SAM, known as the Serve America Movement, hopes to become next political party

Tom Abrahams Image
Tuesday, June 22, 2021
Former Houston mayoral candidate organizing new political party
The "Serve America Movement" is a moderate organization that sees problems on the extreme edges of both the GOP and the Democrats, but can it succeed in Texas?

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- More Americans define themselves as independent voters than those who align with either the Republican or Democratic parties.

That's according to a recent poll that reveals more than 40% are moderates.

Now, there's SAM, also known as the Serve America Movement.

On Monday, SAM filed with the state to become a political party. Texas joins Connecticut and Pennsylvania as the states where the movement is also hoping to plant a foothold as a party.

"If you're left, right, middle, we want the best ideas. We celebrate that diversity," said SAM's national chair, David Jolly. "A lot of people, their politics are all over the left-right spectrum, and what SAM has done very differently, the Save America Movement, is we're a true big tent party."

Bill King, former Houston mayoral candidate and longtime political activist, is the founding chair of SAM in Texas. He said the time is right for a party that picks process over policy.

The "Serve America Movement" is a moderate organization that sees problems on the extreme edges of both the GOP and the Democrats. In the video above, ABC13's Tom Abrahams has more on what the party is about.

"I've been concerned about our politics for a long time," King told ABC13. "We've got big problems. Immigration, the national debt, the environment, all sorts of things that we need to be addressing and we're just ignoring those."

The movement started in 2017 after the 2016 presidential race between former President Donald Trump and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Its traction, so far, is modest. SAM has about 20,000 followers nationwide, but they are hoping the timing right now works in its favor, especially after the divisive 2020 campaign and its aftermath. seen through on the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

Chaos at the Capitol: Minute-by-minute video shows how riots, violence unfolded

"Unfortunately, we can now add Jan. 6, 2021 to that very short list of dates in American history that will live forever in infamy," said Sen. Chuck Schumer. See how things escalated in our minute-by-minute video as chaos erupted.

The party hopes their message resonates and moderates already inclined to eschew political affiliation join them ahead of the 2022 midterms.

This new political party is not based on ideology but rather process. They want to change the system and solve problems. But is that really possible in what is effectively a two-party system?

"It's extraordinarily rare for a third-party candidate to break through in a major race," said ABC News Political Director Rick Klein. However, he added it's not totally impossible. The timing may be right for SAM to attract a real coalition.

"The bottom line is the pieces have been in place for someone to light a fire with the anxiety out there around the two parties," said Klein. "The two parties have drifted from the mainstream of America."

What's next for SAM in Texas? The goal is to get 80,000 signatures so candidates can run under the SAM banner less than 17 months from now. The group is optimistic.

"It's not a party that tries to define itself by ideology," King said, "which is what our current two parties do."

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