14 Feb

Partisan Realignment and Third Parties

How to Make Your New Centrish Party Succeed in Two Easy Steps

It's Third Party Season! With the 2018 mid-terms and 2020 presidential elections far enough in the future that candidates are not yet locked in, third party hopes spring eternal in the centrist breast. A hope that there just might be a viable alternative to the usual Republican and Democratic choices they find so disheartening. A hope that it might be different...

12 Jan

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2018 Midterm Election – Blue Waves, House Rules and The O’Neill Exception

Outside of the Mueller investigation, the biggest political question of 2018 is whether Democrats can ride a widely anticipated Blue Wave into a majority in Congress and divide the government. There are similarities to the mid-term wave elections that flipped Congress in 2006 and 2010.Many compare the stunning Senate special election victory of Democrat Dou...

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By far the most supported healthcare reform plan among the American people – centrists included – is the so-called ‘public option’. Poll after poll over the last decade has shown a high level of support for it, especially when the survey describes what it means, as many don’t know the difference between ideas floated by politicians just by their names.

Surveys where those polled were told that the public option gave people the choice between a government and private insurance plans have shown levels of support above 70% – some up around 80%. Contrast this with recent GOP plans, which polled in the 20% to the low 30’s range, and the ‘single payer’ plan from the left that would forcing everyone to be on the same government plan without any competition in the 40’s.

Regardless of what you think other people should do, nobody should be able to make these sorts of choices for other people, and having private plans competing with the government may lead to innovation that wouldn’t happen with a government monopoly.

While there are other avenues of corruption, one of the ways that you can measure it to at least a significant degree is by where a campaign or organization gets their funding. This is only possible if campaigns and organizations doing work in politics reveal their donor information.

This is one of a handful of issues that not only do centrists and moderates support, but also the vast majority across the political spectrum. Few issues can be fairly labeled this way, but this is genuinely ‘transpartisan’ – a stance that transcends typical partisan lines.

Regardless of what the Supreme Court says about donation limits, we can at least push for legislation that requires complete transparency. So-called ‘dark money groups’ / 501(c)4 organizations and Super PACs that can hide their donor information should be illegal and forced to reveal all of their donors, as should any organization that spends a penny on political activity, which is why we will not take funding from these sorts of organizations, even though we legally can.

Another issue both independent centrists and most on the left and right who aren’t blindly partisan is the idea that people who work in public service should not be able to then turn around and make millions by using the contacts they’ve made during their time supposedly representing the American people (as elected officials or their staff) to make a killing corrupting the system later, lobbying for special interests.

Another way lobbyists corrupt the system is by collecting large numbers of donations by smaller donors – a practice called ‘bundling’. Adding donations together allows lobbyists to legally donate to candidates in amounts far larger than individuals can donate at.

These are two of the biggest root causes of corruption in American politics, and cutting them is something neither major party will give us, with how much influence special interest lobbyists have over them. It’s up to centrist independents, and uncorrupt party members to unite as a transpartisan coalition to reform lobbying.

A generation ago, a bipartisan effort of reasonable Democrats and Republicans passed legislation to prepare for a demographic tidal wave we’re only now seeing. This demographic wave stems from Baby Boomers retiring, leading to fewer people than ever paying into the system for each retiree drawing benefits from Social Security and Medicare.

The two major parties of today are going the grossly irresponsible polar opposite direction of what their leaders in the 1980’s did – they’re stealing from future generations, instead of making small, forward-thinking sacrifices now to prevent major problems in the future.

There are no shortage of ideas on how to solve this problem for the long term, to get us over the hump of the Baby Boomers retiring, but the fact is it’s going to take not only a less partisan, moderate angle to make this work, but also a brave stance to ask for people to sacrifice for the future, up against corrupt Dems and Republicans more than happy to lie and keep giving more than they tax – just making the problem even worse.

Intelligent centrist immigration policy couples the compassionate thing to do with a focus on what’s best for the American economy. We should never punish children for the mistakes of their guardians, so as far as DACA is concerned, we shouldn’t abandon law-abiding youth who choose to stay and earn citizenship – we should encourage them to stay, mitigating demographic issues behind our social safety net problems.

Some ideas, like having a separate path to citizenship for those that directly create jobs in the American economy, are win-win in a number of ways, and should be open to as many people as want to come in. No matter how well the economy is doing, this sort of immigration is helpful, and should never be limited – more the economically merrier.

Others, like the amount of low-skilled immigrants allowed in per year, shouldn’t be something that is arbitrarily set (as it largely is now). Instead, the number should be pegged to the need of the economy at the time, so more are allowed during boom periods, and less during recessions.

Unlike blind partisan ideologues, who make exceptions for those who use rights in ways their belief systems disagree with (if they respect your rights to begin with), we respect the right to speech, bear arms, free association, assembly, voting and other individual rights, no matter who you are or whether you agree with us or not.

The principle of ‘Equal Justice Under Law’ is so core to our system of government that it is literally carved into stone over the Supreme Court building. Much like our anti-corruption stance, this principle should transcend left, right and centrist, but a growing number of hyper-partisan voters believes that certain rights should be selectively applied to favored or opposing political factions.

Other related ideas supported by most centrists include legalizing or decriminalizing marijuana sales, certain forms of alternative punishment for minor and nonviolent crimes shown to lower crime, education reform and fair tax reform without so many loopholes.

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