We Are a Big Tent - 100% Agreement is Not Expected

As a centrist grassroots organization, our tent poles are made of centrist policy stances, but you are under no obligation to agree with everything, or the details, we stand for.

Some Issues Transcend Left, Right & Yes - Centrist

To build something better than corrupt elements on the left & right, we need to fight for the underlying health of our democracy, and not twist the system to our benefit.

  • Processes and Information Used to Determine Our Centrist Positions

    While we will discuss policy ideas, and bring together thinkers – both professional and serious amateurs – we’re not a think tank. Our job, as a centrist grassroots organization, is to represent the views of what we call the ‘centrist big tent’.

    We don’t do this by gathering a group of insiders that pretend they get to decide what centrist means, as certain organizations are trying to do, but rather the opposite – we find the priorities and stances of centrists and then make that our platform. In other words; we represent centrists.

    We find these things out, and come up with ideas, using several methods. Chief among is by reviewing both polls that ask people what issues their priorities are, as well as polls on the issues themselves. We then bring up issues with followers on social media to go deeper than just the top line survey data you can find in polls, look at the platforms of centrist parties and organizations, as well as candidates in the centrist big tent, and think tanks from moderates on the center-left to center-right.

    With the issue areas selected, we go another step down and look for specific policy ideas that have at least a large majority of support among centrists and moderates, and then use the engagement, interaction with campaigns and organizations, and working through think tank material to extrapolate that stance into positions and ideas that we can add to our platform.

    In areas where we can’t find reliable polling – with specific policy ideas that haven’t gotten much national attention, for instance – we rely on the large number of extended conversations we’ve had with thousands of centrists and moderates over the last decade (we hope to have the resources to do our own, in-depth, educational polling someday), as well as the aforementioned interaction with centrist and moderate campaigns, organizations and think tanks.

    Ultimately, the goal is to be of, by and for the ‘centrist big tent’ – to represent your views, and build a tent around them. We in no way expect everyone to agree with all of them, and in fact we both expect – and hope for – serious, substantive, passionate and healthy debate.

    These sections will be amended, as we slowly evolve as an organization – as our constitution and nation has, over the generations, but the core principles will remain for the lifespan of this organization.

    As that evolution happens, some of these views may no longer be centrist 20-30 years from now, and that’s fine. We call ourselves centrists because that’s where we happen to land on the political spectrum. We naturally wouldn’t just arbitrarily change our views if we moved to a nation where our view placed us on the left or right of that nation’s political spectrum. These are the positions we believe in.

    Much like how the political parties have seen their tents move around the political spectrum, where we go as an organization will naturally evolve as well – within the confines of core principles set forth in these sections.

     

     


     

    One last note. For some bizarre reason, a certain element on the right and left say that centrists are people who just up and decide that they’re going to stand in the center, rather than the reality – we believe what we believe, same as the left and right (among others) do, but our beliefs just happen to land us in the center area of the political spectrum, here in the United States.

    That’s all centrist (or right, or left) means – they’re just positional labels. These labels align with different beliefs if you move to a different country, and will align with different beliefs over time, as the spectrum of belief among a population shifts.

    Pretending terms like this mean anything else is just deceptive marketing (or worse… usually worse, in politics).

    Where a person lands on the political spectrum isn’t something they just choose, and just saying that you’re here or there doesn’t change anything about where your views plot you in relation to other people. Same as those on the right and left, if your views end up aligning with the center, then you’re a centrist, and if they don’t, you aren’t a centrist just because you call yourself one.

    Beware of those who claim to be centrists or moderates, while lying about what it means in order to try and co-opt us, and/or those who criticize us for things that have nothing to do with who we really are, and/or what we really believe. This is happening more and more on the right, as the Republican Party begins to radicalize to the point where ideological conservatives are going independent, and some corrupt, dishonest elements among those conservative independents are attempting to co-opt centrists for their ideological ends.

    We will fight for the beliefs centrists hold, do our part to help organize an opposition movement in the center, fight corruption and those of us aware of attempts to co-opt our budding groundswell for their own ends, rather than representing what we believe.

1 ::  Outlaw Dark Money & Gut Citizens United

      While working toward the long term goal of overturning Citizens United, we can work around the edges.

Political Donor Transparency Ideas Most Centrists & Moderates Endorse:

  • Illegalize dark money groups, & any political funding where the original donor is not legally required to be revealed through the Federal Election Commission, so said donations can be independently verified.
  • Require that all political organizations file donation information quarterly, and publish it on their website.
  • Charities and foundations that spend any funds at all on political advocacy of any kind, or donate to political advocacy organizations, must reveal their donors, using the same disclosure rules as 527 groups.
  • Make all violations criminal offenses, punishable by a minimum of a year in federal prison, and a fine of 5 times the associated amount (or more – one intriguing suggestion would set it at one month per thousand dollars).
    • Fines cannot be bankrupted out of, and will be garnished from future wages – like child support and secured college loans – if they are not paid within one year.
    • Prison time applies to anyone involved with knowingly accepting the violating funds, and the fines apply to all three sides of the transaction – the organization, each staff member who illegally accepted the funds and each donor.
    • Collected funds should pay for legal costs, with the remainder going toward the federal deficit.

