Centrist Big Tent Means We Respect Honest Disagreement

A centrist grassroots organization like ours is built around policy stances from the American political center, but we do not expect members to agree on all issues, all of the time.

A Candle in the Hyper-Partisan Policy Darkness

JFK on why we fight for ideas like those below: “We are not here to curse the darkness, but to light the candle that can guide us through that darkness to a safe and sane future.”

  • Processes and Information Used to Determine Our Centrist Positions

    We’re no think tank, but as a centrist grassroots organization our job is to represent ideas shared by those of us in the American political center – what we call the ‘Centrist Big Tent’, so we will naturally be discussing, and arguing for, those positions.

    We can’t rightfully call ourselves a grassroots organization, without opening the door to regular, grassroots member to come in and share their thoughts, as well as any staff or noteworthy figures we’ll also be inviting onto our website. Insiders don’t get to decide what centrist means – the American people, as a whole, do.

    Toward the end of understanding where the American people stand on the issues, the first place we go to find out what the American people actually believe is delving into public polling data. This gives us the foundation, and we can fill in the details by engaging on social media, reading the thoughts of centrist bloggers and columnists, as well as centrist think tanks.

    That’s where the stances you see below came from. We started by looking into the issue areas polling shows are the priorities of the American people (at large – not just centrists), we broke them down by what we think we might be able to have an impact on, if we build enough of a following and collectively act to further those aims, and then by which had been in the news more relatively recently.

    This list will change over time, to reflect which issues are the priorities of the American people, the ‘Centrist Big Tent’, and which we believe we might have the most impact on, if we focus on them as an organization.

    Once we’d chosen the issue areas we’d be focusing on here, we started looking for policy ideas that we could find evidence that centrists and moderates predominantly agreed on, and then set to turning those ideas into stances we could specifically endorse.

    With cases where we can’t find reliable polling – policy ideas that haven’t gotten much national attention, so naturally they haven’t seen much polling attention – we look to the numerous, in-depth conversations we’ve had with thousands of Americans in the Centrist Big Tent over the last decade (someday we hope to do our own in-depth, educational polling).

    The ultimate goal is to represent the views of those who are currently in the American political center – to be of, by and for us. We never expect members or followers to agree with us on everything, and – quite to the contrary – we hope for genuine, substantive, honest and otherwise healthy debate on the issues to be had here.

     


     

    Decades from now, the views we hold may not be centrist any longer – and that’s perfectly fine. We do not artificially decide where to stand based on what happens to be the centrist viewpoint, but rather we look at our views, and merely recognize that those stances happen to place us in the center of the American political spectrum, in the era we live in today.

    If we’re lucky enough to have our supporters keep us going long enough to see the spectrum shift to the degree that we aren’t centrists any longer, and our views don’t happen to evolve the same direction, then we’ll just be honest about it – as everyone should be. There is nothing inherently bad, or good, about being in any area of the political spectrum.

    As we’ve seen from other major organizations that have lasted a long time, as well as the political parties, our organizational views will naturally shift over time, depending on a mix of how members and staff evolve, and what direction we’d like to see the organization go. Some areas we will not consider changing our stances on – like our anti-corruption stances, but time will tell how we evolve, as new information presents itself, ideas are tested in the real world, and opinions shift.

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

     


     

    One last thing.

    A certain element on the right and left (among other elements) often like to pretend that centrists are somehow different than people whose views happen to land them on the left, right, etc. As I mentioned above, the the reality is that we’re the same – we just believe what we believe, and those beliefs just happen to land us in the center area of the political spectrum, here in the United States.

    That’s all these positional labels (left, centrist, right, etc) mean – they’re just segments of a spectrum. Depending on the country you live in, you could be on the right, center, or left while holding the exact same beliefs. Pretending political labels like this mean anything else is just run of the mill dishonest political marketing.

    People don’t just up and choose to be centrists, or to be on the left, or right. Just like those on the left or right, you’re a centrist if your views align with those in the center – no matter what you choose to call  yourself. If your views align with other areas, then that’s the label that applies to you – no matter what you call yourself.

    There are a great number of people – especially on social media – who claim to be centrists or moderates, but when you look at what they express, you find that their views are anything but. Some are just mistaken, but some dishonestly do this to make their ideas seem more mainstream. We must be vigilant against this.

1 ::  Centrist Immigration Reform Policy Ideas

Intelligent, centrist immigration policy can create jobs and help save Social Security & Medicare, while respecting human rights and ethical standards most Americans want to see their government embody.

Centrists Understand & Support the Benefits of Intelligent Immigration:

Polling reveals that around 75% of the American people realize that immigration is a ‘good thing’ – 84% for legal immigration in particular. Not only are we accurately labeled a ‘nation of immigrants’, but our future economy and social safety net will look much better if we intelligently brings in labor to the country

Roughly two thirds of those in the country illegally have been here over a decade, and most Americans support giving them a pathway to citizenship – we should do so, through a process with elements such as these:

  • create a separate queue, so they do not have any impact on those coming here through legal channels
  • investigate to find out if they avoided paying any taxes during the time spent here illegally – levy fines if so
  • provide them with work permits during the process, so they can get a driver’s license, rent property, etc
  • after completing the existing standard process, and avoiding criminality – invite them to become a citizen

Most Americans understand the responsibility government has to police our borders, but most also do not see building a wall that covers most of the southern border as the appropriate way of accomplishing this. While targeted fencing in some areas has been shown to be helpful, we have to look at the foreign policy ramifications, and listen to experts on where expenditures would be most effectively spent.

