republican and independent leaders calling for a potential third political party, unless the current GOP turns away from "rising political extremism."
“As GOP leadership marginalizes Representative Liz Cheney and other honorable members and citizens for simple acts of truth-telling and conscience, founding signatories to this statement are mobilizing disaffected voters to impact competitive elections around the country and shape the future of the nation,” according to a written joint statement issued Thursday.
The platform dubbed “A Call for American Renewal” does not mention President Donald Trump or any other politicians by name.
Instead, its 13-points include: “Our nation’s future should not be dictated by a single person but by principles that bind us together. That’s why we believe in pushing for the Republican Party to rededicate itself to founding ideals—or else hasten the creation of an alternative.”
The coalition also has said it “cannot stay quiet in the face of rising political extremism” and stands against “fear-mongering, conspiracism, and falsehoods and instead support evidence-based policymaking and honest discourse.”
Others in the coalition include former Homeland Security Chief and Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge, former Homeland Security Chief Michael Chertoff, George Conway and former U.S. Rep. Barbara Comstock of Virginia.
“Right now, Trump’s hold on the party is really based on primaries; and the fear that these representative senators and congresspeople have that his base will come out no matter what — and they’re not so sure about the rest of the voters who are repudiating Trump right and left,” Whitman said in an appearance on MSNBC Thursday morning.
“His latest poll numbers — even though they, he tried to hide them — show that his positives are way down, way below his negatives,” she continued.
Independents have the most registered voters, followed by democrats and then republicans, Whitman also said.
According to 2020 analysis by Pew Research Center, in recent years it's been a close split, as a third of registered U.S. voters (34%) identified as independents, while 33% identified as Democrats and 29% identified as Republicans, based on surveys in 2018 and 2019.
In New Jersey as of May, 2.55 million voters were registered as democrats, 2.43 million voters were unaffiliated,
and 1.46 million were registered Republicans. It's the same ratio as last fall, heading into the November election.
Whitman has been a very vocal critic of Trump over the past few years.
In fall 2019, she repeatedly called the then-president a "dictator," and at one point compared him to Adolf Hitler.
Last summer, Whitman was part of a video presentation of self described "lifelong Republicans" during the Democratic National Convention who said they were backing Joe Biden for president.
In December, she urged members of both major political parties to stand up to Trump's threats to withhold coronavirus relief.