SAN JOSE (KPIX 5) — A former Republican Congressman from California has launched a brand-new political party aimed at the growing number of voters who identify themselves as independents or have no party preference.
The new party formed by former Congressman Tom Campbell calls itself the Common Sense Party.
“There’s a huge movement to say, ‘Stop bickering and start solving problems. Start looking at issues rather than what’s good for the political parties,” said San Jose City Councilman Johnny Khamis.
Khamis recently left the Republican party, objecting to President Trump’s inflammatory rhetoric about immigrants.
Khamis believes a growing number of voters are frustrated with the traditional two-party system and looking for a viable alternative. Others remain skeptical.
“In theory, yes I think it could work. But in practice, I think we’re still locked in a two-party political ideology. Most people are still going to retreat to their red or blue corners,” said San Jose State University Public Relations Professor Shaun Fletcher.
Third-party candidates face an uphill battle in California politics. While roughly 28 percent of registered voters identify themselves as independent, every statewide elected office in California is filled with a Democrat — from the Governor to the Insurance Commissioner.
“There’s a whole lot of people who didn’t vote last year because they didn’t really know who to pick. It’s honestly a choice between the lesser of two evils,” said Gabriel Diaz, part of a group of students protesting climate change outside San Jose’s City Hall.
The Common Sense Party promised to bring pragmatism, problem-solving and bipartisanship back to politics.
However, a Republican strategist says splintering off from the two traditional political parties may not be the answer.
“When you step out of the party, that actually increases the partisan divide because you no longer have moderating voices in either party,” said Santa Clara County Republican Party Chairman Shane Patrick Connolly.