Centrist immigration ideas couple reasoned compassion with an eye toward helping the American economy grow, as the stronger our economy is, the more immigration we can absorb. It neither makes economic, or political, sense to deport law-abiding people who came here as children. They should be allowed to stay, continue contributing to our economy, and be given the opportunity to work through the same process prospective immigrants who go through the standard channel go through to earn citizenship:

  • punishing children for illegal acts of their parents is never the right thing to do
  • separating children from the parents of those who come here looking for asylum is beyond unacceptable
  • younger immigrants mitigate demographic issues behind our social safety net problems
  • those with work permits, paying into a social safety net they may not use later, also helps

It also makes no sense to not have a separate path to citizenship – not constrained by the limits of other immigration channels – for those who would create jobs in the American economy, and/or have particular skill sets that our economy is currently lacking in. This is a prototypical example of an economic win-win situation as we could be lucky enough to find, and it’s not so much a centrist idea, as much as it is just pragmatic.

For those interested in starting a business, who have the capital to do so – our doors should be open to as many people as want to come in, once qualified, with no limits. For those with skill sets fitting jobs employers are not able to fill in large numbers across the country, a program that fast tracks those who would fill those positions, with a preference for those who aim to stay and continue contributing to our economy, tax base and cultural melting pot.

Regardless of how healthy our economy is, this sort of immigration is a great net-positive – another example of something that centrists – as well as reasonable people across the political spectrum – can understand as just plain sensible, but apparently too sensible for either major party to make happen when they had the opportunity to.

2 ::  Evidence-Based Gun Control Policy Ideas

There’s far more agreement among the American people on firearm-related issues than most media belies, while hard data and evidence provide an array of common sense gun control policy options.

Centrists the Only Bridge for the Gap Between Extremes on Gun Policy:

Yet another example of an issue where extremes that have no chance of passing get far too much attention and distract political discourse from a much more united reality, gun control policy is one where there is a lot more agreement among those on the left, right and centrists than most dominant media narratives would have you believe.

  • the vast majority (including over 80% of both Democrats and Republicans, as well as gun owners, in some polls) agree that the mentally ill should not be allowed to purchase guns
    • almost as many agree that those on no-fly lists should also not be allowed to purchase a gun
  • over 3/4 of Republican, and Republican-leaning voters, as well as higher percentages for others, agree on requiring background checks for all gun sales – including private and gun show purchases
  • around 80% of Americans support a ban on ‘bump stocks’ – including a majority of gun owners

There is no chance at all that a complete ban on firearms – much less firearm purchases or any sort of mass government effort to take guns away from law-abiding citizens – has any chance of passing into law, but that is one of the most frequently used ‘red herrings’ used by dishonest panelists when confronted with common sense gun reform ideas, like those mentioned above.

We’ll go into greater depth on this elsewhere, but perhaps the most stark parallel to be highlighted here is that while there is supermajority-level support across the left, among centrists and more on the right than many would guess for an array of common sense gun control ideas, roughly the same percentages of people believe that our representatives in Washington will not pass many of them into law.

This is the natural outcome of a bifurcated political system where most of the American people are not represented by either party – especially centrists, resulting in elections where a party that only has the support of about one fourth of the American people. This reality is the case for both parties, based on the last presidential election – and that’s being generous, as less people vote in other races, and far fewer that even that in midterm elections – and that doesn’t even begin to account for polls showing that most who voted for Trump or Clinton did so mainly to vote against the other – not because they supported either of them.

This chasm is one of the primary root causes of political dysfunction. It allows extreme, or otherwise out of touch, elements to concentrate the minority of those against reform together on one side, and effectively block the will of the supermajority who support reform. Until that fundamental problem is rectified, we will continue to see the electoral pendulum swing back and forth, and a lack of needed reform on issues like gun control.

3 ::  Long Term Security & Alliance Building

Neither isolationism, nor unilaterally acting like an uninvited global police force will get us the security and prosperity we want, but we can learn from the mistakes of the past administrations and history.

We Should Focus on Our Security, Not Being the World’s Police Force:

3 ::  Economy & Budget Improving Tax Reform

While corrupt Democrats and Republicans steal from future generations to reward their special interest backers, they ignore tax policy that grow the economy and pay down the national debt and deficit.

Reforming Secondary Education & Making College Affordable:

While we must continuously strive to find better ways of doing so, there is no escaping the fact that we have to measure how well our educational system is doing at education our youth, and it only makes sense that teachers should primarily be evaluated based on tangle results.

While most across the spectrum lament the skyrocketing cost of a university education, there are few that approach the issue with real solutions. We can’t merely throw money at it – that will just result in the cost of an education continuing to skyrocket, and we can’t merely cut funding – we need to look honestly at all of the cost inputs, with a focus on cutting costs outside of the classroom, and focusing more on teaching, versus things like inflated administrations and fancy new facilities.

No child should ever be turned away from eating because of a lack of funds. Period.

5 ::  Save & Secure The Social Safety Net

We must save Social Security and Medicare from partisan fantasies; Democrats pretend we can just tax our way out, while even raising benefits, and Republicans cut from those who need help the most.

Hyper-Partisan Fairy Tales Can’t Change the Mathematical Reality:

6 ::  The Public Option & Healthcare Reform

The ‘Public Option’ healthcare reform option doesn’t strip people of their choices – as Democrats want to, lets us buy into government insurance if we choose, and doesn’t go backward – as Republicans want.

Save Money & Better Health Outcomes with Freedom of Choice:

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