2 ::  Election Reform & Truly Open Primaries

      We need to make sure that we use election systems designed to reflect the will of the American people.

Elections Must be Transpartisan – About Reflecting the Will of the People:

  • Open Primaries: If the taxpayers pay for a primary election, nobody should be barred from voting for whomever they want, no matter what party they’re in – or lack thereof, or what party the candidates are in – or lack thereof.
  • Genuinely Open Primaries: We must fight the horribly undemocratic ‘Top Two’ choke point primary, that closes the door to options general election voters have to all but two candidates selected by the deeply partisan few who vote in primaries.
  • Ranked Choice Voting / Instant Runoffs & Other Alternative Systems: The purpose of election reform is not to reach a specific desired end result – even to elect more moderates, or centrist independent – but rather to better reflect the will of the people. We believe that this is best achieved by giving people more flexibility in their options.
    • Ranked Choice Voting is not the only alternative voting system (condorcet, range/score/approval & proportional are the next most popular), and we do not (and will not) take a side with one or the other, but rather support any effort that pushes for better election systems.
  • Open Presidential Debates – The current system is far too favorable to major party candidates. There needs to be some minimum standard, but 15% in multiple national polls is beyond unreasonable. Perhaps 5%, or a recent poll showed more than three out of four voters supported a system that would allow any candidate who earned ballot access in enough states equalling more than half of the electoral college votes would be allowed to participate.

3 ::  Make Voting Easier, Fool-Proof & Verified

      Voting should be seamless, verified & convenient – all citizens who vote must be counted.

Voter Registration & ID Ideas Most Centrists & Moderates Support:

  • Create a standardized system for verifying all voters’ primary home address, automatic voter registration at that location and making them aware of all of their voting rights and options for casting their ballot.
  • Make election day a national holiday – there are a number of ideas as to how to make it so voting is more convenient, including making election day a national holiday, and/or moving it to the weekend.
  • Offer an array of ways to vote – including a national vote-by-mail and absentee ballot standard for all elections involving federal races, other early voting options, as well as in-person voting.
  • Voter ID – Free state-issued photo ID, that can be used in lieu of a driver’s license or other photo identification to verify your identity when voting, along with a comprehensive provisional ballot so nobody leaves a polling station without the chance to vote, same-day voter registration and a month to verify your identity and have your vote counted.
  • Never turn voters away – create a national standard for provisional ballots, allowing anyone to vote at any location should they have to, or for not having the proper ID at the time, and giving them a full month to verify their identity and have their vote counted.

4 ::  Term Limits + Close the Revolving Door

      By closing the revolving door, and enacting term limits, we’ll cut two roots of our corrupt system.

Ideas for Closing the Revolving Door & Increasing Electoral Competition:

  • Completely Close the Revolving Door – those who work in public service will not be allowed to turn around and make millions by using the contacts they’ve made during their time supposedly representing the American people into personal gain, by lobbying.
    • This applies to existing lobbyists as well – all current lobbyists who worked in government, at any level, will no longer be allowed to work for any firm who engages in lobbying.
    • It also applies the other way around – no person who ever has registered as a lobbyist will be eligible to work for a government agency.
  • Enact Term Limits – Stopping politicians from having what amount to lifetime seats in many cases is a transpartisan reform that has had widespread support across the political spectrum for as far back as I could find polling on the subject.
    • Enacting term limits would bring far more fresh blood into the system, make corrupt influences have to work harder to keep their influence and lead to much more competition for higher offices, among those being term limited out of lower offices.
    • By stopping career politicians from staying in safe seats indefinitely, and ending how the revolving door further corrupts staff and politicians, we’d significantly undercut two of the biggest root causes of corruption in Washington.

5 ::  Campaign Finance Reform + Ban ‘Bundlers’

      We can change the campaign finance system to value individuals over the wealthy and connected.

Make Candidate Campaigns Less Beholden to Deep-Pocketed Donors:

  • Trim donation limits – within constitutional boundaries, and then peg their growth to an index of lower and middle class income, so politicians and campaign staff know that their funding source is tied to the economic health of regular people.
  • $50 Federal Donation Voucher – Approximately $28 was spent per voting age American citizen in the 2016 election, much of which was from massive donors, and some through dark money groups whose donors we don’t even know. This could be offset by offering a $50 donation voucher to each and every voter in the nation, to donate to any federal candidate – congressional, senatorial or presidential – they choose.
    • This would likely cost somewhere around $4 billion dollars per election cycle, which is a steal compared to the benefit it would result in, giving candidates that appeal to the people at large far more resources to compete with those funded by special interests.
    • We suggest pegging this to upper class income growth, so this will go up even if middle and lower class income drops or stagnates.
  • Illegalize Campaign Donation ‘Bundlers’ – One of the least reported, but far-reaching, problems in campaign finance are donor ‘bundlers’. These people gather large numbers of individual donations from people and offer them together (in a ‘bundle’), and in so doing, effectively buy influence with politicians in amounts far beyond the spirit of the law (a great many ambassadorships are openly purchased in this way).
    • We suggest treating this similarly to transparency laws in section 1 – make each violation carry a minimum of one year in federal prison, and a fine of no less than ten times the associated amount.
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