21 Feb 2018

I don't read the Journal, save for a rare link that comes across my feed - like this one. I've heard that it's gotten worse over the last few years, so maybe this isn't as far from their norm as it seems like it should be, but when someone sends you an article, ostensibly about centrists, from a major newspaper - authored by someone who works at Brookings... I just didn't expect to find something so overflowing with completely false information about what centrists think, who we are and blame us for things we aren't even involved with.   The Democratic Ideal & False Centrist Stereotypes The first few sentences seemed to be headed in a good direction. He began by speaking about how respect for the outcome of elections is on the decline (I agree), but then first goes off the rails here: "...disrespect for democratic outcomes has become particularly acute on the center-left." That just plain isn't true. It gets worse: "That may sound odd...

14 Feb 2018

Partisan Realignment and Third Parties
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 this time. And you know what? It just might be ... Thesis: In the United States, third parties always fail. But, on rare occasions in our history, with the right conditions, a New Party can successfully gut, destroy and replace one of the two major parties. This could be that time. Here are two steps necessary to make a New Party a Major Party: Step One: Do not call your New Party a "Third Party." Calling it a "Third Party" guarantees failure.  History tells us that U.S. Third Parties always fail. Meaning they:Do not fulfill the political objectives of their supporters. Never bec...

12 Jan 2018

dividist Trump banner
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 Doug Jones over Republican Roy Moore in crimson red Alabama to the equally stunning 2010 victory of Republican Scott Brown over Democrat Martha Coakley in deep blue Massachusetts. Does the Jones win point to a 2018 political tsunami like the Brown election foreshadowed a 2010 red wave? Maybe.In both cases, the long shot won with the help of a seriously flawed opposition candidate. In Alabama Roy Moore was accused of sexual impropriety with minors, and in Massachusetts Martha Coakley called Curt Schilling a "Yankee fan." This is, of course, not a fair comparison. Coakley's faux pas was far mor...

16 Dec 2017

John Neely Kennedy
First in our new series aiming to highlight and commend partisan figures who rise above partisan pressure to do the right thing, our inaugural Transpartisan Trophy goes to Louisiana Republican Senator John Neely Kennedy, for fairly and directly highlighting the inadequate qualifications of a Trump court nominee.Kennedy's Transpartisan Trial for Peterson A great way to kick off this new series, there's a lot to like about this case. Not only so we have a Republican US Senator rising above partisan pressure to fairly lightlight the wea poor choice for a nominee to a high court, but his actions are also being dishonestly hyped by most of the stories I could find in the media (across the spectrum).The reality here is that Louisiana Republican John Neely Kennedy merely fulfilled his constitutionally stipulated responsibility. If you didn't know what the Constitution says the US Senate's job here is, and just read most coverage of this in the med...

11 Dec 2017

Roy Moore's Broken Oath
Amending our Constitution is very difficult (as it should be), but 17 Amendments have been ratified since the Bill of Rights was ratified in 1791. Some of them are rather integral to our democracy, and valued across the political spectrum, but apparently Roy Moore thinks getting rid of all 17 would "eliminate many problems".Moore's Troubling Interview with Blight Wing Conspiracy Theorist A few years back, Roy Moore went on a controversial radio program and said some rather disturbing things. This radio host believes not only in a range of conspiracy theories that place him, along with Moore, squarely in what I call the 'blight wing' (the very worst elements of the extreme right), but he even thinks a Constitutional Amendment should be passed that would erase all of the Amendments past the first ten / Bill of Rights. Sorry ladies - no vote for you, and what could possibly be wrong about getting rid of the ban on slavery...?Roy Moore, who had...

06 Dec 2017

susan collins with capital dome
A couple days ago, centrists were disappointed to hear that center-right Republican Susan Collins ended up voting for the atrocious tax bill Republicans have been pushing for weeks. The reason she gave for voting that way has been shown to be an empty promise, so will she change her vote?Disappointing but Not Surprising on Taxation & Individual Mandate For weeks before the vote in question, Susan Collins had been publicly on the fence. One can never really know what a politician is secretly thinking, but - perhaps feeling pressure from her party after voting against them so much recently - it seemed as though she was looking for reasons to vote for this bill.Disappointing as her vote was, especially given conflicting stances she's taken in the past about the national debt and deficit spending, this is going to happen sometimes with moderates who lean one way or the other (and illustrates why we need more than a few centrists for the ful...

02 Dec 2017

centrist republican Susan Collins
The idea that a few independent centrists in the US Senate could block the worst hyper-partisan legislation is a great medium-term goal, and should work sometimes. Ultimately though, we need more than just a few votes - especially if we want it to do more than just stonewall the worst legislation or be a 'caucus of no'.The Centrist Fulcrum Strategy - Our Medium Term Goal I'd heard of the concept now called the 'fulcrum strategy' before, but Charles Wheelan's book 'The Centrist Manifesto', subsequent writing and media appearances, as well as The Centrist Project (dark money group that supports independents running for office) organization he launched have definitely done more to convince people of its merits than everyone else put together (and then some).There is nothing faulty about the concept itself, and the core concept it sound. A few centrist votes in the US Senate could block either side from a majority, block them from pushing throu...

22 Nov 2017

banner for term limits post
The argument for term limits is one of those rare cases that you can accurately apply the label of 'transpartisan'. For as long as I can remember, since I began engaging in political activity in the late '90s, polls have shown a super-majority of US citizens - myself very much included - support this idea, but apparently scientific studies in recent years now lend objective, measurable credence to the old truism that 'power corrupts'. Research Shows Keeping Power for Long Dulls Empathetic Neural Processing A wonderful long-read article on the subject, by Jerry Useem at The Atlantic, outlines several lines of research that all point to the conclusion that there is a strong correlation between the collection of power (be is political, social, economic, etc) and a range of negative behaviors. These negative behaviors aren't merely bad habits, but - according to the evidence collected - stem from measurable neural impairment.That's right - powe...

27 Oct 2017

FCC Changes to Local TV News It looks like Trump’s FCC will change ownership rules for local TV and media outlets.How do we look at this as a nation hoping for an informed public? I see three ways:This is inevitable. It seems scary. (However) There is opportunity.So, is it inevitable? Why does this move by the FCC make economic sense?Most TV news stations are moving digitally. The majority of the audience relies on smartphones, tablets, and laptops. Already, local TV stations are broadcasting emergency broadcasts and shows solely on Facebook Live or Periscope – bypassing traditional airwaves.Many TV stations cannot compete with Facebook or Google for ad revenue since online ads are cheaper and more targeted for advertisers. So the TV stations are saying “can’t beat ‘em, then join them.”This is routine consolidation survival for any industry. Revenues drop, so then you join a competitor and create a better product. Wh...

16 Oct 2017

quote of centrist Republican Susan Collins on why she decided to stay in the Senate
[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text] The last decade has been an unmitigated disaster for independent centrists and moderates on both sides. For every Angus King, Susan Collins and Joe Manchin, there has been a dozen Elizabeth Warrens and Ted Cruz'. As the two major parties have abandoned us and created a vacuum, the political center in the U.S. has been in disarray. With a fraction of a percent of the funding the two major parties have at their disposal, having to start from close to scratch, without an organizational infrastructure or army of trained staff like we used to have when we were still welcome under major party tents - even though conditions are better than ever for a centrist movement to be sparked, we're still seeing very little electoral progress. While there are miles of electoral hurdles the two major parties have put up to make it harder for independents (centrist or otherwise) to participate equally in our increasingly undemocra...